How to make a Recycled Denim Waistband Cushion

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A passion for recycling jeans often leaves me with a pile of waistbands that I am not sure what to do with. This denim waistband cushion is inspired by the variety of tones of colour in the waistbands. It is such a shame for any part of old jeans to go to waste.

DIY Denim Cushion, Denim Cushion cover made with old jeans waistbands

The cushion originally came to life for a magazine submission – the theme being recycled and conservatories. So for those of you in the UK thinking I have seen this cushion before you have!! The denim waistband cushion tutorial was first published in Reloved magazine.  As is usually the way with magazines the projects have to be complete two to three months prior to publication – none of my friends have leafy green conservatories so I popped to a local cafe, based in a greenhouse for the finished look.

DIY Denim Cushion, Denim Cushion cover made with old jeans waistbands


How to make a Recycled Denim Waistband Cushion



  • 12 Pairs of jeans
  • 16” zip
  • Bobbly ball of wool
  • 16” Cushion Pad
  • Unpicker
  • Scissors
  • Paper
  • Ruler (quilters)
  • pen
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine – with a walking foot if you have it
  • Tape measure
  • Tailors Chalk

Start by unpicking the waistbands of the jeans. Ensure you have removed any loose threads remaining from this process. You may find it easier to unpick with the ballpoint of the unpicker inserted into the jeans waistband.


Create a square paper template measuring 15” square – a quilters ruler is useful for ensuring right angles. Do up the buttons of your waistbands, lay out in order onto your template. Cut the waistbands in half so they lay flat. Ensure you place your buttons so they are not directly beneath each other as this will be too thick for your sewing machine to cope with.

Pin the waistbands so the top of one waistband covers the bottom of the next waistband. Stitch in place – use a denim needle with long stitches to help your sewing machine stitch through the layers. If need be trim away the back of the waistband to reduce bulk.

Place your paper template on top and trim the sewn together fabric to size.


Cut out two denim trouser legs create two pieces of denim 8 by 16”. Straight legged jeans are best so the fabric lies flat when opened out. These form the back of the cushion cover.

Fold and press the long edge of each piece of denim. Place and pin along the edge of zip. Stitch in place to secure. If your zip is too long trim to the correct length and holds the teeth in place by stitching together at the point you have trimmed the length. Repeat for the second edge, creating the back square piece of the cushion.

Using a ball of bobbly wool create a trim for the cushion. Stitch one edge of the bobble to the front of the denim cushion, at the seam edge (1cm in from the edge), gather the bobble into a ball by stitch the yarn (as it comes out of the bobble) in the same place. Repeat along the seam allowance every 2.5cm approximately. You may wish to mark your seam allowance with tailor’s chalk to give guidance for the location of the trim.


Unzip the zip halfway. Place the front and back of the cushion right sides together. Pin along the seam allowance then stitch all around the square of the fabric.

Trim the fabric at the corners of the cushion taking care not to cut into the stitches.

Turn the cushion right sides out and insert your cushion pad.

DIY Denim Cushion, Denim Cushion cover made with old jeans waistbands

Top tip – If your sewing machine struggles with the layers of fabric trim away as much as you can on the back. A walking foot can help the machine cope with the variance in heights.

Sewing through so many layers of denim is not quite to the liking of some sewing machines – this denim chevron cushion is a little kinder to your machine! I have many denim tutorials on the blog, why not check out the tutorials page for further inspiration. Dont forget to pin for later.


  1. Elizabeth E
    July 2, 2018 / 2:34 am

    That’s gorgeous Vicky. What a great use of the waistbands. xx

  2. July 2, 2018 / 11:32 am

    A really attractive way to use those lovely tactile denim pieces. Will go and have a root through my stash. Thanks for sharing.

  3. July 8, 2018 / 10:40 am

    It’s always hard to know what to do with jeans waistbands. I have to admit to having thrown out many over the years. A clever idea, Vicky.

  4. July 15, 2018 / 8:14 pm

    Love the use of the waistbands, the cushion looks fabulous.

    • Vicky
      July 16, 2018 / 7:30 pm

      Thank you Claire, love my Bernina – not sure my modern Janome would have coped!

  5. July 19, 2018 / 6:56 am

    Nice Idea , It Looks Great

  6. Sara
    July 23, 2018 / 10:59 am

    Lovelly! I´m seeing this in a clutch or the front of bag… Congratulations Vicky!

  7. July 27, 2018 / 1:15 pm


    I really like it ,Love the use of the waistbands, and reuse it and make a beautiful cushion. please sharing the types of post.
    Thank you
    Bliss Brand Store

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