sewing & needlework
quilt camp 2015 :: what I gave

quilt camp 2015 :: what I gave

how I upcycled a pair of op-shop jeans into a cute beaded craft tool apron

Ah, camp gifts. The dilemma of what to make – with a whole year to come up with an idea and get them made, of course I would leave it until the week before camp to change my mind, decide on a new project and make seven of them. Where’s the fun in a project if you aren’t madly sewing the day before to get them finished?

I had a plan. I looked up what I needed, ordered the supplies and waited for them to arrive. And waited. And waited. And then checked my emails to discover I’d never actually hit “confirm” on the damn order. Which, while frustrating, was ok, because while waiting, I’d changed my mind (as you do) while searching for an idea for the first project on Pinterest. Looking through my bags & pouches board, looking for a cute and easy zippy pouch, I instead found this pretty upcycled pouch apron. Next minute, I’m on Facebook, asking for everyone’s pants size. For some bizarre reason they seemed concerned that dodgy gifts were on the way…

tbc-8247-002Beetle and I made a trip to Vinnies, and after some searching and holding up unlabelled jeans against sized jeans and adding a bit of guess work into the mix, we had a big bag of jeans. A stop at the craft shop for beads and binding, and we were off and racing. I will pretend that my husband didn’t look at me like I was mad as I sat and chopped jeans into pouches and pockets and scraps. Once I had the first apron done, I was able to knock them out in about 20 minutes, and am chuffed with the result!


Seven pairs of jeans, thrifted = $5

Wooden beads, local craft shop = $10

Binding, local fabric shop = $11.50

Perle 8 cotton for stringing beads, stash = $0

Total cost = $26.50, or $3.78 per apron, well under the $5 spend limit.



I cut freehand across one leg, at the approximate length I wanted the finished apron. I then cut from this newly exposed edge in a curve to run up alongside the middle seam, removing the seam stitching/seam allowance.

I then cut a similar curve across and up the front, ensuring the pocket bag was out of the way and would remain covered by the fabric left behind. I cut so the fly was removed.

From there, it was time to cut away the waistband – I trimmed right close to the waistband top stitching, and also trimmed the belt loops to line up with the newly cut edge.

With the leftover excess jeans, I removed the spare back pocket. Using sharp scissors, I clipped away the jeans fabric right against the seam the inside of the pocket, and left around 1/2″ on the outside

I also trimmed out the spare front pocket, ensuring the pocket bag was included and covered by the denim.

My final cut was to trim off some of the fall-felled seams, with a good amount of seam allowance on each side of the seam line.


Firsy step was to bind the top of the front pocket I salvaged from the excess jeans. To do this, I fiddled it by hand until I worked out which side looked best as the top and the pocket side (generally I tried to keep the seam down and the fold at the top, but sometimes it worked better to have the seam at the top, depending on the way the top-stitching was done). I then used my ruler and rotary cutter to trim the excess to a 1/4″ seam allowance on the side that would be next to the pocket, and also used rular and cutter to straighten the top edge. Running a seam along the existing seam allowance of the binding worked well to make the flat-felled seams sit nicely, and then it was just a matter of flipping it right side up, folding the excess to the back and top stitching it in place – using either  a navy thread where I stitched in the ditch, or a warm brown if I was going over the top of existing stitching.

With the binding in place, I worked out where I wanted the pocket to end up, then flipped it wrong side down and stitched into place, ensuring it was far enough across that the raw edges went past the apron once it was back right side up. I also moved the pocket bag of the intact pocket out of the way to avoid it becoming segmented. This seam was then finished with top-stitching in a brown thread, and the loose edges pinned into place.

I threaded the wooden beads into perle cotton, and then machined the ends of the cotton onto the fabric remaining around the outside of the pocket. Using the same sharp scissors are before, I trimmed in right against the seams, leaving little tabs where the perle was attached. These tabs were then folded under, and the pocket pinned into place and topstitched down, using brown thread over the top of the existing top stitching.

The edges were then finished with bias binding, or in the case of my own apron, with two rows of brown topstitching and left to fray. Mainly because I’d been so busy getting everyone else’s colours right I forgot my own binding! But hopefully the fraying will look okay – I chose to not do this on everyone else’s as I have concerns how the fraying will work as the grain changes direction around the edges of the apron.


And voila, one upcycled demin apron! We did have some discussion on which was the correct way to wear them. I personally wear mine “back to front”, for two reasons. One, I find reaching across with my right hand to my left hip left awkward than hoiking up my elbow to fit back some scissors on my right hip, and two, aprons fasten at the back! Just because they used to be jeans doesn’t change the fact it’s now an apron, and therefore does up at the back *ducks for cover as the camp girls through sharp things at me*. It really was quite the camp controversy!


I have once more camp post to wrap things up next week, and then we’ll move on, I swear! I’ve got a big weekend of printing coming up – I am booked into a fete next weekend and have a big pile of Christmas cards to get printed. I also have a Halloween concert tonight I still am sewing a costume for, and a couple of flash fiction pieces to share. The snail mail newsletter went out yesterday so I will share my finished month one project next week too. I know tomorrow is the end of Blogtober, but I plan to run through to the end of next week to make up for my missed days, before reverting to my usual twice-a-week schedule. Before then, there is a weekend to enjoy with maybe some cake and definitely lots of family time. Have a fabulous weekend!

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