How to cut up your old JEANS

If you like to craft and sew with old jeans, here are some tips on how to cut them up in preparation for both storage and use!

I like to keep 8 or 9 items from a pair of jeans:

  • front button
  • zipper
  • zipper tab
  • flat felled seams
  • back pockets
  • cuffs
  • leg yardage
  • tag or label on back of pants
  • PLUS I always like to save a few of the belt loops!

Here’s what everything looks like AFTER the jeans have been take apart and are ready for storage (or use)! Yes… those cuffs came from a different pair of jeans!

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You can disassemble your jeans in any order but let’s pick a place and start!

Let’s begin by liberating the button and zipper!

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Notice, I do not usually remove the zipper intact. It isn’t my intention to re-use it so I unzip the two sections and remove the zipper tab. However, there is no reason you couldn’t remove the zipper for re-use if you prefer!

ID copy 2It’s easy to remove the tag from the back of the jeans. I don’t remove it with a seam ripper, I cut straight through the jeans themselves. Sometimes, I also save the inside tag if it’s cool looking!

I also save the “cuffs” or hem line. I usually cut 3″ up from the edge of the hem. I’m finding lots of fun things to do with these lately (more to come on that topic)!

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Next, I remove the pockets. I like to keep a good 2-3″ of fabric around each side since sometimes I need extra fabric for projects, such as when I make my Denim Pocket Pot Holders.

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The only thing left at this point is the leg fabric. I cut along the inseam first, up one side and down the other, it’s all one cut.

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This is what one leg looks like opened flat.

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I fold the legs into a nice, SMALL neat pile and they’re ready for storage until needed.

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The front of the waistband and the pockets are the only parts I throw away!

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And this is it! MUCH easier to store then big, bulky jeans!

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What do you think?

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For more information on making quilts and other fun sewing projects by upcyling your old jeans, visit my webpage:


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  1. Good ideas BUT the waistband makes a great strap for a jeans tote. The belt loops make good loops to put on jeans placemats to hold silverware. Leaving the waistband on with the top can be turned into jeans purses, jeans aprons, and jeans tool belts. Just want to add to the ideas for jeans. Can NEVER throw them away!!

  2. Hi, I use those front pockets….they made great change purses….use the zipper from the jeans…I use everything from jeans,,except the crotch area…I learned over years to remove everything and use it all up…..

  3. Kathleen says:

    My husband gave me a pair of jeans he is ready to throw out (and darn I’m doing laundry today and forgot to throw them in the wash!!). Anyway, they are terribly worn out with very little good fabric left, but I’ll find something to save! And I was thinking, those front pockets would make good bean bags for kids to play with. Or even bean bag liners in case you want to have extra protection from anything leaking out of the bean bags.

  4. I use Black and Decker electric scissors to strip out my jeans FASSSSSSSSSST!

    • Hi Debbie, I’ve been wondering if those would work!! GREAT to know, now I’m going to get myself a pair!! :)

  5. Hello (to Kathleen☺ and the rest in this nice place from Heather☺) hope my englisch would be good..I’m Dutch.
    Worn out jeans, I’ll think they are beautifull because there is life in it! I saw some work on Pinterest from people who make great “paintings” with several ages in colours etc.
    But also pillows/ handbags with the most damaged places from the denim..with other fabric below it? in a very nice opposit if you like can use the whole jeans?
    I have some pictures that I took from Pinterest..but..I can’t place them..don’t know how?

  6. I have a old blue Levi,s 501 he is ready to recycle
    Somebody interested ? He is mid blue and have a smale hole
    In the crotch so it’s no longer te wear
    Maybe there is someone who will cut him up to parts
    It’s for free

    Het gaat hier om een oude midden Blauwe 501 Met een Schuertje in het kruis ( van kruis tot aan gulp )
    Ik draag hem niet meer misschien is hier iemand die hem wel wil verknippen om wat leuks van te maken of
    Reserve delen voor de toekomst op de scheur na is alle stof nog prima bruikbaar
    Hij mag gratis weg

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