Reuse / Upcycle: From Old Jeans To New Pants [ Sewing ]

Reuse / Upcycle: From Old Jeans To New Pants [ Sewing ]

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 As the title suggests, in this post I show you my project of reuse and upcycle; I sewed a pair of trousers from old jeans. I've been having fun with the sewing machine and pattern making for a year now, but actually it's my first pair of pants. Are you ready? 


Despite your care, you will have damaged clothes, or clothes that don't suit you anymore, or simply clothes that bored you a little. Well, the best thing to do is to give them a new life. So, upcycled fashion is a way of recycling old clothes that you no longer use. It's a way to "ennoble" (pass me the term) recycling, and instead of simply throwing something away in order to recycle it, clothes are reused and given a new purpose, perhaps increasing their value. 

It also allows you to save on your clothing, if you create it by yourself, or why not, on decorations for your home, or on something useful for your everyday life.


If you're a beginner, start with something small and not too complicated. You could start making little changes, like change the fit of a dress, the hem of a skirt or, if you like to embroider, you can start by embroidering on a t-shirt. At the end of this article, I'll embed a video with more ideas to get started. 

For this project I chose to combine some jeans that were too small for me and were also worn out, so they weren't good either to be donated or sold.


First of all, I didn't take picture during the making of the project because I wasn't sure about my success, or rather, I was convinced it was a waste of time. But I was so wrong! I'm really happy with the result, although it has some flaws, but I'm satisfied because it's my first pair of pants completely sewn by myself, and I also made its pattern. They came out better than expected!

I also had to do various tests before having the definitive version of the pants: if you follow me on Instagram, I said there several times that I have a complicated physical conformation (protruding butt, protruding abdomen, I'm petite but plus size, etc...).

1. Creating the pattern and cutting the fabric

I changed the pattern in progress. They had to be pants without darts, with pockets inserted in the side seams, patch pockets on the back, belt loops and cuffs. Than I decided to go simple and clean because I wasn't sure about my success. The only unchanged thing is the basis: pants without darts with a cut-to-fit waistband (I have a short bust and this kind of waistband suits me best).

I also cut the various pieces from the old jeans: I used 4 of them because they were really small. One for the front, one for the back, one for the underside of the legs and the outer waistband, the last one for the inner waistband. A good part of the last jeans I used is left over: I'll make some other project with it.

These are the cut pieces: 2 front legs with flap included, 2 back legs, 4 pieces for the lower part of the legs, 4 part for the inner waistband and 4 parts for the outer waistband.

2. Reinforcement of the waistband

I reinforced all parts of the waistband, inner and outer, with medium-light interfacing for cotton fabrics, and the result with the denim fabric definitely satisfied me.

3. Basting and first try

Since I was really curious to know if I had created a good pattern, I basted everything (except the waistband) and did a first try. Here I realized that it was too loose on the thighs and back, and the waist was too high on the front, but I was amazed because the crotch was perfect (I gloated!). I made the necessary adjustments and continued sewing.

4. Main part assembly

I sewed the lower parts (the darker ones) to the legs, I opened, finished and ironed the seam allowances. After that I basted and then sewed the sides, the inner legs and the front crotch from the end of the zipper to the tip of the crotch. I finish the seam allowances and ironed them (don't iron the crotch tho).

5. Zipper

I made the hidden zipper, so first of all I finished the seam allowances, then folded and ironed the flaps on both sides, but the right flap only need to be folded for 1 cm - I measured it with my eyes and I did it wrong, so I suggest to measure it. I basted and sewed the zipper on this folded side. Once sewn, I placed the left flap on the zipper, covering it, and pinned it so it wouldn't open. Shortly, I had juxtaposed the true centers of the pants. I turned the pants inside out, basted and then sewed the left part of the zipper on the folded part of the flap: be careful to sew it only on that part, otherwise the seam will show from the outside!

6. Waistband

I sewed the sides of the outer waistband, opened and ironed the seam allowances. I pinned it to the pants, right sides facing each other, matching the seams on the hips. So, I ironed the seam allowances towards the waistband. I then sewed the sides of the inner waistband, opened and ironed the seam allowances, pinned the outer waistband on the inner one, right sides facing each other, and sewed the long side and the short side on the front. I cut the seam allowances to 7mm and the corners to 45°, but I still haven't turned out the waistband.

7. Back seam

I had left it open on the back purposely, because during the first test I had to make some adjustments on the waist, so I had to do the same thing with the waistband on the back as well. After some tests, I was able to find the right line, so I sewed everything, from the waistband to the crotch on the back. I finished and ironed the seam allowances, until the crotch.

8. Closure of the waistband, hem and trims

Here are the last steps: I turned the waistband on the right side, also pushing the seam allowances of the inner waistband upwards, to include them in the closing seam. I pinned the entire waistband and then topstitched it, tapping with the needle between the waistband and the pants, being careful to include the inner waistband into the seam. I also topstitched the flap, in order to secure it. I simply folded the hem by 5mm and then by 1cm and I topstitched to foot width. Last, I picked the closure hooks from an old bra and sewed them by hand on the waistband.

That's it! Here's a video I found on YouTube with other ideas for reuse old clothes and upcycle them. I promise you that next time I'll take pics during the making :P

Video by Cleverly




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