Buzzings from a quilter who bumbles her way through life!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Upcycled Jeans Bag Tutorial

 This handy little upcycled bag is made from the leg of a pair of jeans. It can be as fancy or as plain as you want to make it. It has two compartments,a pocket on the inside and pockets on both sides of the outside, and a handy little space for a book, magazine,  newspaper or even umbrella. One compartment is open and the other is covered by a flap. You could add a closure of some sort - zipper, button, magnetic catch, etc. - if you wanted.

I'll show you exactly how I made this one, but remember that you can leave off pockets, change the flap, and of course, change colors. 

This all started when I "whipped up" a simple little bag out of a leftover leg from a pair of jeans that I was cutting up. 
Below is the original bag. I had so many comments on it, I decided you might want to know how it was done!


1. Fold up the leg of an old pair of jeans to find the approximate size of the finished bag. Cut above the folded up hem. Cut a lining the same size by placing the edge of the jeans leg along the fold of a piece of fabric and cutting around the other three edges leaving a seam allowance. (not shown) If your piece has a worn spot, plan to have it end up on the middle compartment of the bag or under a pocket.

2. Cut a flap from both lining and jeans fabric. You can make this any shape you want. The original had a rounded flap.

3. With right sides together, sew the flap around the outer three edges.
4. Turn, press, and topstitch the flap. Set aside.
5. Right sides together, sew the long edge of the lining together. Unless your jeans had straight legs, one end will be a little wider than the other. Hem the wider end of the lining 1/4".

6. Cut off the two back pockets, cutting through the fabric that it is sewn to. Leave a seam allowance at the top of the pocket. (You will have an intact pocket.) Cut just under the edge of the pocket.  If you want three pockets, you will either need to use another pair of jeans, or just construct a simple pocket to use on the inside instead of the presewn one.

7. Cut a 1 1/2" strip of the lining fabric and sew, right sides together, to the seam allowance at the top of the pocket.  Turn each edge in to give a clean folded edge. (This pocket trim is absolutely optional, but gives a nice finish to the pocket and an added bit of color to the bag.) Do this with all three of the pockets.
8. For an inside pocket, pin the pocket, right sides together, to the outside of the bag in the position you want it. It has the lining trim sewn to the top. That is what I am actually pinning to the bag.
9. Without turning lining inside out, slip it over the bag. (Be sure you have the hemmed edge at the bottom. Pin to the top, pinning over the pocket. Slip the flap in between the lining and bag on the opposite side, placing the lining side of the flap against the bag and the denim side against the lining (unless you prefer the denim side to show, in which case you would reverse this.) Sew a 1/4" seam around the top to attach the lining to the bag. (If, like me, you have had to rip out and resew your lining to the bag, you may have stretched your denim. In this case, just make a couple of small pleats at equidistant points on one side and call it a design statement!)

10. Turn inside out and tuck the lining inside the bag. Press. It should hang out at the bottom about 3/4". 
11. Turn the lining over the edge of the bag and sew it down all the way around.

12. Fold the bag in half (I have pinned on the pocket to see where I want it and to be sure it will fit.) Mark the center with pins. Sew through ALL layers straight across the center. This will divide your purse into two sections.
13. Cut a strap of denim. Make this a size comfortable for you. I am short. I have cut mine 3" wide and 24" long. (If you are taller than 5'2", you may want it a little longer than this!) Turn one long side in 1/4" and sew down.
14. Fold the raw edge in to just past the center. Fold the hemmed edge over to the center and sew down.
15. Insert the ends of the strap at the top of the bag between the two sections. Sew through all layers to secure. (This may be difficult on some machines. You may have to sew through on side only and then sew the sections together by hand at the edges. Close off the center section from the top by hand sewing the two sides together. (You don't want this open or you might accidentally drop your keys through it and they can fall to the ground without you knowing it!)
16. To add silk flowers, take the plastic stem and base off the flowers. Sew through all layers of the flower by hand, as on the extreme right. Then glue the plastic center back on using a thick craft glue. (You may need to cut any protrusions off flush so that it will glue well.) You could use buttons here in place of the plastic center. You could also leave off the flowers or use something different!
17. Turn the lining at the top of the pockets to the back, leaving about 1/4" of it showing. Sew the pockets to the front and back of the bag by hand. (It is very difficult to get it under the foot of the machine. If you are going to try, try it before sewing the lining on!)

That's it! I showed a lot of steps, but it is really a very simple project! You're basically lining the leg of the jeans, sewing across the middle, and adding a strap. The pockets, flap, and flowers are all just embellishment (well, the pockets are pretty functional - a great place for a cell phone or car keys!). I hope you'll give it a try! (And....I would love to see a picture of how yours turns out!)
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  1. Cute little bag. I would think this would be quite teenager friendly

  2. What a great idea Linda you are very clever and so kind in sharing,thankyou

  3. Great looking bag Linda. A group of ladies from my quilting guild had a mini workshop and all made bags from jeans. It's amazing the amounts of different denims and trimmings found on old jeans!

  4. I love this bag! I might have to go to the thrift store and buy a pair of jeans but I am definitely going to try this when I get home. :) blessings, marlene

  5. oh my...this is just about the most cleaver idea I have ever seen...and adorable AND functional!!

    I can not wait to try one...thanks for the good tutorial!!
    Really like the pretty yellow daisies!!

  6. Whoop whoop!!! What a great idea!! And thanks for sharing the tutorial, too - we should start seeing lots of these soon!!

  7. I've made jeans purses before but mine weren't this cute - GREAT tutorial, thank you! Would you mind if I used your pic when I link to it on my blog?

  8. That is so cute! What a great idea! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  9. Another great tutorial!! Thanks for the darling bag idea :)

  10. Thanks for sharing the tutorial. I love the bag.

  11. Clever bag and wonderful tutorial you shared. Most jeans that pass thru here now are beyond recycle, but I have been 'saving' pockets for a pocket quilt.

  12. Great idea! Thanks for the tute!

  13. Que encantan los bolsos vaqueros. Esta es una gran idea.

  14. Ingenious, Linda! And thanks for sharing. BTW, love the name of your blog.

  15. Thank you for the tutorial. I LOVE the blue and yellow combination.

  16. This is a great bag! I love the idea of using recycled denim - my husband has a stack of jeans just waiting to be cut into :-) Thank you for linking up to Toot-Torial Tuesdays at RocknQuilts!! - Mary Ann

  17. What a great bag! I have made a jeans pocket bag before, but not as cute as this one! Thanks for the tutorial!

  18. thank you for sharing this. I'm planning on making something similar soon.

  19. I pinned this and I sure hope to make this sometime. I think my kids would each like one!



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