Absolutely riveting: re-using jeans pockets

The jacket I’m making from old jeans now has pockets unpicked off one of the original pairs.

(Are you also making a jacket from jeans? The previous posts are here and then here.)

I’ve had lots of useful advice for re-using the jeans pockets; thank you for all the ideas. The two big issues were that the pockets had rivets in the corners, and I’d cut right up to the pockets when I cut the jacket pieces out.

If I hadn’t cut the jacket out so closely to the pockets, I could have cut around them leaving a margin of fabric, then sewn them on like a giant appliqué.

I cut the pockets off the jeans leaving a margin anyway and pinned them on to see what it looked like. I liked it!

A lady at the Zero and Zen live session told me how to remove the rivets: ease a screwdriver under the rivet and lift it, then cut it off with side cutters or a similar tool. It leaves a tiny hole.

I was about to try this when Judith-in-the-comments on last week’s post suggested I unpick the pockets and cut around the rivets, then re-sew the pockets on to the jacket with topstitching thread. This sounded easier than removing the rivets, with no danger of damaging the fabric.

So I lay on my bed and had a pleasant unpicking session, discovering the pockets had bar tacks as well as rivets.

I know the rivets are decorative, but it’s a bit crazy that the jeans have rivets to reinforce the pockets when the denim is so flimsy it’s practically shirt weight – they’re putting all the strength in the wrong areas!

From then on it was no worries – I just stitched the pockets on (I’ve yet to bring the threads to the back and finish them off).

It all seems so obvious now, but I spent a week dithering!

I’ve gotten a bit further on the jacket’s sashiko stitching; I’ve finished the big block of stitching, and I’ll add some more individual motifs falling down.



  1. Judith on November 22, 2023 at 6:49 am

    I‘m so glad I could help you ☺️ The pockets look really cool and so does the jacket. It will be a work of art once it’s finished.
    It took me ages to come up with the trick you’ve used. So I feel so much better knowing that it’s not just me … sometimes I know that there is a better way of doing things, but I just need to think it through sooo long! I used the trick on a pair of my brother’s jeans which were up-cycled into jeans for my daughter. The pockets were huge (big enough to carry a book and thus read during the lunch break) and had these really cool rivets. So my daughter insisted that we should keep them… I’m so glad she did!

    • lizhaywood on November 22, 2023 at 11:34 am

      Thanks so much Judith. I was very glad to keep the rivets – I think the pockets look way better with than without.

Leave a Comment