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After a long hiatus from publishing new tutorials, I’m back with a new sewing project that’s perfect for beginners, especially those who love repurposing! So take out all your ripped, worn out or stained jeans and make a DIY denim banner with them!
I love refashioning and mending jeans to get more life out of them, but sometimes you just can’t repair them anymore. And that’s when it’s a great idea to make an upcycled banner from them because you can cut out the salvagable fabric from them!
When you use different pairs of jeans, your handmade denim banner makes a beautiful blue ombre effect that I just love! Isn’t that just so pretty?
I’ve sewn this upcycled banner a bit differently than my other DIY fabric banners so as to show off the white fringe that we all know and love in cut-off jeans! It’s such a unique look to fabric bunting, I love it!
So, are you ready to learn how to make a DIY denim banner from your old jeans? Let’s get started!
Materials to sew a DIY denim banner
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- Jeans (preferably different shades)
- Double fold bias tape (I used 1/2″ [12.5 mm] double fold bias tape, which I made by folding over my handmade 1″ [25 mm] single fold bias tape. You can buy the tape already made in a shop or click here to learn to make homemade bias tape yourself!)
- Fabric shears*
- Straight pins*
- Jeans sewing needle* (you can use a size 100/16 regular universal needle*, too, but jeans needles are super sharp and sew through denim easily)
- Gutermann Jeans thread* (obviously you can use other thread, but I love this one that perfectly matches pretty much any shade of jeans.)
- Cereal box for the template shape to trace around
- (optional) My “Celebrate!” Banner pattern (This project is just a simple rectangle, but the pattern has lots of different shapes and sizes of flags, as well as letters and symbols to applique on them for endless personalization!)
Make the banner flags from jeans
1. First prepare your pattern piece. I used the size M rectangular piece (with seam allowance) of my “Celebrate!” Banner pattern glued onto a piece of cereal box. (This makes it sturdier and easier to trace around.) You can use other shapes/sizes of that pattern, or just cut out a piece of cereal box 4¾ x 6¾” (12 x 16 cm). This includes the 3/8″ (1 cm) seam allowance used in this project.
2. Turn the pants leg inside out, right sides facing, and flatten it so that one seam is at the edge. Trace around the pattern piece so that the grainline arrow goes in the direction of the leg length, not the width. If you’re just using a regular rectangle piece without that arrow, the long sides should go down the leg length. (A above) I’ll explain why this is important later.
3. Pin the two layers of fabric together, then cut out along the lines. (B above)
4. Continue cutting like this until you have the number of banner flags desired.
5. With the fabric still pinned right sides facing, sew down the two long sides with a 3/8″ (1 cm) seam allowance. (C above)
6. Trim the seam allowances, turn the rectangle right sides out, and press flat. Then topstitch down one side, across the bottom and back up the other side. The seam allowance at the sides can be close to the side edges, but leave at least 3/8″ (1 cm) seam allowance at the bottom to allow a decent amount of fringe to come out. (D above)
7. Continue this way until you’ve prepared all your banner flags.
Sew the DIY denim banner
8. Cut the length of double fold bias tape that you’ll need. Calculate the number of flags by the top width of the flags and then add extra for hanging. I like long strips to hang for more versatility, so I usually add about 70 cm (28″) per side.
9. Fold one end of the bias tape right sides facing and sew 3/8″ (1 cm) from the short end. (F above)
10. Trim the seam allowance close to the stitching, then turn the bias tape right side out again, tucking the folds inside. (G above)
Repeat steps 9-10 with the other end of the bias tape.
11. Fold the length of bias tape in half and mark the center fold with a pin. Insert the unsewn top of the center flag inside the bias tape so that the center of the flag is at the pin. (H above)
12. Put a couple more pins in to keep the flag inside the bias tape. Insert another flag next to the center one and pin that in place, too. (I above)
13. Continue inserting the other flags, alternating different shades if possible, and pinning them in place. (J above, which shows after step 14, without pins)
14. Sew down the length of bias tape, from one end to the other, close to the open edges. Use a thread color that matches your bias tape. (K above, which also shows my Cucicucicoo tag sewn into the end of the bias tape)
15. Machine wash and dry the banner, then iron it flat. (L above) Now there’s a nice white fringe at the bottom edges!
And there’s your finished DIY denim banner made from your offcast jeans! What a wonderful way to reuse fabric that would’ve been otherwise thrown away!
Now you have a great excuse to throw a party, so you can hang up your new upcycled banner! 😁 Or you can be like me and keep it hanging on a wall all year round!
Denim fringe along vs. against the grain
I mentioned in step 2 that the position of the pattern piece on the jeans leg is important. Now I’ll show you why.
In the photo above, you can see two sewn denim flags. The one on the left was cut properly from the jeans, with the grain running down the length of the rectangle. On the other hand, I cut the one on the right sideways, with the grain running across the width of the rectangle.
You can already see here that the rectangle bottoms are fraying differently. On the left, some white threads are sticking out, while on the right, some blue threads are sticking out. This is due to the way denim fabric is woven.
I sewed the correct rectangle into my banner. Look how the fringe compares to the incorrectly cut rectangle before and after washing. The correct banner has a nice white fringe (red arrow), while the incorrect banner has grown a sort of stringy blue tail coming out of the bottom edge (blue arrow).
I much prefer the white fringe, but if you prefer the blue “tail”, by all means cut your pieces that way!
Have you gotten infected with fabric banner fever? Then go check out my “Celebrate!” Banner pattern, which has loads of options to create the perfect customized party banner for any occasion!
If you liked this tutorial on how to sew a DIY denim banner, check out the lessons that are part of the FREE Cucicucicoo Learn to Machine Sew beginner’s sewing course, which includes a whole section on sewing with bias tape! And don’t forget to share pictures of your work in the Cucicucicoo Creations Facebook group, or on Instagram or other social media with the hashtags #cucicucicoo or #cucicucicoopatterns!
Sign up here for the Cucicucicoo Newsletter for access to dozens of free downloads, templates and patterns! The Newsletter is sent out every week with lots of great ideas and links to a different free sewing pattern every week!
If you loved this DIY banner from jeans, click here to save the idea on Pinterest!