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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)

Measurements for cutting the jeans

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.

Measurements for the sash

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.

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Read More From Feltmagnet

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"


30" to 40"


40" to 50"


50" and larger


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)

Measurements for the ruffle

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.

Ready to start cooking in a new apron!

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

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

© 2014 Claudia Mitchell


Claudia Mitchell (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 Mitchell (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 Mitchell (author) on December 09, 2014:

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

Claudia Mitchell (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 Mitchell (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 Mitchell (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 Mitchell (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.

Ann from Yorkshire, England on October 06, 2014:

Great idea - I'm off to make one.

Claudia Mitchell (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 Mitchell (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 Mitchell (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 Mitchell (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 Mitchell (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 Mitchell (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.