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Tutorial: make a pretty storage container using recycled jeans

 

Where did the week go? It’s time for our project that I created with the Husqvarna Viking Designer Topaz 50.

 

Husqvarna Viking Designer Topaz 50
Husqvarna Viking Designer Topaz 50

 

We’re going to make this cute storage container from a pair of jeans and some fabric from Northcott’s ColorWorks Concepts collection.

This sample is a prototype. As I was making the project, I was wondering if the denim from the jeans would be sturdy enough to give the basket some shape. I love using stabilizers, but I also like to experiment. And once I was finished, I realized that I should have included some form of a stabilizer. In the photos below you won’t see any stabilizer, but I’m going to let you know where and when it should be added to the project.

The size of the basket as well is up for discussion. My next one will have a bit different size and I’ll mention that in the appropriate place as well.

I love the container – it has a lot of potential for putting stuff in and I have lots of stuff that needs to be stored in a pretty container like this.

Let’s get started.

 

Storage container from denim and quilting cotton
Storage container from denim and quilting cotton

 

I started off with a pair of jeans that I purchased at the thrift shop. I picked a pair with wide legs. Now that I’ve made my prototype, I would pick a pair with the widest and straightest legs that I could find. The larger and straighter the leg, the larger the diameter of the storage container. The straighter the leg, the less you have to trim off and again that will make the container larger. Alternatively, you could cut the bag piece along the length of the leg.

Skinny jeans would yield a little container. You decide! This denim was 100% denim, no stretch in it, but I don’t think the stretch would affect the end product that much, especially if you use stabilizer.

 

Denim jeans to be recycled
Denim jeans to be recycled

 

I had a selection of cotton to choose from and it wasn’t until I was ready to cut that I picked the one with the large dots on the black background.

 

Quilting cotton for the basket lining
Quilting cotton for the basket lining

 

Using my ruler and rotary cutter, I started by cutting off the leg as high as I could cut.

 

Cut off the leg of the jeans as high as you can cut
Cut off the leg of the jeans as high as you can cut

 

I actually cut two pieces, each of them was about 13″ long. You can see how tapered the leg was and how different in size one is from the other.

 

Two pieces of the pant leg are cut
Two pieces of the pant leg are cut

 

I decided that taper was going to cause me some problems, so I cut the excess off on the tapered side and resewed the side. Now before you sew up the side, I would add some interfacing (foam, fusible fleece or heavy fusible interfacing) to the wrong side of the denim. Measure how big your piece of denim is and cut a piece of stabilizer that is the same size. Fuse the stabilizer to the wrong side of the denim. This would be tricky to do without cutting off the seam, so I recommend you open one seam on the jeans leg, add the stabilizer and then sew it up again.

I had cut the length of the leg into pieces that were 13″ long. In hindsight, this was a tad too long. I think 10″ would be sufficient unless the legs are quite wide. Otherwise, you end up with a long, narrow container.

 

The tapered edge of the denim leg is cut off
The tapered edge of the denim leg is cut off

 

I cut a piece of the cotton for the lining the same size as the denim. I’ve created two tubes – one from the denim pant leg after I removed the tapered edge and the second tube was from the cotton lining. In the photo below, you can see the two “tubes”. I pressed the seams open on both. Unless you were going to put pockets on the lining, I wouldn’t bother putting interfacing on the lining.

Remember that I didn’t interface my denim, but I would recommend it.

 

Two tubes for the container - one from denim for the outer part and the cotton lining
Two tubes for the container – one from denim for the outer part and the cotton lining

 

We’re going to make box corners for the bottom. Normally you would cut a square to make this happen. However, we’re going to lose a ¼” on the bottom in the seam allowance. Since there’s no seam on the sides, we’ll not lose a ¼” and so we have to adjust the cutout slightly from what you would normally do. Using a ruler and a marking tool, mark a shape that measures 2″ from the bottom and 1¾” in from the sides.

Use scissors to cut out the corners. Repeat for all four corners.

If you’re getting picky, yes my cutout below looks like a square. That’s because it’s a square! I cut the square, went to sew and realized – oops, I just lost the seam allowance. So do as I say, not as the picture is!

 

Using scissors, cut away the corners for the box bottom
Using scissors, cut away the corners for the box bottom

 

Place a pin at the folded edges of both the outer piece and the lining. The pins will be used to match up the sides when you sew the two pieces together.

Turn the lining right side out.

 

Place a pin at both folds of the outer piece and the lining
Place a pin at both folds of the outer piece and the lining

 

Place the lining inside the outer part with right sides together. Match up the pins – this will ensure that the bottom corner cut-outs are in the same position for the two pieces and will line up properly when the container is finished.

 

Place the lining inside the outer part (right sides together)
Place the lining inside the outer part (right sides together)

 

Sew the two pieces together around the top. I removed the extension table to sew this seam. It’s nice to have easy access to the free arm on the Designer Topaz 50.

 

Sew around the top edge of the lining and the outer part
Sew around the top edge of the lining and the outer part

 

Pull the lining from out of the outer part.

 

Pull the lining out of the outer part
Pull the lining out of the outer part

 

Sew the bottom seam of the outer piece and the lining, leaving an opening in the lining so you can turn the container inside out. Sew the bottom seam only, you’ll sew the corner cutouts in the next step.

Sew the four bottom corners by taking the side fold of the corner cut out and lining it up with the bottom seam. Stitch across the corner to create the box corner. Repeat on all four corners.

 

One box corner is stitched
One box corner is stitched

 

Leave an opening in the bottom of the lining to turn the project inside out
Leave an opening in the bottom of the lining to turn the project inside out

 

Turn the project inside out by pulling it through the opening in the bottom seam of the lining. Using the sewing machine, topstitch the opening in the lining closed.

Push the lining inside the bag and press that top edge well. I topstitched the edge, however, I didn’t want my black thread to show through the dots so my line of topstitching was down from the top to accommodate the design on the fabric.

 

Top-stitching between the rows of dots
Top-stitching between the rows of dots

 

Turn the top down to the outside to create a decorative trim and you’re finished!

 

The finished project
The finished project

 

Here’s the finished project. I tried to take pictures of the container, however, Murphy had other plans. She thought the container was for her to put sticks in. She wasn’t happy when I told her that this was NOT for her and you can see she’s sulking in the background with her stick!

The best part of this project is that it’s super easy and super fast. It’s also something that you can personalize by picking the lining fabric that is appropriate to the person you’re giving it to.

And that brings this week with the Husqvarna Viking Designer Topaz 50 to a close. I hope you had some fun and learned a tip or two this week.

Have a great day!

Ciao!

 

This is part 5 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 4: Best ever presser feet storage and presser feet review

Elaine Theriault is a teacher, writer and pattern designer who is completely obsessed with quilting. Elaine’s Tech Tips column (originally published in A Needle Pulling Thread magazine) is now available online in e-book format at QUILTsocial.com. When not quilting, she enjoys spending time with her two dogs, Lexi and Murphy, or can be found cycling across the country. Her blog is crazyquilteronabike.blogspot.com.

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