Denim Gifts for Kids and Teens

Denim Gifts for Kids and Teens
Strong, durable (due to its twill weave) and resistant to accidental tearing denim jeans or dungarees, as they were known in the past, were popular with California’s 1800s gold miners. Business entrepreneur Levi Strauss collaborated with tailor Jacob Davis and began producing the highly durable rivet-reinforced pants that could stand up to the rigors of mining, the ruggedness of life of the American cowboy out on the range and ultimately farmers, ranchers and most laborers.

Fast forward to the 1950s, Young Hollywood actor James Dean popularized the sturdy denim jeans in the movie Rebel Without a Cause. Wearing jeans became a symbol of defiance for young adults that easily was accepted by the 1960s youth counter culture. Wrangler and Lee brand jeans along with the original Levi’s became enormously popular. Today, the iconic wardrobe staple is worn worldwide by all ages from all walks of life. Famous designer companies like Calvin Klein, Armani, Guess, Gucci, Versace, Hilfiger to name just a few all offer fashion and upscale jeans.

For the frugal at heart, creative crafters and environmentally concerned it just makes sense to reuse those once-prized jeans languishing in the back of the closet when no longer suitable to wear for any of a variety of reasons – children grow so fast, once perfectly distressed now too many abraded, ripped, or torn areas in not-for-public-view parts, or just not a desired fit anymore. What better purpose to reuse these jeans than to consider gift ideas for kids and teens who seem to revere all things denim?

Consider the following few no-sew or hand-sew or machine-sew gift ideas made out of the venerable denim jeans fabric:

Back to school memo board - to hang over a student desk at home. Cover foam board or sturdy cardboard with batting and denim scraps sewn together as patchwork and crisscross with twine for a contemporary upgrade to the ribbon pin board.

Make-up organizer roll - to hold brushes and miscellaneous make-up products. Cut two rectangles of fabric, one for the inner side and one for the outer. Use iron-on interfacing to cover one of the inner sides of one of the rectangles for stiffening. The finished fabric roll will be folded in thirds. Stitch right sides together leaving an opening to turn right sides out, trim seam carefully, turn right sides out, press and stitch opening closed. Fold the rectangle up one-third so that a pocket will form to hold the items. The top will be left to fold over as a flap to cover all. Stitch the pocket side edges and stitch multiple vertical parallel lines across the pocket. The small stitched compartments can now hold the items securely. Add two pieces of cording or lengths of ribbon to the middle edge of one side of the roll up. Roll up the organizer and tie closed. An elastic hair band and button can be used for closure as well.

Shabby chic denim rose – for necklace or pin to backpack or tote. One way to make the jeans flower is to cut a two or three-inch wide strip of denim about 12-inches (or longer if desired) from one of the pants legs of the jeans. Machine launder and dry. The edges will fray (bloom) as expected. The white frayed edges will give the finished flower extra character. Start rolling the flower from one end taking a stitch or two (use sturdy thread) every so often to secure the flower bottom as it is rolled. Add a pin back to attach to a backpack or tote or attach to a black velvet ribbon or cord to use as a necklace.

Throw pillow cover with denim jeans pocket - pocket to hold cell phone at bedtime. Sew together denim fabric pieces for patchwork, enough to make an envelop style pillow cover. Use a jeans back pocket to attach to the front of the pillow cover. Insert a purchased pillow insert.

Patchwork floor pillow for TV watching – much like the throw pillow cover minus the jeans back pocket and bigger! Cover the back of the floor pillow with sturdy cotton duck fabric to stand up to friction on carpet or floors.

Animal shape softie to go along with the story from a purchased children’s book. Make an animal softie template by tracing around a large cookie cutter animal shape or transfer a pleasing simple animal shape from a child’s coloring book, Cut out two from fabric or felt, stitch right-sides together using a 1/4-inch seam leaving an opening for turning. Trim seam if necessary. Turn, stuff generously with poly fill and hand stitch opening closed. Hand-embroider a simple face. Button eyes or felt cut-outs glued on are not considered safe for children under three years of age. Sewing a simple tote to place both the animal softie and book into would make a great happy gift to a child.

Old denim jeans can live again refurbished, upcycled, remade and reused with a little creative imagination and love.

Sew happy, sew inspired.

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This content was written by Cheryl Ellex. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Cheryl Ellex for details.