Jeans pockets

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.

Jean's pockets reusing

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 pattern for this “one pair of jeans bag” is here >>>

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.

Cut the old jeans' pocket out.
Cut around the pocket as close to the seam as possible, the further you can get under the fold – the better.
Cut inside of the pocket.
Cut out the inside of the pocket too.
Back and front of the pocket
This is how the back and the front looks like once cut.
Denim bag with pockets

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.

Old jeans' pocket for DIY project.

Cut off the corners if needed:

Cut off the corners

Fold and iron the excess at the back to make it neat at the front:

Iron the excess at the sides

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:

Stitch up the top

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:

Pick off the stitching and re-stitch the pocket

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!

Reusing old jeans' pockets

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.

Removing metal studs on jeans

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.

Removing metal studs on jeans

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:

How to sew around the metal studs.

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.

Sewing with denim. Reusing the jeans' pockets.

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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