Making bags from old jeans – This is one DIY project that appeals to those of us who hoard old jeans. There so many old jeans in my cupboard belonging to all four of us in our family- some torn in all the wrong places, some not fitting anymore in girth, some too short, some not fashionable enough. All of them waiting for some easy recycling ideas – to be made into new and beautiful denim bags.
When I thought about recycling my jeans into bags I dug into Pinterest and when I came up my head literally buzzed with so many ideas. But there is only so much time. So I decided to make only three from those ideas with two from my pile of jeans and at the end of it, there is still fabric enough to make many more jean bags. Another day another project
One advantage of a jean bag is that you do not have to care about your perfect stitching skills – the rugged look of the jeans fabric take care of all that. Then the seam stitching on the jeans is an added charm. You also get a readymade top edge if we use the hem or the waistband as the upper edge. You do not have to worry about interfacing as denim fabric is thick enough.
How to make jeans bag at home
1 A sling bag from old denim
Take your jeans and keep it folded with the zipper opening of the pant on one side. Mark a rectangle shape from the top edge – it will be slightly diagonal extending to the crotch level.
Cut it out
Keep it together right sides to the inside and stitch the sides and the bottom edges. When stitching with a home sewing machine start stitching from the belt side (thicker area) and go down – the stitching will be easier otherwise the presser foot will refuse to ride up the thicker level.
For the Strap cut out the seam of the legs of both the legs very close to the stitching
After determining that the length is alright Join together keeping one edge on top of the other and making an x stitch.
The size of the bag will depend on the size of the jeans. As I made it with kids’ old jeans this is not a big bag – just enough to carry small books and your favourite DVD. Add velcro strips to the inside of the top edge if you want closure there
Update: The seam handles do fray a lot – so if you do not like the thread-standing-on-end look, use fray check on the sides of the strap, as soon as you have cut it out. You have the option of using other easy handles like ribbon, webbing etc. Check out this post on the 18 different types of bag handles you can use
2 Old jeans bag with another fabric
You can combine upholstery material or interfaced dressmaking materials with denim from old jeans to make your bag more interesting.
Cut out the leg portion of the jeans for this and cut it open on one side seam
Open it up
Join the other fabric to the cut open edge ( the hem will be the upper edge of your bag)
Make straps from the upholstery fabric – just cut out the length you want and width you want and turn under the side edges to the inside and top stitch on either side.
You can also do some embroidery or applique on the denim at this point to match the fabric.
Cut out small hexagonal shaped denim tab pieces to cover the strap stitching. Stitch in place
If you wish to add a lining to this bag, make a smaller lining bag of the same shape, with some extra for the top edge; finish the band and hem its upper edge; You can add snaps or velcro as opening to the lining bag at this point
Keep the lining bag to the inside of the finished bag and then hand stitch the lining bag top edge to the main bag hem.
3 A simple Jean bag
To use the front portion of the jeans as it is, is a simple plan for the bag. You just need to stitch the bottom edge to make this bag. But there is a problem – the front crotch seam is curved. You will have to open it up and straighten it – but that is easy – the same way that you would do it for a jean skirt project. Infact this was a jean skirt first before it got to be a bag.
Cut out the jeans straight on the crotch level. Open up the curved seam on the front with your seam ripper.
Reposition it straight and stitch it
Side seams are already stitched for this bag but on the bottom edge you may wish to make a curved shape. Join the bottom edge and add a strap. You got your bag.
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