Saturday, June 1, 2013

Play With Your Jeans: More Denim Vessels

Dare to cut the legs off a pair of jeans, and play with the resulting tubes! To add to the denim vessels in my last post, here are some more, created (or revised) last week. These projects are fast, easy, and you can  make up the rules as you go along. I didn't use any interfacing ; a lining made from more denim, or another stiff fabric, is all they need. Hide a glass vase inside if you're going to put flowers (faux or real) in it.

For this first one, I simply cut two shallow curves on either side of a leg, leaving most of the side seams intact.
I stitched a duplicate from angel-printed denim yardage for the lining. Ovals of denim are inset into the bottom. Sturdy lining is what allows it to stand up (in a slouchy sort of way).
It's reversible: 
At the moment I'm using it to store scraps - the more I stuff in, the straighter it stands! It could also make great party centerpieces. My Local Teen took one look at it, slipped it on her hand, declared it an oven mitt, and promptly began using it as... exfoliating facial mitt!? (Hey, that could work! Normally, it sits on your kitchen table holding an exquisite dried flower arrangement, until you need to fetch something from the oven. Then, simply dump out the flowers, place it over your hand, grab hot things, put them down, and, while the mitt's still warm, vigorously rub it against your cheeks, before returning it to the table and rearranging the fallen flowers in it.)

(Cheaper than blush! Oh, and it's also collapsible. Pack it along on vacations. Place a hotel glass inside when your out-of-town admirers send bouquets to your hotel room. If that's not a practical gift, I don't know what!)

Where were we? Next: a pocket vase.

It's made from two jeans legs, cut to the same length, one leg placed inside the other. The inside leg is right side in. It's bottomless at the moment - let's call it a vase sleeve.  Slip it over a heavy glass vase. The pocket came from a different pair of jeans.

Place flora just  in the pocket,
Or in the pocket AND in the top: 

(by the way, these are lace painted flowers I made a while back for a bat mitzvah...)
Or, climbing FROM the pocket, up to the top, or vice versa...
Above are felt flowers that I didn't make.
The back:
Lee jeans should send me money, right? 
I crocheted the edging with cotton (blue) and bamboo (gold) ribbon yarn. To cut even holes for the blue yarn, I used the Edge Perfect Blade, praised in an earlier post.)

And finally, my Gaetano basket, named after genius Italian designer Gaetano Pesce. I came across his work while googling vases. He's a giant in the design world - check out his colorful jewelry. Some of his chairs look like this: 
Hmmm, all of you are quilters are musing - that's pretty darn quilty! (Ho hum, another man being called a genius for doing things that mostly women  have been doing for years. Fortunately, I'm not bitter.) (UPDATE: Pesce really is a genius. More of his amazing artwork is here!)

With Gaetano chairs dancing in my head, I cut off a large round slice from a jeans leg. Cut open one seam and laid it flat. Cut a piece of denim yardage to a little bigger, to serve as backing. Laid the backing denim flat on the table, put a piece of cotton batting on top, then drizzled polyester stuffing as evenly as possible all across the top of the batting. Put the jeans leg slice on top of the sandwich. That sucker is now very puffy. (A little too puffy. Next time I think I'd just use batting, not the stuffing).  

Machine quilted across the breadth of it. 
The horizontal lines aren't actually stitched; they're loose threads. I did a couple of zig-zag tacking stitches in one place, then lifted the presser foot, moved the piece about an inch forward, and then did another couple of tacking stitches, moved forward, and so forth. You might want to measure and mark first if you're new to machine quilting. 
I bound the top and sides, set a quilted circle of denim in the bottom, and bound the bottom edge. The top is embellished with white embroidery floss stitches and mother-of-pearl (mostly) buttons (which make everything much better.) Results:

A few hand-tacking stitches (or the addition of some buttonholes and more buttons along the edges) will make it as open or closed as you want. 
I'm using mine to store balls of yarn that I'm working with, on my coffee table. 

It's reversible, too. On the bobbin side, I used variegated thread. 
Grazie, Signore Gaetano!

Finally, I elaborated on the paisley vessel shown in the last post. I added a round of cross stitches, and finished the top edge with a cuff from the lining, held in place by french knots.
I haven't made up a tutorial for any of these yet, but will if people let me know which (from this post or the the last) that they'd like to see. Meanwhile, here are three fun and easy denim vessel tutorials from around the web: One, two, and three. Braided denim vessels, a la braided rugs, to ogle here

Denim has SO many possibilities. I want to try distressing the denim before creating the vessels. Some family, yard sale, and expensive designer jeans come with delightful worn spots and holes. And some jeans are made with interesting seams and embroideries, which would be fun to show off in a vessel. I can see them as vases, handbags, lunch bags, and - what else?  I hope this inspires you to play with your jeans! And, yes, I would LOVE to see pictures of your creations!


  1. Cathy,
    I just love these! You're so creative! And what joy & whimsy you put into the descriptions!

    1. Thanks for your support, Shellie, it means a lot to me!

  2. You gave me a great idea, I do collect jeans from my husband since he wears them out so fast. I was thinking about making a water bottle holder and this would be a perfect idea and the pocket could carry a snack bar or a phone.


    1. That IS a great idea, Debbie! You could use the seams as cording (assuming you want cording). I thought of coffee cozy/soda-beer can insulation, but not water bottles! Have fun and send me a picture when you're done. Thanks for the comment!


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