Monday, September 8, 2008

Recycle this!

Something new from something old. A tutorial of what to do with all of those old jeans if you are sick of making handbags with back pockets on them. This is a different take on a braided basket but it is a little more sturdy and recycles!

Step One: Cut off the legs from a pair of dearly loved jeans making sure not to use the pockets or intricate top seams. Cut off the bottom hems, but don't worry about the thick side seams, they braid in well.

Step Two: Cut/Rip leg open so you have a flat pieces of material and cut/rip 1-2" strips. The ripping is easy to do because jeans are usually sewn on grain and the noise that it makes is fun!

Step Three: This is unnecessary if you love jean strip spaghetti, but it took 5 pairs of jeans to make this basket so I wound them into a ball. I did have about 1 leg of strips left over when I was done so I find the ball is easy to store in my yarn basket.

Step Four: Take three strips and whip stitch them together to hold and start braiding. If you find that you are braiding a little too loosely, stretch the braid and it will tighten it up. I added strips as I needed them but you could just make one super long braid and then coil your basket. I simply grabbed another strip and braided it in when I ran out, but you could whip stitch the ends together if you wanted. It held really well and it wasn't a lot of trouble not sewing each strip together.

Step Five: THE COILING. I started with a super tight coil in the bottom of the basket and then kept coiling around until my base was as big as I wanted it. At the start of the coil, I sewed through all of the layers with a strong needle, a thimble and a gripper. This was pretty grueling, but as I worked in the circle I simply went through one strip of the braid with thread and it was sturdy and much easier than actually poking through the layers.

Step Six: Building up the sides was easy! I was actually surprised how the curve happened itself with positioning and sewing as I went. Keep working up the sides until you are happy with how tall the basket is. You can very easily stop when you are done, but I put handles on mine...

Step 7: To make my handles I kept sewing the braid to the basket, but then left a gap about as big as my grip and sewed through all of the layers so that the handle would be really reinforced, Make each handle about the same size and about half way around the circle from each other. You know what I mean, don't put two handles right next to each other. (How would you carry that?) Anyways, I then took one more row around the top to make the grip of the handle a little bit wider and to just finish off the top.

Step 8: Finishing. I hated it but again I sewed through all of the layers of the braid to the last row with my thimble, gripper and strong needle, but spread out the strips of the braid so that it would be a tiny bit easier, but now my basket is all done!

I have to be completely honest when I say I wasn't planning on having a different color for the handles or top part but I love how the shades of the jeans did that! Stuff your basket and enjoy!!!

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