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How to Make a Bag from Old Jeans

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 25 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Bag Jeans Tote Denim Old Jeans Rug

Got a pair of old jeans that have pretty much had it or don’t quite fit anymore? Instead of throwing them out, your could turn them into a tote bag, either for yourself or to give to a friend.

This sewing project is suitable for beginners but you will need to be able to use a sewing machine – just basic seams are required.

For this project, you’ll need:

  • A pair of old jeans – it doesn’t matter if there are holes in the legs but the seat and front area need to be intact.
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • A sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk

Step one

Cut the legs of the jeans off just below the pockets and in line with the crotch. Use a measuring tape and chalk to get the line straight and even. For a change you could also cut into a ‘V’ shape for a slightly different-shaped bag.

Step two

Sew the bottom of the jeans together. Use a strong stitch to ensure the bag will hold the weight of what you put in it. You will need to use a needle which is designed for heavyweight fabrics such as denim otherwise your needle is likely to snap.Cut off any loose threads.

Step three

You can make a handle for your bag using the seamed edges from the jeans legs you cut off. Your strap sizes should be around 20 inches by 4 inches. Fold each strap in two and stitch right sides together. Then, turn the straps inside out and stitch them onto the sides of your denim bag.

You can also add embellishments and decorations to your bag such as buttons, sequins and beads. Additionally, once you get more experienced you could experiment with linings made from old fabrics. If you’re just a beginner, you could glue the lining in using an old neck scarf or fabric.

You could also add a fastening to your bag to keep it closed. Sew in a press-stud or some velcro to the inside of the bag. Alternatively make a little loop and add a button.

More uses for old jeans

Here are a few other things you could do with old jeans:

  • Try making a patchwork quilt with old jeans, using contrasting denim shades. Leaving on details like loops, buttons, zips and pockets gives a modern edge.
  • Make a protector for an ipod, mobile phone or videogame. The pockets are often the perfect size and one of these would make a great accessory for your bag made from old jeans.
  • Make a skirt or some denim shorts – denim shorts with turn-ups worn with black tights are very much in fashion at the moment.
  • Stuff the legs with old rags, sew up the ends and use the jeans as a draught excluder.
  • Tear old jeans into strips and use them to weave or crochet a rug.
  • Use old jeans pockets to make a wallhanger/room tidy for kids’ bedrooms.
  • Send them to a company which recycles jeans – there’s a UK-based one called RecycleYourJeans. They turn old jeans into supportive sandals which are approved by podiatrists.
  • Make modern-looking coasters or placemats with squares or rectangles of denim.

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