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

DIY bag

Having practiced techniques by making bags from other people’s patterns I decided that it was about time I tried to design one of my own.   The plan was to come up with a basic bag design which would be adaptable to suit a number of different styles and fabrics.  I have been thinking about this for ages and ages, even in my sleep (do other craft addicts do that I wonder?  I suspect you do.)

So, with a pencil in hand and paper in front of me, I was surprised how quickly I came up with an idea, by basing the pattern on a lovely leather bag which I’d had ages and ages ago I have designed what I call a bucket bag.  Digging into the fabric stash I was soon in action, making the first one.

This image shows the lining, wadding (Hobbs fusible wadding) and outer sewn together with a phone/purse pocket stitched into the lining.

And this is the body of the bag, just the strap to add now, I think I will make this one into a shoulder bag.

Picture of the finished bag to follow when I’ve added the strap.

Mum’s Twisted Roses Bag

In returning to this blog I’ve been trying to catch up with my omissions and I realized that I didn’t post any images of the Twisted Roses bag which I made for my Mum with the fabrics she chose at the Northern Needlecraft Exhibition we went to in Harrogate last September.

This is the only picture I took of this bag, which was part way through making it (and obviously Mum has the bag now) but it does give a clear view of the fabrics I used and the twisted roses on the front.

Click this link if you want to see the earlier version

Twisted rose tutorial

Finished another Japanese Shima (Stripe) Bag.

As promised earlier this is the finished bag, back and front views which show the different fabrics used for the stripes.  I love the way this bag makes up as it has two different looks depending on how the fabrics are placed.  In this one I tried to keep the lilac/pink fabrics on the front and the orange/creams on the back and I’m really pleased with the result.

I made this bag slightly shorter than the previous one,  just for a change to make them a bit different.  As a recap, for comparison, these are the two bags together.  I really love these Japanese fabrics!  A reminder of the stockists Euro Japan Links if you want any!

Taken over by the bag making bug

As a means to forget the cold bug I succumbed to my bag making compulsion and decided to make another Japanese Shima (Stripe) Bag.

This was a kit my Mum bought at the same time as me but never got round to making and (being the lovely Mum that she is) gave to me to add to the set.

The images show some different parts of the process, 1) is the drawstring pocket, and toggle/loop fastening which I have added to the basic pattern (I like a bag to fasten and to have somewhere to keep my purse).

2) and 3) show the binding to cover the side seams inside the bag.

4) shows how the base of the bag is formed by stitching across the corners, through all thicknesses and 5) how the bag stands up now that the bottom conrers have ben formed.

The final image shows how I’ve sewn the drawstring pocket into  the binding at the top of the bag.  The toggle and loop are sewn in the same way.

Another bag to add to the collection.

Photo of the finished item to follow – I will take this in daylight.

Japanese style bag

I bought a lovely book at the Northern Needlecraft Exhibition in Harrogate last year, Easy Japanese Quilt Style which one of the authors, Anne, was kind enough to sign for me.

Needless to say I also bought some fabric to make one of the bags in the book and also met a lady at the show who had already made the one which I had chosen to make, which she was using that day.  Well, seeing two versions of the finished bag (one on the stand and one in use) was more than enough to inspire me.  This is the image in the book, the bag is a really good size but I was advised to put some form of stiffener into the base, which is quite a large square, to prevent it from sagging when full of stuff (which my bag usually is!)

Some people use cardboard as a stiffener for bag bottoms but I prefer to use something which will wash so I opted for plastic canvas.  This is my finished bag and I’m absolutely delighted with it.

The design of the outer is made in a really cleaver way with patched triangles sewn in a ‘pinwheel’ then joined up diagonally (the lining is cut from one piece of fabric to match the shape).  I can’t describe it adequately here so have a look at the book, buy it and of course make one for yourself.  I only made a couple of changes, adding a pocket inside and putting the ties at the top so that the bag can be loosely fastened.  I would certainly recommend this pattern and can’t wait to make some of the others in the book now!  🙂

Twisted Roses Bag – Progress to Completion

Not quite a day or so but over the weekend I did make progress with and managed to complete the Twisted Roses Bag!

First of all the addition of strips of fabric across and down to cover and bind the raw edges of the individual rose squares (above).  I decided to machine stitch these because the numerous layers of fabric were so thick that I would have had to use a thimble for every stitch and I don’t really like having to use one – especially for that amount of work.  I decided to go with the uneven finish as I don’t think it detracts from this particular design.

Then turned inside out binding the side seams and bottom corners (above and below) using strips of lining fabric.

Almost there, this is the bag before the top has been bound and handles added.


The pattern called for plaited handles using a combination of the fabrics from the outside of the bag.  These were  machine sewn into place on to the outside of the bag and to hide the raw edges  of the handles each one was covered with two appliqué leaves which were stuffed with the same wadding as the bag (Hobbs) and stitched with stem and vein lines (pinned on to the bag above) then hand stitched in place.

ET VOILA!  The finished result – perfect for a summer wedding – I am so very happy 🙂

Twisted rose tutorial