Denim Whales: The Perfect DIY Project for Eco-Conscious Fashion Enthusiasts

Denim Whales: The Perfect DIY Project for Eco-Conscious Fashion Enthusiasts

Denim Whales: The Perfect DIY Project for Eco-Conscious Fashion Enthusiasts

Denim Whales have been making waves in the world of sustainable and eco-friendly fashion, and for good reason! These adorable whales, made from upcycled denim, are not only a fun and creative DIY project, but they are also a great way to repurpose old clothing and reduce textile waste. There's nothing quite as satisfying as creating something beautiful and useful out of materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. And let's not forget about the added bonus of having a unique and stylish home décor piece that is sure to impress your guests. There is joy in creating your own denim whales, along with the benefits of upcycling, So grab your scissors and let's get crafting!

Why denim whales are the perfect DIY project

Denim whales are the perfect DIY project for several reasons. First, they are easy and fun to make, even for beginners. With just a few basic materials and some simple instructions, anyone can create a beautiful denim whale in no time. Second, they are a great way to repurpose old denim clothing that might otherwise be thrown away. By upcycling denim, you are helping to reduce textile waste and minimize your impact on the environment. And third, denim whales are a unique and stylish addition to any home décor. Whether you're looking for a cute accent piece for your living room or a fun gift for a friend, denim whales are sure to impress.

Benefits of upcycling denim

Upcycling denim has several benefits for the environment. First, it helps to reduce textile waste by giving new life to old clothing that might otherwise end up in landfills. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away over 11 million tons of clothing each year, and only a small percentage of this is recycled or donated. By upcycling denim, you are helping to reduce this waste and minimize your impact on the environment.

In addition to reducing waste, upcycling denim can also help to conserve resources. Textile production requires a significant amount of energy and resources, including water, chemicals, and fossil fuels. By upcycling denim, you are reducing the need for new textile production and minimizing the use of these resources.

Finally, upcycling denim can also be a great way to save money and support local businesses. By repurposing old denim clothing, you can create unique and stylish items without having to buy new materials. And if you purchase your denim from a local thrift store or consignment shop, you are supporting small businesses and helping to keep clothing out of landfills.

Materials needed for making denim whales

To make your own denim whale, you will need the following materials:

  • Adult size pair of blue jeans. (I find a pair with a bit of stretch makes it easier to turn out)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread
  • Polyester stuffing or other filling material
  • Buttons for eyes
  • Pattern (Get yours here)

Steps to make a denim whale

1. Cut along the outside seam of each leg all the way along to be able to open up the jeans.  Fold the jeans so that the outside of the jeans are facing each other.

Lay out the pattern pieces on the jeans.  I think it’s ok if the pieces go over the Jean leg seam.  It adds a nice reference to where the material came from.  But you can make sure the piece misses the seam if you’d prefer.

Pin each piece.  Trace around them, unpin, and cut them out. Make sure there are 2x lots of fins.

Below is a picture of the cutout pieces required.

whale pattern pieces

Sew the fins and tail. 

Using a straight stitch sew around the edge of the fins and tail along where the yellow line indicates below.  The gap will give you space to turn it inside out.

 where to sew the denim whale

Snip off the points and put little cuts around the outside of the stitching in the inner curve of the whale tail, indicated by the red marks below.  This will stop it from pulling when you turn the pattern the right side out.

Use something long and thin like a chopstick to poke out the corners.

denim whale diy instructions

Sew a straight stitch around the edges as shown in the picture above.  It will keep the edges together and warp it slightly giving them a bit of shape.

Sewing the Body

The lower half of the whale is made from the inside of the original jeans.  The upper half is made from the outside of the original jeans. That gives it 2 different tones. Or you can use the same side if you’d prefer, it’s up to you.

First off, we need to add the detail to the lower body.  Fold the head end of the whale over as shown in the first picture, pin,  and stitch very close to the edge for about 10cm to create a small seam.  Do this three times.  Repeat on the other half of the lower body.

 sew the denim whale body  place the fins on denim whale

Pin the fin in place, not too far from the bottom of the stitched lines.

Make sure you have the correct top body piece so that it is the darker denim, and pin to the lower half of the body, sandwiching the fin between the 2. Start pinning from the front of the head backward and.  Sew along the line. 

Lay the 2 body sides facing each other, and be sure to tuck in the fin so it doesn’t get caught in the outer seam 

Pin the 2 sides together. Start at the nose, match up the seam between the top and bottom halves then continue on for the rest of the body.Leave a gap under the belly to turn it inside out.

Sew along the outside as shown by the yellow line.

Turn the body right side out.

Attaching the tail

Fold the edges of the point of the tail under and pin to the top of your whale tail. Sew the body to the tail.


Stuff your whale.  I use a mix of fabric scraps and wadding/pillow stuffing.

Pin the opening together and stitch closed


Pick the point you would like to place the eyes and hand sew them on.  In the spirit of recycling, I used buttons out of my button stash.

button denim whale eye

Your whale is now complete.

Tips for taking care of denim whales

To keep your denim whale looking its best, here are a few tips:

- Spot clean as needed using a damp cloth and mild detergent.

- A gentle machine wash is fine. Chances are the jeans you've just used have been through the washing machine and dryer many times, so if they were ever going to shrink, it's already happened.

Eco-conscious fashion and sustainability

Creating your own denim whale is just one way that you can incorporate eco-conscious fashion and sustainability into your life. By choosing to upcycle old clothing and materials, you are helping to reduce waste and minimize your impact on the environment. And by supporting local businesses and artisans, you are helping to build a more sustainable and resilient economy.

Other DIY projects for eco-conscious fashion enthusiasts

If you're looking for other DIY projects to try, here are a few ideas:

- Create your own denim leaf earrings with Free pattern link

- Create your own unique denim bag.

- Check out my patterns for the Denim Army, the Blue penguin, Shark and Denimsaur.

Denim whales are the perfect DIY project for eco-conscious fashion enthusiasts. By upcycling old denim clothing, you can create a unique and stylish home décor piece while reducing textile waste and minimizing your impact on the environment. Whether you're a seasoned crafter or a beginner, creating your own denim whale is a fun and satisfying way to incorporate sustainability into your life. So grab your scissors, gather your materials, and get ready to make something beautiful!


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