Upcycle Jeans and Make an Apron

This is the first of three projects made from a single pair of jeans. Today we are going to learn how to make an apron from the legs of your jeans.

Upcycling is such a brilliant way of getting use out of something that doesn’t work for you anymore, not to mention keeping them out of the landfills.

Whether you have an old pair of jeans at home that doesn’t fit or you spotted a fantastic jumper in a charity shop these are the crafts for you. So keep an eye out for our next posts.

This is made from the legs of the trousers below the knee. A simple apron that would be great from a man’s pairs of jeans as the wider legs make for a bigger apron. Again you can customise this to your heart’s content. Make a super strong band for heavy work and the loops are sewn on the front are fantastic for holding tools or baking implements.

When cutting, make sure to only cut out the front of the leg. We need the back of the leg for your next project.

If you prefer a neater finish, you can use bias binding on any or all of the raw edges. RS = right side of the fabric -ie the outside, patterned or darker sideWS = wrong side of the fabric –iethe inside, unpatterned, or more faded side. The ‘yellow stitching’ referred to, is the original stitching usually used in making jeans & other denim clothing. In some cases, this stitching may not be yellow.

This apron uses the bottom of the 2 legs of a pair of jeans. Either the 2 fronts or the 2 backs can be used.

Place the 2 pieces together, right sides facing & sew up the length of them on one side( I used the 2 inner leg seams to go up the centre of my apron, but the students may choose the have the yellow stitching up the centre of theirs –just ensure they realise this would mean they have a plainer finish to the outer edge of their apron, with no yellow stitching). Fold over the outer edges & sew to create a neat edge. (You can add a loop at the side, by making a loop out of ribbon, & sewing on, approx. 8cm from the top, as they sew up the sides),


MDF Heart

Step 1

Cut the legs off –however long you want the apron, plus 9cm –(mine is 51cm long), & allowing approx. 2.5cm at each side, beyond the original yellow stitching.

Step 2

Cut a piece of herringbone tape the desired length for waistband (all one piece) Place the apron WS up & measure 9cmfrom the top. Place your herringbone tape here, fold down the top 4cm, so the herringbone tape is just covered (adjust the denim to cover the herringbone tape)

Sew along the whole width of the apron, approx. 2cm up from the bottom of the herringbone tape.

Step 3

Pocket: Cut the bottom off a leg –the bottom, the yellow stitched hem will become the top of the pocket. If the student wishes to decorate the pocket with some embroidery, buttons, sequins, or applique, now is the time to do so. Pin the pocket in the desired position & sew around 3 sides. Contrasting thread adds interest. I used running stitch, but a blanket or back stitch, or any decorative stitch would work well here.

Step 4

Cut a piece of denim from the rest of the jeans, approx. 17 x 5cm

Place WS up & place a piece of contrasting ribbon (approx. 20cm long) along it, tucking the ends of the ribbon under the denim at each end. Sew vertical lines at intervals, far enough apart for the utensils to fit in ie. pen; wooden spoon etc. Again, contrasting thread works well here.


Use felt as it doesn’t fray at edges. Draw the design onto the felt (you can use tailors chalks, or vanishing fabric markers),  you can simply cut out shapes to sew onto the denim, or embroider onto the felt. Cut out the shapes & sew onto the denim –using blanket stitch around the edges.


You can come up with their own designs. Among the simplest stitches are running; back; chain; & French knots. Bear in mind that an upcycled project is likely to look less ‘neat’ than one using new materials, due to the nature of ‘undoing’ the original. But this can add to the unique feel of the project.

Buy The Items

  • Satin Ribbon

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  • Gütermann 100% Cotton Thread

    Gütermann 100% Cotton Thread

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  • Hemline Dressmaking Shears

    Hemline Dressmaking Shears

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