Upcycled Jeans Bag

I have been saving up our old, worn out, jeans for a the last year or so and now have quite a pile to work with.  Having found a number of pins on Pinterest which have served as inspiration now is the time to make a start and actually do something with them.

The first project, is to make a couple of small bags.  To spread the love of this hobby I have taken some pics to serve as a tutorial for anyone else who might be inclined to make one!

First of all when cutting out all the pieces I decided that it would be possible to make one bag out of the front and another out of the back (seat) section of the jeans. So I cut these out (by cutting the legs off at crotch level and cutting across the middle crotch join) then I cut straps (2 for each bag, about 2″ wide) out of the full length of one of the cut off legs.  Using the main bag pieces and straps I then cut the lining fabric (in this case I used some scraps of a brown and fuchsia pink striped fabric which I had in the stash) these should be the same size and shape as the strap pieces and for the bag lining I used the main bag piece as a template and left an additional half an inch at the top to turn over as a top hem (this shows in the photo below).  Also, if you want a pocket, cut a piece sufficient to make a double-sided patch mobile phone pocket.

Cut lining to shape of bag body with extra for hem at top

Brown upcycled jeans bag cut pieces

When sewing a bag I always prepare the lining first so it is ready to pop in when the main bag pieces are done.  Decide if you want a pocket, position and sew  that in place.  For this bag I have just added a simple patch pocket, with tuck pleats at the bottom so that it opens to fit a phone.

Brown upcycled jeans bag, stitch pocket to lining

Once the pocket is positioned and sewn in place sew up the side and bottom seams of the lining.

Brown upcycled jeans bag, stitch lining seams

For the main part of the bag the first job is to sew the side seam and the bottom.  If there are any studs please be very careful to avoid them when stitching up the seams (see below, I have pinned this so that the stud is on the top and will be visible when sewing and encased in the seam.  If you are not confident about this remove any studs before sewing).

Brown upcycled jeans bag, stitch side seams

You may need to flatten out the curve of the crotch, I did this by creating a pleat, as shown below, and stitching through all thicknesses along the line of top-stitching to make the curve sit flat.Brown upcycled jeans bag neaten crotch

For this bag I also decided it looked best if the “side” seams were offset which would leave the detail (the zip and button) to one side, rather than in the centre front of the bag.  You can see the off-centre seam in the picture below.

So that the bag will “sit” I made a gusset by stitching across the two bottom corners (sewing line as shown in the image below).  If you decide to do this you will need to do the same with the lining.

Brown upcycled jeans bag sew bottom corner

Next stitch the strap and lining pieces together (right sides facing) then turn them through as shown below.  Iron and top-stitch as required.

Brown upcycled jeans bag turn through handles

To attach the straps I put the bag piece down flat and made sure that each strap was positioned an equal distance from the sides and that the two straps, front and back, would also be in line with each other.  I left enough of the strap below the top of the bag to allow for two lines of stitching (which would be “hidden” along the top-stitching of the original jeans).

Brown upcycled jeans bag attach handles

To insert the lining, fold over the hem which you left at the top and then pin the lining inside the main bag with wrong sides facing.  Sew around the top (which I did along the row of existing top-stitching) being careful not to catch the bag handles.

Brown upcycled jeans bag insert lining

To finish the bag I attached one of the fabric flowers I made and used hot glue to glue down the fly section (this is optional but I wanted this section to lay flat).  Hey-presto a finished bag.

Brown upcycled jeans bag

I still have to make the other bag, from the pants back but it will be very similar to this one.

I’ll post another pic when it’s done.

Pdf tutorial

Twisted Rose Tutorial

Thought it was time to have a go at this.

For one twisted rose you will need a piece of fabric for the rose (shaded batiks look good for this project) and backing fabric, matching cotton thread, pins, a needle, scissors and ruler. I found that a thimble was necessary because when stitching the rose you will have to stitch through quite a few layers of fabric.  (I tried without but after doing a few of these I ended up with punctured finger ends!)

To start you will need to cut out one 7 inch square of the main fabric  and  one 4 inch square of backing fabric.  I would recommend that you use cotton fabrics for both the ‘rose’ and the backing as cotton is sufficiently fine for you to be able to stitch through multiple layers and rigid so that it won’t stretch when being twisted.

Pleat and pin the main fabric on to the backing as shown in the image below (I used 3 pleats of varying size along each side).

The following two images show the back and front of the pinned fabric square

Where the main fabric is bulked up by the pleats pinch the top with your finger and thumb then twist it fairly tightly and push it down so that it looks like a rose or rosebud.

You can lift the mound up and twist again until you are happy with the appearance of the rose, then all you need to do is stitch everything in place.  A part finished rose is shown below.

To stitch the layers down I used a combination of stitches starting with a  stab stitch in the centre to hold the bud (more or less) in place.  Then ladder stitch (invisible stitch) along the edges of each of the ‘petals’ and pleats; sewing  through all thicknesses of fabric to hold the rose and pleats in place.

Nine of these twisted rose squares were used to make the Twisted Roses Bag.
Twisted roses bag

Easier than it looks – I hope!

(Hope you find the instructions clear enough as I’ve never written a tutorial like this before but wanted to share!  Let me know if anything needs more explanation.)

Ive added a pdf version of the tutorial for download if you would like to have a printed version Twisted Roses