How to Upcycle pt 2: Jeans to Dungarees

Our Young Content Creator Maddie continues her series of step-by-step guides on how to upcycle your old clothes. In this article she shows you how to turn a pair of jeans into stylish dungarees! If you missed pt 1 of this series, click here to see how to transform shorts into a crop top.

How to Upcycle pt 2: Jeans to Dungarees

For these dungarees I used:

A pair of jeans which fit me around the waist and thighs

Lining fabric

Basic sewing kit

Step 1 – Create the shorts

Work out how long you want the shorts to be. Leaving 1.5cm extra for the hem, cut the jeans at this point. Fold the hem under twice and pin. Sew the hem.

Step 2 – Draw the pattern for the top

Get a spare piece of paper and draw out the shapes of the front and back piece of the dungarees. I made the back piece a triangle with the top cut off. The front piece will need to be in two pieces, one larger one which will have the buttons on, and one smaller one which will overlap and have the buttonholes on. Use the top of the jeans as guidance to make sure everything lines up and matches up evenly.

Step 3 – Cut out the front and back pieces

Take the legs of the jeans and cut up one seam so they lie flat. Place your three paper pattern pieces and place them on the jeans, making sure you leave enough seam allowance between each piece. Cut the pieces out.

Step 4 – Line the denim

Cut the pieces out of your lining fabric. Place the lining and the denim right sides together and sew around the edges, leaving the bottom edges open. Turn the pieces the right way around and press flat.

Step 5 – Sew the pieces to the shorts

Unpick the top line of stitching around the waistband of the jeans, including the top of the belt loops. Place the bottom edge of the three dungaree pieces into the waistband of the jeans, making sure you line them up correctly. Pin and resew the line around the waistband. Sew the belt loops back down separately by going backward and forward over them with a small zigzag stitch.

Step 6

Mark on where the buttons and buttonholes should go down the front of the dungarees. Sew the buttonholes and buttons on.

Step 7- Make the straps

Cut strips out of the remaining denim fabric. Sew them together to make two strips, long enough for straps. Do the same with the lining. Place the denim and the lining right sides together and sew along both sides and along one short edge. Turn the straps through so they are the right way around. Press flat.

Step 8 – Sew the straps to the back piece

Sew the closed end of the strap to the inside of the back piece of the dungarees.

Step 9 – Sew the straps to the front

Try the dungarees on and pin the straps in place to the front of the dungarees. Measure the straps and double check they are placed symmetrically before cutting off any excess strap, folding the raw ends in, pressing flat, and sewing them into place on the inside of the front pieces.

Step 10 – Decoration!

If you want to leave it at that, then you’re done but I wanted to add some decoration. I cut out a piece of the lining fabric to go over one of the back pockets, machine sewing along the sides and bottom and hand sewing it along the top. I also created strips of the lining fabric and hand sewed them around the edge of the front. I also did this because I decided I wanted the front to be slightly taller and wider than I originally made it.

Step 11 – Celebrate!

Give yourself a pat on the back! You’ve finished!


This article was written by one of our Young Content Creators, an initiative ran in conjunction with Young Storyhouse to provide budding content creators paid opportunities to showcase their unique voices within Storyhouse’s digital channels.

Young Content Creators are supported by Film Hub North, awarding funds from The National Lottery.