Upcycle Your Old Blue Jeans into Awesome Denim Yarn for Crochet, Knitting or Weaving into Denim Rugs, Purses and more
Have you seen all of the posts lately about making yarn out of old t shirts? That’s pretty cool and so I thought why not try and make denim yarn that would be perfect for heavier rag rugs or purses and such.
The beauty is that all you need are old blue jeans and some very sharp fabric scissors!
The basic steps of making Denim Yarn:
- Cut off the pants portion of your blue jeans
- Remove both seams and the hem at the bottom of each leg
- Remove any excess to create a rectangle
- Cut about 1″ cut from outer edge and rip stopping just shy of the other end
- Turn it over and repeat
- Continue until you reach the other edge
- Trim loose threads
Who doesn’t love a great pair of jeans, right? The right pair of blue jeans is like the little black dress … the statement piece is everybody’s closet.
Denim is a wonderful, versatile and strong fabric that’s usually made with mostly cotton and a few other materials blended in.
What Is Denim Yarn?
By definition, as you may have guess, it is yarn made from denim fabric. However, most commercially made denim yarn is called that because of the color, not the fabric content.
It is super easy to make and fairly inexpensive since most of us already have a pile of old, favorite jeans in our closet ready to upcycle. I don’t know about you but I have a hard time parting with my favorite pair.
But if you don’t happen to have any old jeans lying around …. don’t despair! Simply head over to your favorite, local thrift shop where you can usually grab a pair for just a few dollars. They have plenty.
(Hint: If you are buying your old jeans at a thrift or second hand store, pick the largest pair of pants you can find so you get more yarn)
Bonus . . . since about half of the clothes that get donated end up in a landfill, you will be doing the environment a great service.
The only other thing you need is a really sharp pair of fabric scissors.
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How to Make Yarn from Old Jeans
Making yarn from your old blue jeans is super easy and quick. You can be knitting or crocheting with it in no time at all.
Check your closet or head to the thrift store and pick up several pairs of blue jeans. As I mentioned above, the larger your pants are, the better.
Look for straight leg or boot cut which work best since the leg portion is more rectangular than flare.
Also, keep in mind that skinny jeans, although fashionable, won’t give you much denim fabric to work with.
In addition, you will want to make sure your blue jeans are not too old or worn. You especially want to stay away from pants that have any frayed areas, holes or very thin areas. No tears or rips, either.
Finally, your jeans don’t have to be 100% Cotton. These days, that would be very hard to find. So, denim with a bit of spandex or polyester is fine and will actually make your final yarn more durable.
Preparing the Blue Jeans
First, you will need to cut off the pants part of the jeans. There are too many seems with all the pockets and zippers to be useful for making yarn. You can, however, sew a fun denim purse or tote bag out of this part.
Now, using your fabric scissors, make a cut straight across the legs at the base of the pants.
Next, you will cut both of the seams off the legs and the hem at the bottom of each leg. This leaves you with four pieces of denim fabric.
If the jeans are flared at the bottom, you’ll need to remove the excess fabric. Trim it until you have a rectangle shaped piece of denim fabric.
Lay one of your denim pieces right side up on your table. Now, look at the outside edge of the piece. Run a finger in a straight line from the top of the right edge to the bottom.
That will show you where you need to make a cut to remove the flare. Make a 1-2″ cut, grab both sides and rip off the excess.
How to turn denim into yarn
You are going to use the same snip & rip method to make the actual yarn. Lay the piece flat on the table and make a 1-2″ cut about 3/4″ in from the outer edge of the denim.
Firmly grab each side in one hand and rip it all the way to the other end, stopping about 3/4″ from the other end.
Now, turn the piece over and make another cut about 3/4″ from the previous line. Again, tear it to within 3/4″ of the other end. Continue across the entire piece. Sorry if this is confusing!
Finishing Your Yarn
All that is left for you to do now is to trim off all of those little loose threads created from ripping the denim.
Also, look at the parts where you turned the jeans. If you want to, you can trim the corners to make the turn more even, but this is optional.
That’s it! For this tutorial, I used a Size 7 Women’s pair of blue jeans which yielded about 38 yards of yarn. Keep in mind, the larger the pants, the more yarn you get. Also, the wider your strips, the less yardage you get.
As I said, this is a great material for weaving or crocheting a purse, coasters, a heavy blanket, dog bed or even a rug.
Another really cool thing is that your finished piece will be completely machine washable. No hand washing required.
Update: I made some crochet trivets or potholders to test this yarn.
Also, hare some other Recycled Denim Ideas: 12 Great Projects for your Old Jeans
- Old Blue Jeans
- Fabric Scissors
- No special tools required
- Cut off the pants part of the jeans and make a cut straight across the legs at the base of the pants.
- Cut both of the seams off the legs and the hem at the bottom of each leg. This leaves you with four pieces of denim fabric. If your pants are flared at the bottom, remove the excess.
- Lay one of the pieces flat on the table and make a 1-2″ cut about 3/4″ in from the outer edge of the denim. Firmly grab each side in one hand and rip it all the way to the other end, stopping about 3/4″ from the other end. Turn the piece over and make another cut about 3/4″ from the previous line. Again, tear it to within 3/4″ of the other end. Continue across the entire piece.
- Trim the loose threads.
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How Do You Make a Denim Rag Rug?
There are several different methods for making a denim rag rug. One option is to make a braided rug by sewing braided strands of denim yarn together.
Secondly, you can also crochet or knit the strips into a rug. A third option is weaving the denim strips.
And finally, this yarn can be used for latch hooking a rug. Here’s an article which shows you several techniques for making a denim rag rug.
Can you knit with denim?
Yes! This makes great knitting yarn as long as you match the size of the needles to the width and thickness of your yarn.
What sorts of things can you knit with denim? With a smaller or narrower strip, you can make tote bags, trivets or potholders and placemats.
If you denim yarn is cut into thicker and wider strips, you can make heavier rugs, bath mats and bulkier bags.
And if you’re interested in making TShirt yarn, check out my new tutorial
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