Jeans Are Good for More Than Pants

| 7/22/2010 3:20:25 PM

Tags: used jeans, question to readers,

The 197Bluejeans Bag0s were the glory days of back-to-the-land, do-it-yourself folks. They took every opportunity to reinvent and reuse things, avoiding purchasing anything new whenever possible. I was married to one of those creative, use-it-up guys for 25 years.

When our daughter was about 6 months old, a child’s toy called a Jolly Jumper came onto the market. I have no idea how much it cost in 1971, but my husband Steve figured he could probably make one — and he did — using a leg from a pair of worn-out jeans. He sewed the bottom using some heavy-duty waxed linen thread to make two leg openings for the baby, and we fastened her into the leg with diaper pins. I can’t remember now how the bag attached to the bar above, but there was wood, metal and springs involved in the whole invention. She loved it. It hung in the doorway between the kitchen and living room. In just a couple of weeks, she figured out how to jump and twist, looking from one room to the other. She’d walk as far forward as possible, pick up her feet and swing back and forth — giggling the whole time. It was the very best in-house babysitter I ever had.

Used jeans make wonderful material for all kinds of post-consumer products — rag rugs, quilts, purses and even a tipi. And, of course, the Jolly Jumper.

So today’s question is, “What have you made out of used blue jeans?” Tell us about your creative usage in the comments section below.

kate phillips
8/2/2010 4:40:25 PM

yeah! jeans! terrific clothes pins bags with a 'rounded' hanger for the opening. rag dolls- adorable. woven and braided for trivets and little tubes filled with spices and coiled for the same.....most recently, i tear a fifteen inch strip from the rag bag, slit one end and 'thread' it into a copper coil that 'quiets' the fountain on the wall that the dog and two cats drink from..with the jean strip in place (inside the coil, hanging off one end via the slit) the fountain is even quieter and the material acts like a wick for filtering the water as it circulates...once a week toss the strip and replace...on stage, denim is fabulous for construction with chicken wire for faux rocks, leaves, tree trunks (weave it through and spray paint it) yeah! jeans!

8/1/2010 7:01:46 PM

Quilts, skirts, yoga bags, aprons, purses, pencil bags, you name it you can make it. I covered an old 70's teacher's desk chair with denim that was sewn together in a pattern. Also I love these jean leg critters, I've made 2 so far.

fawn _3
7/30/2010 8:13:40 AM

Instead of buying reusable grocery bags I started making my own. I used some left over canvas for one and will use a pair of jeans for another. To spice it up I use old t- shirts with band names or logos that I like and stitch those on the bag to decorate them and add color. What's great about canvas, jeans, and t- shirt material is that its all washable which is necessary for the reusable grocery bags- esp. if you put meat in it!

matthew young
7/30/2010 7:17:24 AM

I never throw away old jeans or pants. I've made tent pole and stake bags, wrench rolls and little tool bags from them. Recently I made a cover for an orthopedic boot from part of a jeans leg so I could mow the yard without getting the boot dirty. worked like a charm. I even used a draw string from a different pair of pants for it.

carolyn ellis_1
7/29/2010 12:55:43 PM

I cut the lower leg off a pair of old jeans and use them on my arms to protect them when picking blackberries. I'm not going to go to a lot of trouble, so I just secure them in place top and bottom with rubber bands.

7/29/2010 9:19:10 AM

I have been recycling jeans for forever. I of course will take my own favorite pair of worn out jeans and make a skirt by cutting the inner leg seam and adding fabric. I have also cut off the legs and added a full skirt to the jean top and then used the legs as the front of a vest using appliques to cover ware marks in the knees. For Christmas I have made quilts with flannel backing for my children. One of their favorite quilts was one that I added jean pockets to. These are the warmest of quilts and hold up through the years.

ian jenkinson_3
7/29/2010 4:29:46 AM

I can't claim credit for the idea but I have used it to good effect. cut legs off the jeans, sew up the narrow end, roll and sew the other end round a ring of plywood or whatever. You can then suspend this through a hole in a barrel or board and pour in your sieved waste vegetable oil for hassle free primary filtering

7/29/2010 1:05:36 AM

When having a yard sale or any kind , you can cut denim jeans off just below the pockets and use for a money belt. The back pockets could be used also. You can remove material between front and back pockets , doesn't have to be fancy ( when in a hurry). You could remove the back except for the belt and trim the back pockets and add to the front ones and could separate the change.

james cox_4
7/28/2010 4:06:10 PM

You can also take the Legs off and use them for planting bags.. sew up on leg end...(perferably the larger end... cut insert a hanger to hand the leg against a wall the Cuff end is perferable for this.. fill with Potting soil/compost and make small slits to place plants... Works great for strawberries.. herbs etc.... Retains water well and can last about two to three seasons... then the jeans will start to break down... cut up into small pieces and place in a bin.. use it for mulch... they will eventually break down into compost....

7/28/2010 2:28:54 PM

Mostly, I use old jeans to fix/patch other old jeans. My most recent jeans project was a simple utility apron. I cut around the seat leaving the 2 patch pockets in place, followed around under the waistband in front. Put it on backwards (snapping the waistband in the back) and you have a useful little apron with 2 pockets. I suppose you could dress it up, but I didn't see the need.

7/28/2010 12:46:39 PM

Back in the 1980's I saved jeans for several years. Then made a quilt for my son out of 4 inch squares of various shades of denim. I used an old sheet for a backing, filled it with quilt batting and tacked it all together with red yarn. He was about 10 at the time and loved it. He used it until it totally wore out.

7/28/2010 12:11:37 PM

I made a bag for my (extra-long/extra-wide) yoga mat. I cut the leg off a pair of jeans, cut a section of denim from the other leg and sewed it across the bottom of the leg (on the inside so it looks nice). I then cut the waistband off and attached the button and button-hole sections to the top so I can close the bag. I still have some work to do...need to trim out the extra material (pant leg flares out at the thigh) to make it a "finished" product. I also want to attach some sort of handle/strap for ease in carrying.

7/28/2010 11:45:12 AM

I have used jeans legs to make temporary air ducts for thawing pipes with hair dryers. I lived in RVs for years, and frequently had to thaw metal pipes coming up from the ground, hoses, or tubes inside the RV. Hair dryers are ideal because they provide a lot of heat without much fire risk. Jeans are ideal because they keep the hot air where you want it, without restricting the airflow enough to overheat the hair dryer. You can use jeans from the dirty clothes, or retired jeans legs that you can split on one side and fit with zipper or Velcro closures. You can use several to make a long temporary duct for thawing. A few times, the furnace gas bottle has given out in the middle of the night and I've used a duct and dryer to keep the bed warm till morning.

kat plummer
7/28/2010 10:05:32 AM

When I use my weedeater my arm rest on the top of the motor which tends to get hot. I often wind up with a red spot or blister after awhile. I took a leg of my old jeans and slid it over my arm making a great arm guard. Works great and is washable. I once made a skirt from a large bell bottom pair of jeans for my daughter when she was a baby.

heidi _2
7/26/2010 9:30:32 AM

After my sister graduated from technical school, she took old jeans from herself, family, and friends, and made quilt squares for a quilt for her bed. Mom sewed it all together, then Sis had everyone write something on it. She still has it.

jerryann myers
7/23/2010 10:05:54 AM

After cleaning out the attic and closet, I ended up with over 30 pairs of old jeans. I made 2 beautiful braided rugs out of them. I'm saving up more to do another one!

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