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A Denim Bucket


I have a thing for containers.

Mixing bowls, organizers, bags — lots and lots of tote bags (scary when you can just whip one up anytime you want!) Did I mention bowls? And platters! Oh, and baskets! It’s also hard to throw away a shoe box, and breaking down those sturdy cereal boxes from Costco for recycling can cause a twinge or two!

When these fabric basket/bucket/whatchamacallits came on the fabric scene, I held out sooooo long.

I resist pinning them on Pinterest. But then I bought a book of Zakka projects that includes some adorable linen buckets right on the cover.

A big pile of up-cyclable denim — let’s call ’em the old jeans they really are — just wouldn’t let me rest! But I really wanted to come up with a reason to actually have another container. But I couldn’t.

I told myself I have enough spare containers for whatever I need.  But this week, even with my sewing machine in the shop, I had to make one.

By hand.

I decided I would just make up my own pattern as I went along. I wanted to let the fabric and seams from the jeans leg  to provide all the structure. Therefore, I shortened it from my original cut, so it could hold itself up. That meant I had to sacrifice the hem as my bucket’s top edge :(

I got to do math — bonus :)  The circle bottom had to be just the right size. And it was.

When you are putting a circular end on a straight sided tube, the edges of the circle will ripple. But if it is designed right — and I did the math! — it is JUST the right size along the line where you stitch it together.

I also put an official French Seam around the bottom circle. Those 4 layers of fabric all folded in on themselves makes it hold its shape VERY well.

A French seam is where the cut edges of the fabric end up enclosed inside a double seam. I’m getting started on the second step in the photo above: pinning it so I can stitch. Below, you can see it stitched in blue.

If I’d used the sewing machine, I might have been already finished with my first concept of a raw edge seam around the bottom edge, before it occurred to me how easy and sturdy that French seam could be. Sometimes it’s good to slow down :) I love the look of frayed denim, but this way more stable.

If it weren’t for spending hours pulling a beefy needle with ribbon through thick denim (my finger pads are so bruised!) I would have made a few more … for something or another. That leftover piece of jeans leg with the hem on it … it is just sitting there. Waiting.

The funny thing is, I was about halfway through making this using the needles, pins, and scissors from my embroidery supplies — fishing this and that out of plastic zipper bags stuffed with short lengths of thread, needle threaders, and the stuff I already mentioned — when I decided that this little denim bucket is JUST what I needed to hold that stuff!

I threw in a line of stitching around the top edge to hold the cuff down. I love seeing both sides to a fabric! About halfway through doing that (taking a break because my fingers were totally killing me by this time) I revised that line of stitching into a drawstring of sorts.

It’s just enough of a drawstring to only occasionally be able to keep stuff from slipping out when I am on the go.

I actually used good ol’ cheap Spool o’ Ribbon in one of my favorite colors for the running stitch accents.

OK, OK, yes, it is green, but it is one of my favorite shades of green!

What do you think? More denim buckets? Or some of the other gazillion denim upcycle projects I could do?


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