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Upcycled Denim Tutorial: How to Make an Apron From Old Blue Jeans

Claudia has been writing about crafts online for many years. She is an avid crafter who has been creating for most of her life.

Upcycled blue jean apron tutorial. So cute and easy!

Upcycled blue jean apron tutorial. So cute and easy!

I'm always looking for cute sewing projects for all of the old jeans that I have sitting around the house. For some reason, the length of the jeans is never quite right on my husband, so the hems get ruined and I can't donate them.

I don't like throwing them away because it seems like such a waste.

So I try to come up with things to make. I've already made a cute denim throw pillow cover, and now I've made this apron.

Aprons are always useful in my house. I use them while cooking and cleaning, and now that my daughter is old enough, she uses them too. That means I need more, and that is why I came up with this project.

I love that this apron has pockets in the front, and I think that the addition of the pink fabric really makes it shine. I included the fabric to brighten up the denim a little bit, and to add a whimsical touch. Luckily I'm a quilter, so I have lots of fabric around to choose from.

This apron is easy and fun to make. With adult supervision, an older child could make one for themselves, or as a special gift for someone. I know that my mother would love to have something especially made for her by her granddaughter.

Below you'll find all of the instructions and photos that you'll need to make this project.

Supplies You'll Need

  • One pair of jeans (I used larger men's jeans)
  • One yard of cotton fabric
  • Good scissors
  • Seam ripper
  • Quilter's ruler
  • Strong rotary cutter
  • Strong sewing needles
  • Pins (you'll need a lot)
Cut the jeans to the measurements indicated.

Cut the jeans to the measurements indicated.

Upcycle the Jeans

The measurements for the denim are in the photo above. The following instructions will show you how to disassemble the jeans. (As shown in the photos below. Click on the thumbnails to see each photo)

  1. Choose a used pair of jeans that is free of any noticeable tears or stains. (See photo #1.)
  2. Cut off the legs just below the seam between the legs. (See photo #2.)
  3. Cut out the front center seam and zipper. (See photo #3.)
  4. Open up and lay out the jeans flat. (See photo #4.)
  5. Using good scissors, cut off the front two panels of the jeans. Use the side seam as a guide. Before cutting, remember that you'll need 20 1/2" on top and 23 1/2" on the bottom, so you may need to keep part of the front of the jeans. Measure before you cut just to be sure. (See photo #5.)
  6. Remove the belt loops. (See photo #6.)
  7. Trim the denim to: Top waist = 20 1/2", Bottom hem 23 1/2", Sides will measure approximately 15 1/2". Before you cut, mark all 4 corners with a pen. These marks will serve as your cutting lines. Using your ruler, cut from mark to mark. (See photo #7.)
  8. Fold under and pin down both sides, making a 1/4" finished edge. (See photo #8.)
  9. Sew down the hem on both sides. (See photo #9.)

Note: This apron fits a medium to extra large adult. To make it smaller, just adjust the length of the waist and hem accordingly.

Sash measurements for this apron are shown in the photo.  The length can be adjusted as needed.

Sash measurements for this apron are shown in the photo. The length can be adjusted as needed.

Suggested Sash Lengths for Various Waists

These are only suggested lengths. I like long sashes that make nice big bows, but, some people don't. Use your own discretion when making your sash. If making the apron for a gift, make it on the longer side, just to be safe.

WaistSash Length

20" to 30"

60"

30" to 40"

65"

40" to 50"

70"

50" and larger

80"

How to Make the Sash for the Apron

Making the sash is the most time consuming part of this project. Use the measurements noted in the photo above, or use the suggestions listed to the right. You can also follow the photo instructions provided below.

  1. Cut two strips, 5" by the width of the fabric. The standard width of fabric is about 42" from selvage to selvage. (Photo 1).
  2. With right sides facing each other, sew the two strips together on one of the short ends. This will give you a strip about 5" by 82". Trim to the desired length. (Photo 2)
  3. Hem the edges. Fold and press each end of the strip down approximately 1/4". Sew down to secure. (Photo 3)
  4. Fold and press the strip in half, lengthwise, right sides together. Sew down the entire length of the fabric using a 1/4" seam. This will form a long tube. (No photo available)
  5. Turn the sash inside out. This takes a while, and a lot of patience. I use my fingers and the eraser end of a pencil. Just keep working the fabric by pushing with the pencil and pulling at the top. Don't use anything sharp or the sash will tear. (Photo 4)
  6. Press the sash and attach to the top of the denim by pinning the center of the sash to the center of the top (waist side) of the denim. Match the raw edge of the denim to the seam of the sash and pin along the top. Sew the sash on using a 1/4" seam allowance. Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and the end for security. (Photo 5)
For the ruffle, cut a piece of fabric to the measurements noted.  This makes a subtle ruffle.  Cut the fabric longer and the ruffle will be fuller.

