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Cz Upcraft

By Betz White
Repurposing with denim is a natural. Who doesn’t have an extra pair of jeans lying around that are outgrown, out of fashion or worn out in some way? Put that denim to good use by making up a few Denim Do-it-All Bins. They’re great for organizing your yarn stash, magazines, or craft supplies.


(for large bin)
One pair of jeans, any adult size or large kid size
1/2 yd lining fabric – lightweight cottons*, or mid-weight twill, canvas, etc.
1/2 yd interfacing
, *needed for lighter-weight lining fabrics only
1/2 yd quilt batting
1 yd rickrack, ball fringe or other trimming
Heavy-duty sewing machine needle
for denim
Fabric marking tool
Fabric shears

Finished Measurements:
Feel free to change the dimensions to suit your needs!
Large: 10″ tall, 10″ diameter
Medium: 9″ tall, 8″ diameter
Small: 8″ tall, 6″ diameter
Note: Directions are written for the large bin, with medium and small measurements in parentheses.


Doitalldenim Step1
Step 1: Begin with a pair of legs from a pair of unwanted jeans. I used a boys size 8 that had been cut off for shorts. Both leg pieces should measure around 15″ long to make the large bin. (Both should be 14″ long for the medium bin. Only a single 12″ long leg piece is needed for the small bin.)
Doitalldenim Step2
Step 2: Examine the seams. The leg on the left shows a flat-felled seam. I like the detail of this seaming, so I want to keep it to be a part of the finished bin. The seam shown on the right is the inseam. Cut along the inseam of each leg piece to open them up flat.
Doitalldenim Step3
Step 3: Place a straight edge across the bottom of the flat leg piece, perpendicular to the seam running up the center. Mark a line just above the hem. Cut on the line to remove the hem and even out the bottom edge of the leg piece. Repeat for the second piece (for large and medium).
Doitalldenim Step4
Step 4: Using the seam as your center point, measure and mark 8″ (7″ for medium, 8″ for small) across the top on either side of center. Next, at the bottom edge, mark 7″ (6″ for medium, 7″ for small) on either side of the center. Next, using a ruler and marking tool, draw a line from the top mark to the bottom mark on each side to create a trapezoid shape. Cut on the lines. For sizes large and medium, repeat this step for the second leg piece. The total measurements for the sides of the bins are as follows:
Large: 16″ across the top, 14″ across the bottom, 14″ tall.
Medium: 14″ across the top, 12″ across the bottom, 13″ tall.
Small: 16″ across the top, 14″ across the bottom, 11″ tall.
Feel free to change the dimension to suit your needs or your scraps! These are just a guide.
Doitalldenim Step5
Step 5: Using your denim pieces as a template, cut out 2 side bin pieces of lining fabric and 2 pieces of batting (one each for size small). Interface your lining pieces if using lightweight fabrics.
Doitalldenim Step6
Step 6: For the bottom of the bin, cut a 9″ diameter circle (7″ for medium, 5.5″ for small) out of lining fabric, batting, and leftover denim. You can make a circle template by tracing a plate or using a compass. If necessary, you can seam 2 smaller scraps together to create the denim circle, as I have done.
Doitalldenim Step7
Step 7: Place your lining bin pieces right sides together, then layer the batting pieces onto the wrong sides of the lining. (The lining should be sandwiched between the batting.) Pin the angled sides together. Place the denim bin pieces right sides together and pin along the angled sides. Sew the lining/batting side seams and the denim side seams, each using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press seam allowances open. (For the small bin, fold the denim piece vertically in half, right sides together and sew side seam. Layer batting onto the wrong side of the lining piece. Fold right sides together and sew seam.)
Doitalldenim Step8
Step 8: Fold the sewn lining/batting pieces in half, aligning one side seam on top of the other. Mark the folds with a pin. Layer the bin bottom batting onto the wrong side of the bin bottom lining. Fold in half and mark with pins. Refold, aligning pins and marking the fold again.
Doitalldenim Step9
Step 9: Using the pins as an alignment guide, pin the lining/batting bottom to the sewn lining/batting pieces (this is the smaller end of the bin). Align the marking pins with the side seams and the pins placed at the folds. Continue to pin around the perimeter, evenly distributing the fabric. Sew around the perimeter with a 1/2″ seam allowance. Trim seam allowances to 1/8″. Repeat this step for the denim sides and bottom.
Doitalldenim Step10
Step 10: Pin the trim of your choice around the perimeter of the top opening of the denim bin, then sew 1/8″ from the edge.
Doitalldenim Step11
Step 11: Place the denim bin (right side out) inside the lining/batting bin (wrong side out) The lining and denim should be right sides together. Align side seams and the top edges together. Sew around the top edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving 4-5″ open for turning. Trim seam allowances to 1/8″, except for at opening.
Doitalldenim Step12
Step 12: Turn the bin right side out through the opening, working the lining down inside the denim bin. Roll the top edge between your fingers to work out the trim along the top seam. Press the seam, taking care that the iron is not set too hot for the trim you are using. Fold the seam allowances at the opening to the inside and pin. Topstitch the perimeter of the bag, sewing slowly through all layers, 1/8″ from the edge.
Doitalldenim Finished3
Roll down the top edge of the bin to make a cuff and show off the lining fabric. Fill the bin with craft supplies, small toys, or whatever things need gathering!
About the Author:
Betz White has the uncanny ability of envisioning beauty in the unexpected, something new from something old, cupcakes from sweater cuffs. She is the bestselling author of two books that encourage readers to “stitch beautifully, tread lightly”: Warm Fuzzies (North Light, 2007) and Sewing Green (STC Craft, 2009). Betz has built a career on thoughtful design, skilled craftsmanship, and a focus on materials that are kind to people and planet alike. Learn more at

53 Responses to Denim Do-it-All Bins

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  1. So cute and practical. I’ve been hoarding and stashing worn jeans for years. I made a jungle print backpack for my son with this shape. Backpack-placed straps and a flap with a loop and button finished it off. Never thought about using it for storage.

