I like upcycling, especially jeans. It´s beautiful, super durable material.
I made many things from old jeans in the past - pouches, baskets, scissor covers, pincushions, potholders etc. I mainly use the legs, sometimes pockets but the rest usually goes to the bin. The other day I was cutting the seams off the jeans in preparation for a big upcycling project and suddenly they caught my eye in the waste bin. I had a crazy idea which I wanted to test right away, so I took the seams out. Surprisingly it worked well. My post on Instagram about weaving a mat from the inner seams of old jeans got a very large response, so I thought I would share how I made it.
Originally, I was aiming at the door mat size but it required too much material, so I made it slightly smaller. You can make a trivet, placemat or a small candle mat, for example.
It is super easy and does´t require any sewing until the last stage. You should be familiar with basic weaving.
So, first you need to cut off the seams from old jeans with scissors. I used mainly inner seams - they are usually double stitched. It is possible to use those which have only one stitch as well as they fray nicely after washing.
You can either weave on a board (as I did) or use a table. Place your jeans strips vertically (desired width of your mat) and tape them with WIDE painter´s tape at the top to the board or table. Leave 2-2,5 inches from the top if you would like your mat to have a fringe on all 4 sides (mine has fringe only on 2 longer sides ).
Take a strip and start weaving alternating placement of horizontal strips - above or under the vertical strips, leaving 2,5-3 inches on the sides. The next row has the opposite placement of the horizontal strips.
I used a wooden tool for clay molding to ensure tight placement of the strips. It helps to move the rows up to tighten the weave /if necessary/. Once I wove 3-4 rows I secured them on the sides with the tape.
Once you reach the desired length, tape the bottom. So you have all 4 sides taped. I also taped just 1/4 inch from the woven edge.
Now we are ready to secure the edges by sewing.
You will need a denim needle. I used #100.
Take a jeans strip - I used the side seam (that was ironed to one side). Place it right next to the woven edge. Lift the painters tape /on the right side from the edge/ so you don´t stitch on it. Now stitch the strip along the woven edge.
I secured the strip with 3 seams. Take the tape off the side you have just sewn.
Repeat on the other 3 sides.
Once you have secured all 4 sides, then you can trim the fringe to your desired length either on 2 /as I did/ or 4 sides.
I washed my mat in the washing machine and it came out just perfect, no blocking was required. But as expected there was a lot of frayed threads. Once it dried I trimmed them with scissors.
My finished mat measures 15,5 x 20 inches /39 x 50 cm/. It´s nicely sturdy, soft to touch and I think it is too good for a door mat. I need to find a better use for it.
In case if you are curious, how many seams are there - from almost 50 pairs of jeans! It was a fun project. I am glad that now less goes to the waste! And I am looking forward to seeing what you will make!