Here’s how to give old jeans a second chance: try upcycling!
What does upcycling mean? What is it for? Why is it useful and important to start doing this? Let’s see together a simple and cool way to start: upcycling our jeans!
What is upcycling
Upcycling is different from recycling: recycling changes the shape of a product, think PET plastic bottles, which are recycled to make fillings for jackets, glasses, or other plastic bottles.
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On the other hand, upcycling does not involve destroying the original object, but transforming it by adding value. To give an example: if imaginative or avant-garde jewels are made from an old tire, then it is upcycling. If, on the other hand, that old tire is shredded and used to create the rubbery ground for children’s playgrounds, then it is recycle. Do you understand the difference?
Why upcycling denim
Denim is one of the most polluting fabrics. Starting from the material, cotton, which needs a lot of water to be grown and treated and, if it is spun together with elastane, will biodegrade in much longer. In fact, elastane is a synthetic fiber. Here, too, read the labels: look at the percentage of cotton and elastane of your denim garments when you buy them.
Even the dyes and washes to which denim is subjected can have a great impact on the environment, but not only. The dyes used for blue can be toxic and the residues, if there are no appropriate controls and filters, can be discharged into the sea. Plus, did you know that jeans are born very dark blue? The lightening effects are given by the various washes and by the various stone washing or sandblasting procedures, each of which can be more or less harmful to the environment. Sandblasting, for example, the technique that creates that washed effect on denim, is made with powders which, if inhaled, are highly toxic (in fact it is prohibited in Europe).
Read also: Eco-sustainable jeans: brands to know and buy
The stone wash itself can be made with biodegradable materials or biological enzymes or with materials harmful to the environment. That’s why the more we can make a denim garment last, the better!
How to upcycle jeans
There are various ways to upcycle a pair of jeans. Let’s see the coolest ones:
From a pair of jeans to a pair of shorts
It’s the fastest way to upcycle: do you have old jeans, maybe ripped at the knees that you no longer use? Or does your boyfriend have them? Well, arm yourself with a pair of scissors that cut well and shorten them with a simple zac! Alternatively, you can design the part to be cut with caps, if you prefer to make a more bon ton hem. Personally, I like it raw cut and a little frayed, but you can also have a seamstress go over the hem to keep it from fraying, or roll it up on itself.
From a pair of jeans, a short skirt
There are tons of tutorials on the internet for making a mini skirt out of old jeans. All you need to do is untwist it and stitch it flat. The ideal is to have a sewing machine, so that the seams are very solid.
From two pairs of jeans a long skirt
This is a nice solution, so you need a pair or two of jeans to unstitch and mend flat. Here too, there are various tutorials that you can get inspired by online. You can then decorate your creations with patches, colors for fabrics, embroideries … everything and more! This way you will truly make them yours.
Brands that upcycling jeans
There are also jeans on the market that are the result of upcycling. Among these, there is the American brand Re / Done, which revisits old Levi’s denim but not only to make them unique.