Reusing old jeans pockets
Making denim bags makes us think about reusing jeans pockets quite often. The jeans pockets are a great way to decorate a handmade item and also can come quite handy if it’s purse for instance. However a lot of us are facing a problem of how to detach a pocket from a pair of old jeans and to re-attach it to a DIY project, such as a bag or a throw cushion.
I had tons of jeans came through my hands on their way to the new life and I would like to share some sewing tips and tricks based on my experience.
The options described below work best if there are no metal studs on the corners of the pockets. But because the studs are so common, in the end of this article I will describe how to work with those too.
The fastest way
This is the fastest and easiest way to detach a pocket. However, this is not the tidiest way, there is a possibility that some threads will be coming out from underneath later on.
Pin the pocket to the designated place and stitch along the original stitches with a thread colour matching the denim. This way you get to keep the original seams too!
The neatest way
This way is the neatest, but is not suitable for thick and tough denim. Sometimes there is too much bulk for your your sewing machine to manage.
Cut around the pocket leaving minimum 1cm distance all around, give it a little bit more at the top.
Cut off the corners if needed:
Fold and iron the excess at the back to make it neat at the front:
Pin onto desired place and stitch with a sewing machine, following the original seams, with a thread matching the denim. Rotate the wheel by hand at the toughest places.
If you need the pocket to be functional, not only decorational, fold the inner denim at the top line of the pocket in such manner so that it sticks out just a couple of millimetres, enabling you to stitch it on without touching the pocket:
The patient way
This way requires a lot of patience and unpicking. But it’s worth the trouble because there is no bulk or frayed edges.
Using a seam ripper carefully break and pull out the stitches:
Re-stitch the pocket to where it is meant to go. I strongly recommend to use a thick decorative thread of a contrasting colour.
If you don’t have a thick thread you can thread two thinner threads into one needle hole and this will also do a great job!
Removing the metal studs
Metal studs cause the most trouble when it comes to reusing the old jeans’ pockets on another sewing project.
If you have a metal cutters handy, you can actually remove them. It is a tough job and requires some strength, yes, recycling is not only fun but a fiddly job sometimes 🙂 Be extra careful with the pliers and take care of your eyes (make sure the stud is looking away from you) – the stud often snaps and flies away at a speed of light.
There will be hole left. To cover it up, once the pocket is sewn in place, install another stud into the place (if you have them) or cover the hole with a pretty button.
Keeping the original stud
With this approach there will be additional bulk and some trouble of sewing around it. Take a note of how the studs are positioned comparing to the very corner of a pocket:
Surely it is better to use the pocket where the stud is sitting further from the edges, so that there is still some fabric to go over with a sewing machine.
However, if you rotate the machine wheel by hand and carefully, step by step, stitch around the stud, it will work and you still will secure it in place. Especially if there is enough denim at all of the sides around the stud.
If there is absolutely no way your sewing machine is getting any job done near the stud, stitch where you can and try gluing that naughty spot or sew it into place by hand.
I hope this info was helpful. Let me know in the comments below 🙂
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