Tutorial: Recycled Jeans Pocket Pouch!

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I have seen many pictures online of bloggers recycling clothing for various purposes.  Sweaters, socks, military attire, denim, the list goes on. So when I started noticing many online pictures and stories of recycling denim, I wanted to share a pouch I enjoy making with my denim “leftovers”. This will work with most fabrics (although I have a legit fear of knits – I cannot guide you on that one!). You can probably find many tutorials on something similar, but I wanted to share with you my process.  Please be gentle with me as this is my first tutorial I have posted EVER. 🙂  Now for the specifics:

Materials:  1 pair of denim pants (khaki’s work great too) for a total of two outside pockets

1/4 yd of fabric for pocket lining (this is optional)

scrap denim for strap ( I used a side seam, but use whatever works for you!)

Zipper (size will vary on width of pocket) I used a 9″ zipper

* I do not recommend using interfacing for this small project, but if you want to, a Pellon SF101 would be good. *

First off, you’ll need to cut off the legs of your jeans. Obviously, you have fantastically long legs so save those leftovers for another project!  Now you have some cute little cutoffs that need to be measured. I take my quilting ruler and measure 1/2″ around each side. Why? because this allows for a 1/4″ seam allowance when you sew the sides together, plus it looks nice.

So you can see I’ve used a pen to mark the 1/2″ around the each side. Do this for both pockets, then gently cut out.

This is what you’ll end up with. Now if you want to have lining, this is the point where you would take this pocket and lay it over the lining as a pattern piece. Pin the pocket to the lining, then cut out 2 pieces for the interior.

Now before we get to sewing you should have this all assembled: Zipper, strap of your choice, 2 denim pockets and 2 interior lining pieces. *** Depending on zipper size, you may want to tack off both ends about 1″ above cut mark to keep them from coming apart as you sew. You will have to do that measuring on your own **

Your first step is deciding if you want a strap and if so baste it to one of the exterior pockets as shown above. Make sure you tack it down good and at least 1 1/2″ below seam. Now on to the good stuff!

Your next step is to make the first part of the pouch. Take one denim pocket, one lining pocket and zipper and make a sandwich.  The exterior denim piece will lay on your table RS (right side) up. Next the zipper will go with teeth facing down and left (RS) to denim. Lastly the lining will go over the zipper fabric being right side down. See picture above. Pin in place, making sure all edges line up correctly. Stitch 1/4″ seam allowance. I didn’t need to use a zipper foot at this point because I’m on my industrial, but many of you may find it helpful to use your zipper foot.

Once you have stitched the first side, fold over and press seams to set the stitches and create a nice pressed edge. Once pressed, top-stitch 1/8″ for securing the stitch.

Now you will need to go back and repeat the three previous steps for the other side. Don’t get confused by the zipper, it works just the same way as it did the first time.  Once you have finished top-stitching the second part, you should have something that looks like this:

At this point (for me at least) I make a tack at each end of my zipper to secure it.  If you are doing this as well, make sure you slide the zipper pull over to the middle area so you don’t trap it closed with you stitch everything together. Believe me, it’s not fun to correct. Now to finish this baby up!

Take both denim pockets and both interior pieces and put them right sides together as shown. (Ignore my zipper- I’ll move it shortly, I promise!) The zipper will naturally bend towards the interior lining, which is what you want. Pin around all sides of pocket. At some place in the INTERIOR pocket, you are going to need to leave an approx. 2-3″ opening to turn the piece right-side out. I chose the side, but that’s up to you. Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, stitch around all sides leaving an opening.

Here you’ll see how I’ve turned it out and closed the stitch by machine on the left side. I am not a talented hand stitcher, so my machine did the trick.  Press again ( watch out for the zipper!) and ta-da!! You have a cute recycled denim pocket pouch 🙂  If you have made one, or decide to make one I’d love to see them!  Feel free to post them on my Flikr Pool :  RaspberrySunshine

So the next time you find yourself with old worn out denim jean give this tutorial a try! I live in a house full of boys, but I think they’d be perfect for a young girl to carry around town.  I didn’t embellish mine because of the funky gold swirl, but a cute ric-rac flower, buttons or piping would be a great addition, don’t you?





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  1. Cindy, your tutorial looks great, you did a great job on it, no problem following it. Look forward to seeing more tutorials from you.


  2. I love your tutorial using recycled jeans, very well explained. I just discovered your blog and love it. I added your tutorial on pinterest with my sewing pins , I hope that is correct. Thanks for sharing with us this nice tutorial, I found it through pattern pile.
    I also have a blog if you want to take a look, http://passionetcouture.blogspot.ca/

    Have a nice day!

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words 🙂 Your blog is awesome! I am now following you via Bloglovin’. And you’re right, the tea-stained lace you did turned out great!!! I have not tried tea staining before, but your lace makes me want to try. Cindy

  3. I have mentioned this tutorial on our Forum in the “Sewing Purses, Totes and Bags” Sewing channel with a link to this page, and I will post a photo when (note I say when not if) I make one up. By the way, Marisa is a fellow member of SWN – it’s a small world!

    I have also added the photo of this and several others from your Flickr Page to my Favourites there (I’m there as Aunty Stitches). Love bags!

    1. Thank you so much for the mentions Karen!! I’d love to see it when you’re done 🙂

  4. I just found this through Sew What’s New, and naturally had to come visit. I love using old jeans and other stuff to make purses and bibs and so forth. Your tutorial is easy to follow, great pictures too. Thanks so much for being willing to share!

    1. My pleasure! It’s amazing what I’ve seen done with old jeans. I have seen this great pin on Pinterest where someone takes a jeans leg and makes a sort of storage bucket with it. The lining is a nice print and it folds over the jean on the top when you’re done. Really cute!

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