  2. sooo cute! I just cut off some jeans today (for shorts) I never throw the denim away… I’m such a hoarder that way.
    ps found you at trash to treasure decorating (Michelle)

  3. NORMITA on said:


  4. Fabulous idea, will definitely try it – for some reason my jeans are shrinking, he he

  5. Gratulálok!!!

  6. Lucille Lozier on said:

    Thanks Betz for sharring you blue jean bin. I had no trouble making it your instructions were great.

  7. This is a wonderful idea…Thank you for sharing…off to give it a try…so much stash, shouldn’t be a problem finding lining!!! :)

  8. Christi Hain on said:

    I found this on Pinterest and can’t wait to make it!! Thinking of trying it in Camo for my boys, Thanks : )

  9. WOnderful project. Also, do know the names of the circle and striped fabric you used for the linings? I really like them.


  11. Amanda on said:

    Very Cute Idea, would work great in my kids rooms.

  12. SO CUTE! I really like the circle and stripe fabric used for the lining. Anyone know what brand it is?

  13. marian on said:

    Love ‘em, going to make some for my daughters room instead of buying expensive bins

  14. marian on said:

    Love ‘em, going to make some for my daughters room instead of buying expensive bins

  15. anonimous on said:

    The sewing part is a bit difficult for biguinners.
    bye stupids guys that believe in that crazy idea!!!!
    by anonimous

  16. Love these, where did you get that fabric in the picture with the 3 bins (circles, stripes and a floral print)?? I hope to give this project a try!!!

  17. Love these, where did you get that fabric in the picture with the 3 bins (circles, stripes and a floral print)?? I hope to give this project a try!!!

  18. Michele on said:

    Great tutorial! I whipped one of these up today. Thank you so much for sharing.

  19. Melissa on said:

    I love this project! What a great way to reuse old jeans! Thanks for posting it!
    Melissa for

  20. I am quite new to sewing, so perhaps it’s me, but the maths here seems a little off. On the small bin, for example: the bottom circle is 5.5” diameter which gives a circle with a 17.2” perimeter. The two side parts sewn together are 14” less the seem allowance. I had difficulty reconciling those two numbers when sewing the two pieces together.
    Perhaps there is a technique for this that I am yet to learn, but this project is not as straightforward as it looks!

  21. Alison,

    The difference is because you don’t sew on the very edge of the circle. If you have a 1/2″ seam allowance all the way around, then the sew line is a circle 4.5″ in diameter (half an inch from the edge of each side). A 4.5″-diameter circle does have a 14″ circumference.

    Hope that helps.

    • Susan Gardner on said:

      OK, I have the same question, the circle isn’t fitting the body and by a lot!. It isn’t just a little off! 1/4 of the perimeter of the circle is just over 7″ but 1/4 of the tube is only 3.5″ I can’t fudge those together. Please tell us what we are doing wrong.

    • Susan Gardner on said:

      OK, now I see the problem. You say in the instructions to cut a circle that is 9″ in diameter but when you give your explaination of how it does fit to the other lady who had the same question, you say a 4.5″ diameter circle. Big difference! I’m just wondering how the others got this to fit.

    • Hi Abi,
      Thanks so much for replying to my comment, I tried again and it worked much better! Joining the circle to the bottom of the tube is a little tricky for novices like me, but the results are great and I don’t think it matters if you don’t do the neatest ever job. You can see my finished bin here:

  22. simplismente lindoo!

  23. Susan Gardner on said:

    I don’t understand why I need two legs to make one of these.

  24. Susan Gardner on said:

    Well, it’s me again, LOL. I think I now have yet another question/answer. You say to use two legs, but you don’t exactlly say to sew them together to get a much larger tube but if you do that the 9″ circle might just work. The single leg makes for a very tall & skinny bin that doesn’t really look like the one pictured at all. I think something is really amiss in the directions.

    • Susan Gardner on said:

      Well I guess I was having a really Duh moment (or two, LOL) yesterday. In picture 7 I thought that that was one leg folded in half, but it is two legs, one on top of the other. That should make the 9″ circles work for the bottoms. I think a picture from futher away so you could see that more clearly would have helped silly people like me! Sorry folks. I knew that if she made these, as if evident from the finished pictures, there was something I was missing!

  25. Cindy Moore on said:

    Really awesome bins! Instructions were very clear, I am going to take your idea and use it to make a denim bag, thanks!

  26. Hi Betz, I just made a denim bin using your wonderful tutorial.
    Thanks tons for sharing.

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