Listen with Your Eyes


The blog of designer-maker Laura Thompson who specializes in fibre art, including art dolls, bowls, art journals and artful clothing.  Creativity, kindness, understanding and patience. 



Recycled Denim Bowls

I love bowls - for many reasons. They represent endless possibilities . . .  they can be filled with all sorts of wonderful stuff - the stuff of life. They're beautiful, functional and artistic all in one simple, elegant package. The bowl, in all its beautiful shapes and sizes, is universal and although it's been around for thousands of years it's still going strong today. 

For several years I've been making bowls out of fabric. Recently I've been making small(ish) bowls from denim - jeans, skirts, shirts and jackets, that would otherwise end up in the garbage. Here's what I do.


I randomly stitch scraps of denim, combining various weight and colour.  I'm particularly fond of including waistbands, flies, belt loops and other fasteners rather than using only the flat, plain smooth bits.

I make a base fabric of pieced denim that's slightly larger than the basket temple I've drafted . . .

then cut it out with a rotary cutter for crisp, clean edges. 


Iusually remove all of the pockets (yes, it's sometimes a long and tedious job) . . . 

and, apply them randomly to the outside.

I stitch the sides and base with a quarter inch seam. A denim needle is helpful because sometimes the seams are rather bulky.


Sometimes I used old shirts to  line the basket, but here I used a piece of heavy canvas. The canvas is heavy enough that I also used it as an interfacing. Pelon is another interfacing I use to give the bowl some rigidity and body without being too stiff. 

Layer the lining on top of the interfacing and trace the template with a water soluble marker.


Treating the lining and interfacing as a single unit, stitch around the outline, just inside the marking line.

Cut out the bowl following the template outline; stitch the sides and bottom of the lining together; insert the lining into the denim outer bowl; stitch the pieces together.


Here's what the finished bowl looks like. Note the row of top stitching around the upper edge.


Another time, I'll give details about these bowls, made with fabric scraps inspired by Japanese Boro fabrics.  Enjoy!