Upcycled Jean Pockets

Upcycled Jean Pockets


I don't know about in your house, but we have a stack of old jeans with holes in odd places that are no longer wearable that I just can't throw away.   I have long held plans of making a demin quilt or even a denim ballgown that are probably unlikely to ever come to fruition, but I had another idea for the pockets, and for once, I've actually turned my idea into an actual fully completed project!


I took a pair of jeans and trimmed out a single back pocket allowing a couple of inches of extra fabric around.   A single pocket is the perfect size to fit into an 8 inch Flexi Hoop which can then be hung on the wall to create a hanging storage pocket!  Whilst this provides a practical storage solution - it's not exactly what I'd call attractive - however, if we take our paper crafting tools we can make it beautiful!   I decided to add just one massive felt flower using Altenew's Grand Anemone Die.


The die is great - it cuts layers for the flower and the leaves so you can layer it up and it looks so real, particularly in felt which adds some great depth and texture.   Now you might think that cutting an intricate die from felt is not possible - I'm hear to tell you it totally is and my project is the proof of the pudding - you just need a little trick or two ;-)


How you proceed with the cutting depends on how you want to assemble the flower.   I love embroidery so wanted to add some stitching to mine, however if you want a no-sew technique then that is totally possible too.    For no-sew you first want to back your felt with a double-sided adhesive sheet (we have several versions - StickIt, Altenew's and Lawn Fawns - all would work here).  Using a sheet glue is much easier than trying to wet glue felt - wet glue absorbs into the felt and its then very difficult to get the layers to stick together - sheet glue makes it a breeze.   The glue also helps stabilise the felt and makes it easier to cut.



If you don't want to glue the layers together, then the trick to getting a sharp clean cut, even on those super-think lines on the top layer of the die, is to just add a sheet of copy paper on top of the felt before running through the die cut machine.   So use your normal sandwich for thin dies, put the die cut side up, add the felt, add a sheet of paper, complete the sandwich and die cut.  It will cut the paper too and that helps force the die through the felt - it makes a massive difference - trust me - I've been experimenting!    For the top pink layer, I actually used stick-it as well as sewing.   I wouldn't use the other two brands of sheet glue if I wanted to sew - they're both much thicker than stick-it (so likely better for no-sew techniques) so too thick and sticky to sew through.    The stick-it in my case just kept the fiddly bits in place whilst I stitched.


For the leaves, I did two different techniques (and I skipped one layers of the die detail).  For the darker leaves I used just the glue - for the paper leaves I used no glue and just added a stitched line up the middle for added interest to hold the two layers together.   For the black centre I added a series of french knots (sorry they really don't show well on camera) to add more realism and detail to the middle.


To complete the project I worked out where I wanted the flower and then stitched the leaves in place - just using a few stitched around the base of each leaf so they're loose at the top.  I then stiched the flower in place just using a few stitches in 3 places so it's secure but not completely fixed and flat.   Be sure to keep the pocket open when sewing so you don't stitch through to the base layer and render the pocket unusuable.


If you are going for a no-sew technique - I would use a hot glue gun to add the elements to the pocket (with something plastic - like a sheet of card in a bag) in the pocket to stop the glue going through the denim)   You could use the sheet glue again but denim is tricky to get things to stick too so hot glue works best.


To tidy the excess material, I simply sewed a running stitch and then pulled it tight to gather it towards the middle using doubled thread.   If you are going for a no-sew version, trim closer to the frame and use strong double-sided (red liner) tape on the inside edge of the flexi hoop and stick it down bit by bit, folding as you go.


I might even try adding some felt flowers to some of the clothes I actually wear (no glue for those obviously or they won't be washable.


Hope that's made you look at dies, felt and "holey" jeans in a whole new light!   If you wanted more storage, you could take a whole leg, cut off pockets from other jeans and use our hanging frames to hang it from.

Happy upcycling.....



  • We'll have MFT's latest release in store on Tuesday

  • Mama Elephant's on the 15th

  • Concord and 9th's is shipping tomorrow so will be here by the end of the week customs willing.


That's all for this week

Catch you later








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