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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Lin

Upcycle old jeans with NO-SEW DIY fabric applique patches

Updated: Jun 21, 2023


Upcycle old jeans with DIY fabric qpplique patches

Do you have a pair of old jeans you don't wear anymore? Maybe they're in excellent condition, but you're bored with them. Embellish your old jeans by adding DIY iron-on fabric applique patches. No need to break out the sewing machine. This no-sew, upcycle project takes less than 30 minutes to make.


In this tutorial, I'll show you how to make floral fabric applique patches using HeatnBond fusible webbing. Read on, or watch the video.



Materials

One pair of old jeans

1/2 yard of decorative fabric

1/2 yard of HeatnBond Lite or HeatnBond Ultrahold


Tools

Iron

Scissors


Time

30 minutes


Here's a quick overview of the project

Step 1: Iron HeatnBond adhesive to the back of your decorative fabric

Step 2: Cut out the appliques and peel off the paper backing

Step 3: Place your appliques on your jeans

Step 4: Iron your appliques to the jeans

Step 5 (optional): Hand stitch an outline with contrasting embroidery thread


Step 1: Iron HeatnBond adhesive to the back of your decorative fabric


Upcycle old jeans with DIY fabric qpplique patches


HeatnBond is paper backed, iron-on double-sided adhesive for bonding fabric. You can buy it by the yard or in one-yard packages at most fabric stores. This adhesive is the secret sauce to making fabric appliques. Iron the adhesive with the paper side up to the back of the material with NO STEAM.

Upcycle old jeans with DIY fabric qpplique patches

The instructions say to place and hold the iron on the paper backing for 2 seconds to activate the adhesive, but I held the iron for 10 seconds because I was using a thicker upholstery fabric. Make sure to melt the adhesive deep into the fibers—otherwise, the adhesive peels off (I learned this the hard way).


To make this a true no-sew project, use HeatnBond Ultrahold in the red packaging for the strongest adhesive. If you want to add a decorative hand-stitched outline as I did, use Heatnbond Lite with the purple packaging.


I picked out my decorative fabric from the upholstery section at Joanns. The traditional Jacobean florals caught my eye, and I thought they would pop against my old jeans.


Step 2: Cut out the appliques and peel off the paper backing

Upcycle old jeans with no-sew DIY applique fabric patches

Cut out your appliques after the adhesive has cooled. I cut out flowers in various shapes and sizes to give myself more options to play with when placing them on the jeans.


To remove the paper backing, score the paper with scissors or a pin and then peel it from the score line.


Step 3: Place your appliques on your jeans


Upcycle old jeans with no-sew DIY applique fabric patches

This is the fun, creative part. First, I placed the bigger flowers at the bottom and stacked smaller flowers like they were growing up my leg. Then, I put the smallest flowers on the front and back pockets for a whimsical touch.


Step 4: Iron your appliques to the jeans

Iron your appliques in place, and apply lots of pressure. This step is tedious but critical to getting a good bond.


Step 5 (optional): Hand stitch an outline with contrasting embroidery thread


Upcycle old jeans with no-sew iron-on diy fabric applique patches

I added a hand-stitched outline in bright red to make the applique pop and fake an embroidered look. It's not very clear in the photo above, but it's a cool look in real life. You can skip this step if you want a no-sew project.


What a difference these patches make! These custom jeans look like pants you'd pay top dollar for at Anthroplogie. I love the romantic, boho vibes of the patches. Adding iron-on fabric patches is a cheap and easy way to refashion and upcycle denim jeans.


If you upcycled your jeans with this tutorial, please share them with me! I love to see my readers' work. Sharing is caring.

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