For the ruffle, cut a piece of fabric to the measurements noted. This makes a subtle ruffle. Cut the fabric longer and the ruffle will be fuller.

Video showing how to pin a ruffle to fabric

How to Make the Ruffle for the Apron

You may not think so, but adding the ruffle is easy. Just get your pins ready. The measurements in the photo above are for a subtle ruffle. If you want a fuller ruffle, just add a few inches to the length of the fabric. If you'd like more information on how to pin a ruffle, see the video I made on the right.

  1. Cut a piece of fabric 10" by 27 1/2". (Photo 1)
  2. Hem both of the 10 inch sides by turning the fabric in about 1/4" and pressing. Then sew down. (Photo 2)
  3. Fold in half, wrong sides together, long edge to long edge. (No photo available)
  4. Lay the fabric on top of the denim, lining up the raw edges of the folded fabric and the raw edge of the bottom of the denim. The fabric will be longer, but that is ok. (No photo available)
  5. Start pinning the ruffle onto the bottom edge of the denim. Pin the center of the denim hem to the center of the fabric. Then pin the corners, matching up the corner of the fabric to the corner of the denim. Pin on both corners. (Photo 3)
  6. Find the center of the fabric on the smaller sections and pin. (Photo 4)
  7. Continue finding the centers of the sections and pin. (Photo 5)
  8. Pin like this along the entire edge until you are happy with how it looks. (Photo 6)
  9. Using a 1/4 seam allowance, sew along the edge, beginning and ending with backstitching. (Photo 7)
This apron, made out of recycled jeans, looks almost old-fashioned in this picture.

This apron, made out of recycled jeans, looks almost old-fashioned in this picture.

Just curious...

Recycled Jeans Make a Great Apron

Anyone who cooks can use an apron, and most people don't go out and buy one for themselves. They usually have one in their kitchen drawer that has been washed one too many times or has lots of stains. Why not make someone, or yourself, a new one.

I've always liked to wear aprons. Not only are they functional, they look cute, especially this one. By making it with old jeans, you are also doing a small part to help the environment.

This apron only takes about an hour or two to make, and the results are awesome. Who wouldn't want an apron like this? Next time you have an old pair of jeans sitting around, why not try this project.

Upcycle your old denim jeans to make this super cute apron.

Upcycle your old denim jeans to make this super cute apron.

© 2014 Claudia Porter

Comments

Claudia Porter (author) on February 09, 2015:

Good luck peachpurple. With a few alterations to the pattern I'm sure you could use a skirt instead of jeans to make this apron. Thanks for reading and commenting.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on February 07, 2015:

i want to try making my own apron but no jeans, maybe skirt

Claudia Porter (author) on January 28, 2015:

Hi vespawoolf - I can't wait to hear how your apron turns out. You probably get a lot of use out of them too because of all of your cooking. Hope you are well. Thanks for reading!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on January 28, 2015:

What a clever idea! I have both the jeans and the fabric remnants to make this. I´ve marked it so I can come back and follow your clear instructions. I agree--who wouldn´t love this apron?!

Claudia Porter (author) on December 09, 2014:

Hi Sanjay Lakhanpal - So glad you enjoyed the project. They are fun to make. Thanks for reading.

Claudia Porter (author) on December 09, 2014:

Hello again Audrey! How'd the apron turn out? What kind of coordinating fabric did you use. I think a red fabric would look cute with the denim. Glad I could help out with your sewing. You'll be a pro soon! Thanks for stopping by.

Claudia Porter (author) on December 09, 2014:

Thanks so much DzyMsLizzy! I think people can get away with pretty torn jeans these days too, but I like mine a little nicer. That's probably why I have so many pairs to make things with. Thanks for your kind words and support. Have a great day!

