Mar 182013
finished I have an awful lot of salvaged denim jeans that have been languishing for a long while and thought that might make for a fun project. Inspired by these  cute soft storage containers from my friend Melana’s Etsy shop , I came up with an easy plan – here’s what I gathered for the project:

  • A cut-off jeans leg
  • A scrap of colorful tie-dyed cotton (from an earlier, unfinished project)
  • A plastic cylindrical container (which is actually the inverted cover from a spindle of blank DVDs)
  • Pins, chalk, scissors, sewing machine, etc. – all my sewing stuff


I had a good few jeans legs to choose from, because I never throw away useful fabric, do I? I was lucky enough to have one that just fit nicely over the plastic container. If you don’t have a piece that “just fits” you can just narrow it a bit at one seam, or let it out with more fabric – no problem.The next step was to cut the jeans leg down to a few inches longer than the height of the container (see below). I made it a little too big, just for wiggle room. 02


Next I cut a piece of the tie-dye cotton to match the size of the denim. While the denim was already seamed on both sides, the tie-dye needed to be seamed on one side, so I actually cut it about 1/2 inch wider…


… and ran a seam, to produce 2 fabric “cylinders,” both a bit taller than the plastic container.


Next, using the bottom of the container as a template, I chalk-traced a circle and cut two matching “discs” from leftover pieces of both the denim and the tie-dye, adding a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Hint – sewing a round disc to the end of a cylinder is much easier with as small a seam as possible. 1/2 inch worked okay, but I think 1/4-3/8 inch would have been better. Lesson learned.


Below you see the pinned up tie-dye construction at left and the denim construction as it’s being seamed at right. Another hint – for a cleaner seam, keep the disc piece facing down and the cylinder piece up. This makes it easier to control little creases getting caught up in the seam.


I trimmed the seams and over-edge stitched them to limit fraying (this is a washable item, so you want to do that if you can).


10 Next I fitted the container into the finished denim cylinder and folded in the top edge of the fabric. You can see I made it a bit too tall, but not to worry.

Then I took the tie-dye cylinder, turned it inside out, and fitted it inside the container. Looking at it I decided it really was a bit too tall, so I hemmed it down about an inch…


14 … and then ran a line of decorative stitching around the top edge.

I have all these cool stitches on my Janome that I never get to use – this seemed like a good opportunity to try one. This one looks a bit like a heart monitor readout!

I fitted the tie-dye cylinder back inside the container. cuffed the top down and …




here’s the finished piece…


This took about an hour to make (and a lot longer to write about).


You can use any sort of cylindrical container to make this little basket. It’s a good way to upcycle, rather than recycle, a plastic yogurt container, paper oatmeal container, coffee can, or whatever you have on hand. The yogurt container is a little trickier because of the tapered shape, but it’s totally doable.

As I said earlier, this is washable – when it gets a bit dingy, just pull it apart and wash the two pieces with your regular laundry. Simple enough.

Melana’s denim containers are more finely made and worth the $23 – her prices are so reasonable! She used soft batting between the layers, rather than hard plastic, because hers are meant for little kiddies.  A shout-out to Melana’s fine craftsmanship – I have some cat toys she made for us (little embroidered fishies stuffed with organic catnip and crinkly cellophane) and I bought one of her soft tool kits as a baby gift for a friend’s new grandchild. DO visit her shop when you need a baby gift – her soft toys are outstanding!

I hope you’ll give this project a try and let me know how yours turns out!

Linda, in NJ

finished-anotherUpdate – 23 March 2013: I made a few more of these cute baskets – thought I’d post this one for the spring holidays. I wanted to fill it with the vegan matzoh balls I made today (which were delicious), but that just seemed wrong. It did, however, look like a good place to hide a few jelly beans.



 Posted by on 2013/03/18 crafts, DIY, sewing Tagged with: , , , , ,  3 Responses »