Recycled Jean Pillows, Made by Kids!

I hate throwing out old clothing- even if it’s stained and holey, I just feel like it’s a waste. I’m always trying to think of ways to re-purpose them and give them new life- and you can only have so many dust rags.

I’ll admit, I have one too many pairs of old jeans stacked up in my craft room (a.k.a. guilt room because I don’t use it enough). I finally cut up a pair of them this past Christmas to let the kids try their hand at making gifts for our families. With only a little cutting and sewing help from mom, my kiddos made these recycled jean pillows.

Recycled jean pillows, made by kids!


This was a really easy project, and the kids were proud of their work. If your children are a little older, or if you’re a little more dedicated than I, you can make these cuter with buttons, appliques, ribbon, or whatever else your little crafty heart desires.

Here’s what we did to make our jean pillows:

I cut straight across the bottom of the legs of my old jeans, using one leg per pillow. We were left with fabric “tubes.”

The kids decorated the tubes with Sharpie markers. My son wrote “I heart Namy/Pa/Grandma/Grandpa,” and my daughter happily scribbled away at them. (Permission to use permanent marker is a BIG deal at our house!)

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Next, I turned the pants tube inside out and stitched across the bottom.

IMG_0142(The sewing machine I got in 6th grade is still going strong…. mostly!)

If you want to do this properly, stitch across the top as well- all but about 2-3 inches- then turn it inside out and stuff the pillow through the hole. I chose to leave mine open so it would be easier for the kids to stuff. (But note, it’s a bit trickier to close it up later once it’s full.)

Meanwhile, I let the kids cut up old socks for stuffing. (Because why buy Polyfill when we have free stuffing material all over our house? See, even more recycling. 😉 ) They LOVED doing this part because they had special permission to touch my fabric shears. Very exciting. They stuffed their pillows to varying levels of fullness.Cutting socks for stuffing

Then I did my very lazy and sloppy way of closing things. I rolled the top edge down about 1/2″, pinned it shut without pressing it, and zig-zag stitched the whole thing shut. You really shouldn’t do it this way because it’s a bit difficult to fit under the sewing machine, but hey- it worked. (Never mind the fact that I’m probably putting undue stress on my machine and I’m lucky it’s survived for eighteen years under this kind of abuse.)

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If you chose to stitch across the top earlier and just stuff through the small hole, now would be the time to close up that small hole by hand, instead of fighting with the machine as seen above.

Ta-da! You now have fun pillows that your kids can proudly give to friends and family members- and you’ve saved a pair of jeans and some socks from the landfill in the meantime.

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