Sanjay Sharma from Mandi (HP) India on December 09, 2014:

Fantastic Idea.Thanks for sharing.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on December 08, 2014:

An update to my last comment. Learned just enough about sewing to make this adorable apron. Thanks to you, now I can try a few more projects. I owe you my friend!

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on December 08, 2014:

Neat idea; I have lots of old ratted-out jeans in my closet, and they aren't even any good to donate. But then again, maybe they are, given the current fashion trend of wearing pants that are all ripped up down the front of the legs! LOL

I don't usually use or wear aprons. I get right into what I'm doing, and by the time I think of protecting my clothes, it's too late! No matter, I wear jeans all the time anyway; I'm not cooking in dressy clothes, so it's all good.

This was a well-done tutorial and clever idea. Voted up, interesting and useful.

Claudia Porter (author) on December 08, 2014:

Thanks so much anima knitts! Good luck making your apron. It really is a fun apron to make.

Lejla M.S. from Bosnia and Herzegovina on December 07, 2014:

I love it. It is a geat idea and you insired me to try making one for myself.

Claudia Porter (author) on October 13, 2014:

Hi annieangel1 - So sorry it took me so long to respond. I was away for a few days and am trying to catch up with computer things. Glad you liked this apron and I hope it turned out nicely. It is a fun and quick project which is useful too. Thanks for stopping by and reading.

annieangel1 on October 06, 2014:

Great idea - I'm off to make one.

Claudia Porter (author) on September 19, 2014:

I think it would be fun for kids to wear this. There are so many cute fabrics that would make a great accent. Thanks so much for enjoying my articles. My daughter likes to do most of my crafts with me so I like to write about things she likes too.

Rachael Tate from England on September 19, 2014:

This is so cute and great for kids as denim is so hard-wearing! I've just discovered your hubs and have seen several ideas for craft projects to do with my daughter! Can't wait!

Claudia Porter (author) on June 20, 2014:

Glad you enjoyed the hub. These aprons are fun to make. My husband had to chuckle because they were his jeans. Thanks for the votes and pin!

Maria Giunta from Sydney, Australia on June 18, 2014:

In the past I've turned long jeans into shorts (and so has my daughter) but this is a cool idea too. I know my mum would love an apron like this. Thanks for sharing a great idea. Voted up, awesome and pinned.

Claudia Porter (author) on May 21, 2014:

Wow - thanks so much Meisjunk! You would definitely be the cool aunt if you made this. It's a good rainy day activity or any day for that matter. Glad you stopped by.

Claudia Porter (author) on May 21, 2014:

Hi Audrey - I really appreciate it. I can't do a lot of fancy sewing, but I can do a straight stitch. Maybe you could take a beginning class. For this project, that is all you would need. Thanks for the votes and share. Have a great day!

Claudia Porter (author) on May 21, 2014:

Thanks so much for your kind comments Vellur. This is still one of my favorite projects I've done on HubPages.

Jennifer Kessner from Pennsylvania on May 21, 2014:

I love, Love, LOVE this! I'm thinking it would also be a great activity to do with kids. I'll for sure be the cool aunt. Thanks! XD Voted up and awesome.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on May 20, 2014:

I would love to have your talent. There are so many creative projects I would like to do if I could only sew. I get lost just trying to thread a bobbin:) This apron is so adorable. Thanks for sharing and your instructions are so great! Up and more and sharing. - Audrey

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on May 20, 2014:

The denim apron looks great!Thank you for sharing this. You have great ideas and very creative!!Voted up.

Claudia Porter (author) on May 20, 2014:

Hi Stephanie - Thanks so much for your kind words. I'm working on a couple of projects right now and getting them together to write a hub. Keep your jeans. There are loads of fun things you can do with them. Thanks for the share and vote. Have a great day.

Claudia Porter (author) on May 20, 2014:

Thank you Daisy Mariposa! This is one of my favorite projects I've done on hubpages and I use the apron all of the time. Hope you make it. I'd love to know how yours turns out. I appreciate your support!

Stephanie Henkel from USA on May 20, 2014:

This apron from jeans is just adorable! Every time I see one of your projects, I know I'm going to love it! I always donate old jeans, too, but I'm now thinking I NEED one of these cute aprons! Thanks for the great instructions and for making this look like a project even I could do. Voted up and shared.

Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on May 20, 2014:

Glimmer,

Thanks for publishing this very useful article. I donate my old jeans to charity, but I just might decide to keep a pair and make an apron. When I'm doing household chores, I never seem to hang on to the small items I'm carrying. The apron would be a big help.

Claudia Porter (author) on May 12, 2014:

BNadyn - Thanks so much for all of the support. This would definitely be a fun project, maybe even matching aprons. Your daughter would love it and you could embellish them in fun ways too. Have a great day!

Bernadyn from Jacksonville, Florida on May 11, 2014:

My little girl likes wearing aprons now since she loves to help me in the kitchen. She likes to craft and paint, too, so the pockets would be useful. I love projects that upcycle and we seem to have old denim lying around a lot. I'll be pinning and sharing this, very useful and creative. :)

Claudia Porter (author) on January 25, 2014:

Hi Heather - I'm glad you liked this tutorial. I love the pockets too and my daughter, who is the model in these photos, was the one who suggested putting the utensils in the pocket. I think this would be great for you, especially since you take photos with your iPhone. Have fun making this and thanks for your support. Have a good weekend.

Heather from Arizona on January 24, 2014:

Holy. Cow. I am making one of these ASAP. My aprons don't have pockets and I would love those pockets to keep my iPhone handier when I'm taking pics of food preparation. Pinning and doing. Thanks for this great idea :)

Claudia Porter (author) on January 22, 2014:

Thanks so much agusfanani! What a nice thing to say.

agusfanani from Indonesia on January 21, 2014:

The idea is brilliant and absolutely inspiring.

Claudia Porter (author) on January 21, 2014:

Thanks Michelle! I'm liking denim more and more for sewing projects. Maybe because it's so much fun using them.

Michelle Liew from Singapore on January 20, 2014:

Glim, trust you to make denim pretty!! Another creative project!

Claudia Porter (author) on January 15, 2014:

Thanks for the support ESPeck! Hope you are doing well and I'm glad you liked the apron.

Emilie S Peck from Minneapolis, MN on January 14, 2014:

This is so adorable! I don't use aprons, but I do know quite a few people who might appreciate it. Sharing this hub. :)

Claudia Porter (author) on January 14, 2014:

Thanks aviannovice! I'm starting to get into upcycling more and more. It must be a spring cleaning type of thing. Hope you are seeing lots of beautiful birds.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on January 13, 2014:

This is a great idea that looks relatively easy to do. Good repurposing.

Claudia Porter (author) on January 12, 2014:

Hi teaches! Your comment reminded me that a friend said that old hippies would like this project so I guess I have all ages covered. I usually show my projects to my daughter's friends and they all seem to like them. This one was a big hit with them too. Glad you stopped by to read and thanks for the kind comments.

Claudia Porter (author) on January 12, 2014:

Thanks so much for all of the support tillsontitan! I'm so glad you liked the apron. I wore it earlier today when making dinner and my husband even said it was cute. That was nice. Hope you had a nice weekend. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Claudia Porter (author) on January 12, 2014:

Hi WriterJanis - Lately I've really been into upcycling and it just seems like I have piles of jeans right now so it's a great combo. Glad you liked the project. Thanks for stopping by!

Claudia Porter (author) on January 12, 2014:

I appreciate it suzettenaples! I'm glad you found the instructions easy to follow. I love denim purses so that my be on my list of projects here. Thanks for stopping by!

Claudia Porter (author) on January 12, 2014:

Thank you Purple Perl - I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and that you let me know.

Claudia Porter (author) on January 11, 2014:

Thanks Sherry! I hope you make it and let me know how it turns out. I appreciate the support.

Dianna Mendez on January 11, 2014:

This would make a great gift for anyone, but I can see how younger chefs would love the denim appeal. Very creative and love it!

Mary Craig from New York on January 11, 2014:

Way cool! What a great way to update the apron while reusing those old jeans. This is brilliant.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

Janis from California on January 10, 2014:

This is really cute and a great way to recycle your old jeans.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on January 10, 2014:

What a cute idea! I have made purses from old jeans many years ago. I'm not crazy about sewing, but your instructions are easy to follow.

Claudia Porter (author) on January 10, 2014:

Thanks for all of the support Bill. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub.