How to Upcycle Your Jeans into Pillows and Bags
Categories: DIY

How to Upcycle Your Jeans into Pillows and Bags

Jeans, jeans the magical pants; the more you wear ‘em, the better you dance (right?). And once your dancing shoes have hit the shelf and it’s time for a new pair of pants, you can take the old pair and upcycle them. Today we’re working with Cotton to turn a pair of jeans into two different projects — a weekender bag and a couple of pillows. We are so excited to share these projects with you! We might even start dancing :)


– used jeans (one pair for each project)

– used belts (two for the weekender bag, one or two for the pillow)



– fabric scissors

– scissors

– sewing machine


– hammer

– measuring tape

– pins

The key here is making sure you use jeans that are made out of cotton-rich denim, as most jeans are. Just be sure you don’t end up with something that has a lot of stretch in it!

Weekender Bag

This bag is sturdy and fashionable and super easy to make. All you need are a few basic sewing skills and you’ll be able to whip one out.

Lay out your cotton-rich denim jeans and cut off one leg at 19 inches. Snip down the seam and unfold the fabric. Do the same thing to the other pant leg and then place them on top of each other. Along the bottom of the fabric measure a 10-inch section right in the center. Cut up towards the top corners at an angle. You’ll wind up with a trapezoid.

Next cut out the sides and bottom of the bag. Measure and cut the top part of one pant leg at 19 inches. Cut up the seam and unfold the leg just like you did for the face of the bag. Then measure and cut out two long rectangles that are 3 ½ x 19 inches. For the bottom, repeat this process but cut one strip that is 3 ½ x 11 inches (this gives you an extra inch for the seam).

Now it’s time to pin this puppy. We decided to use the inside of the jeans as the outside of the bag, but you can use whichever side you want (or both if you want to mix it up). Pin your bag together. Remember the after you sew you will flip the bag inside out, so be sure to pin your bag with the inside out. Once the bag is ready to go, get sewing! After it’s sewn, flip it inside out. Time to add the straps.

Get your belts, awl, hammer and rivets. Place your belt on one side of the bag and puncture a hole with your awl exactly where you want to your rivet to be. Add the male side of the rivet, pushing it through both the belt and fabric. Then add the female side to the back. Give it a good whack with your hammer. Add more rivets to secure the belt. We used four but you can add as many as you want. Affix a second belt to the other side and you’re done!

Decorative Pillow

Next up we’ve got a decorative pillow. Spruce up your bed or couch with one of these handsome fellows.

First, grab a pair of cotton-rich denim jeans and cut off both legs. Snip down the seam and open them up. Then trim them so that you have two rectangles that are the same size. Place one on top of the other with the outside in and pin them in place. Sew along the edges leaving a small section open on one side. Flip the case inside out, stuff your pillow through the opening, then pin the opening together. Either hand stitch (whipstitch will work) or sew the edge with your machine. Add your belts creating new holes with your awl if they are too long.

Boom. New pillow for you!

We’re dancing for joy we love these so much!

Have you ever upcycled your old jeans? What have you made? Dish below! 

This post is a collaboration with Cotton.