Friday, April 10, 2009
Repurposed denim jeans
Bucket bag pictured is repurposed from worn out denim jeans. Second photo shows extra strip to be sewn under butted together side seams.
Worn out denim jeans have been piling up at our house. Patches and mending can make jeans last a longer than normal life but even that comes to an end. We have used the worn out jeans for some craft projects in the past but still have piles of them.
In our search for ideas on how to make them useful again we came across a website on the internet that showed how to make bucket bags. The pattern used new fabrics but we thought worn out jeans would be just perfect for this idea.
Detailed directions are at: http://woolfoodmama.typepad.com/weblog/2007/06/my_bucket_bag_p.html. We used the dimensions given as a guideline for making our bucket but made ours a little larger.
Using the parts of the jeans that still have wear left in them we made a sample bucket bag. The lower portion of the legs worked great for the bucket sides. Further up on the back side of the legs was good for the bucket bottom. Strips for the handles came from other portions of the back legs.
First we cut the inside seams of the legs open. Laying them open flat we measured each for half the length of the bucket side and then double for the height. This way the outside leg seam is the top seam of the bucket. To avoid sewing over the thick side seams we cut one-inch wide fabric strips from another good part of the jeans, placed them under the side seams, then butt the seams together instead of overlapping them. We used a wide zigzag stitch to sew these seams together.
For decoration we sewed various widths and colors of rickrack and trims around the sides of the bucket and on the sides of the handle. The rickrack was hand sewn and the cording was sewn in the handle seams by machine.
To cover the bucket side seams we used wide bias tape sewed on with a decorative machine stitch. We also used a wide folded over trim to go around the outside bottom of the bucket instead of making the seam on the inside.
All the trims came from our stash that has grown over the years. As with all our craft supplies, we pick up trims from thrift stores, yard sales and even friends who are discarding things they no longer want.
These buckets are great to keep craft supplies in. They would also be good for children to keep toys in. If not enough drawer space is available for clothes the buckets could be used to keep socks and underwear in.
Used jean fabric can be used in many other ways. Our June 20, 2008 blog “Creative gift wrapping” shows how we used the legs from worn out jeans to make gift bags.
We would love to hear of other uses for used jeans. All ideas are welcome. Please leave comments.
Update: One of our readers called and said her mother made a quilt out of used jeans. We tried this once but about half way through we decided it was too heavy for us but not all was lost. We made it into a dog bed cover which we wrote about in our Aug. 24, 2007 blog "Dog Bed."
Another reader emailed this idea: "My favorite use for recycling jeans when my sons were young was to turn the best fabric left into bean bags. We then gave a half dozen or so to the older sibling of a new baby when we delivered a baby gift. My own boys loved trying to toss the bags into a big plastic bucket on rainy days.
Thanks for the ideas."