Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Jeans Upcycle

I am finally getting around to writing again.  The past two months have flown by and each day, I tell myself to go to the computer and post this tutorial and each day something else takes over before I can began.

This is a new version of a recycled jean's purse.  The size is approximately 16" by 21".  I've made 3 of these with different strap lengths varying from short to long (this one).  For the straps and the D-rings that attach them to the bag, please refer to my blog post on the Valentine Kiss bag that I posted back in February.

Materials needed:
Pair of jeans (you can get 2 bags from one pair)
strips of fabric various widths from 1 1/2" to 3" by width of fabric.
1/4 yard fabric for pocket inserts
Material for straps (see above)
4 D-rings (1 1/2 " to 2")
1/2 yard of fabric for lining
Piece of muslin or other plain fabric 22" by 36"
Piece of study batting 22" by 36"
Thread and other notions.

Lay muslin on cutting board and top with batting.  Cut jeans apart so that you have one back pocket and one front pocket with enough leg fabric to sew them together as shown above.  Watch out for metal studs, zipper placement, etc. because you are going to be sewing along the edges.  The pair above are about a size 14 women's jeans and had enough extra fabric to leave a good margin for the seams.  Since I did this bag, however, I have made one with a pair of children's jeans and it worked out fine.

Cut a piece of fabric that will fit behind the top of each end of the jeans to make a pocket.

I can't really give you a dimension for this, it will depend on your jeans.  Now stitch down the sides and across the bottom, just below the jean's pocket, to make a pocket behind the jean's section.

Add strips of fabric, as shown, using a "flip and sew" method.  Press each section as you go.

I used wider strips on either side.  Square this up and trim edges.

Cut a lining the exact size of this finished piece.

Sew up the sides of the bag, and square the bottom corners as shown in the Valentine Kiss bag tutorial.

Sew the sides of the lining and also square the corners.

At this point add the D-ring holders to the outside of the bag.  Then insert the lining into the bag and pin around the top.

I used a bias strip to bind the top of the bag and then added the straps.  You could also follow my instructions for lining that I used on the Valentine Kiss Bag or add pockets to the lining.

Here is the finished bag.

I've been collecting jeans recycling ideas on Pinterest.  You can view my board here.  Save all of your left-over jeans parts to use later with some of these ideas.


  1. So happy to see a post from you!!! I have meant to send a note to just check on you, sorry that I haven't done it, but I'm so happy to see you posting once again :)

  2. Thanks for sharing your process for this great bag! I had fun with your denim board too:-)