An Upcycling Project for Denim Pockets

My husband wears jeans every day for work, and he goes through them at an alarming rate. Several years ago I started saving the pockets for future upcycling into fabric art. Now I have a stack of pockets waiting in search of a project.

One day a couple of months ago one of my coworkers, Mary Walter, came to our office’s weekly show-and-tell session with what she called a Patched Pocket Panel. I took one look and knew this was a project that would serve several of my creative needs: I could incorporate some of the pockets, use up some of my random fat quarters, and solve a storage problem in the mudroom all at the same time.

Here are the directions for making the Patched Pocket Panel


  • Nine 8″ x 8″ cotton fabric squares
  • ¾ yard cotton fabric for backing and hanging sleeve (if desired)
  • 9 pockets from formerly loved jeans
  • 25″ square of batting
  • Thread, denim (or size 90/14) machine needle, acrylic ruler, cutting mat, rotary cutter


Upcycling jeans pockets into a wall hanging |
One of several upcycling ideas for clothing in the
Fall 2012 issue of Stitch magazine.


1. Lay out the 9 cotton squares and place a denim pocket on each.

2. For easy placement, press each cotton square and pocket in half, lengthwise. Layer a pocket onto a cotton square, lining up the pressed folds and placing the point of the pocket ½” from the bottom edge of the cotton square.

3. Sew each pocket to a cotton square stitching on the sides and the bottom, following the double-stitched lines of the pocket.

4. Arrange the sewn pocket panels into 3 rows of 3 squares. Sew each row together alternating the direction of the pressed seams to nest the seams where the squares meet.

5. Layer the patched panel top (right side up), the backing fabric (wrong side up), and the batting (on top). Pin the layers together. Stitch the layers together using a ¼” seam allowance, leaving a 4″ opening at the bottom for turning. Trim excess batting.

6. Clip corners, turn right side out, and press. Turn in the open seam edges and slip-stitch closed.

7. Stitch in the ditch around each pocket square.

how to center the upcycled jeans pocket
How to center the pocket on
the cotton square.

If you like, you can add a hanging sleeve. Or you can just tack it up on the wall (depending on your wall and what you plant to put in the pockets, if anything).

Thus summer I’m going to use mine to organize sunglasses, camp forms, sunscreen bottles, and the like. In the fall it will house school supplies, permission slips, and the extra set of keys for our new driver (yikes!).

This is just one of several clever upcycling projects in the Fall 2012 issue of Stitch magazine. Any jeans I don’t use for the panel can be transformed into a shoulder bag, and I know my teen is going to want to make several of the zippy bracelets that are featured in this issue of Stitch.

All the patterns and instructions are included, and you can download Stitch or order the print edition from the Cloth Paper Scissors Shop.

P.S. Do you turn upcycled clothing into art or craft projects? Share your stories (and links to pictures, if you have them).


Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


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