I was cleaning out my dresser drawers and found . . . old jeans! Heavyweight, too-short jeans; lightweight, too-big capris; stained, torn, dirty jeans.
So here’s what I did:
(Please forgive the terrible photography…I’m using my cell phone and I’m not awesome at photos anyway.)
It took me about three weeks; half of it was spent sewing the bag together by hand because I tend to break sewing machines and half was spent on the embroidery. If you have any skill with a sewing machine, you can probably get it sewn in a few hours.
So, how did I do it?
With sewing machine, no embroidery: 3 hours.
By hand, no embroidery: 1-5 days, depending on how motivated you are
Materials: 2 pairs of denim pants, any length
Sewing machine OR needle and thread
Ruler or tape measure
Skills needed: Basic sewing
Level of difficulty: Easy (basic bag)
1) Find old jeans. (Or new jeans, if you prefer; I made the bag to get rid of my old jeans.)
These are the ones I used:
2) Cut the legs off the jeans.
3) Split pants legs down one seam. Cutting both side seams will make it easier to hem but harder to sew together.
4) Decide how tall you’d like your bag to be.
5) Cut legs to desired length, adding 1-2 inches for hem at top of bag.
6) Hem pants to have straight edges.
Left: a single bag panel. Right: Two bag panels, sewn together.
Yes, I split both side seams. I realized later that I had created more work for myself.
5) With right sides together, sew together your bag panels on ONE SIDE ONLY. I used a blanket stitch, but now realize a running stitch would have worked much, much better.
6) Add decoration. I chose to embroider Hanlon’s Razor – “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity” – because a) I liked the quote and b) I was stupid and mixed up my water-soluble ink pen with my laundry marking pen so I was stuck using it.
7) With right sides together, sew other side of bag.
8) With right sides still together, sew bottom of bag shut
9) Add your closing and your strap. I cut the button and buttonhole off of a waistband for my closing and sewed what was left of the waistband on to opposite sides of the bag for a strap.
10) Add a lining.
11) Admire your new bag.
Easy, right? If you make one, post a link in the comments. I would LOVE to see what other people do.
- Never try to sew together eight layers of denim without a thimble.
- Always figure out the directions before you begin to do something. This bag seemed so much easier in my head than it was when I was doing it, and all of the problems would have been prevented if I had thought about what I was doing for a moment.
- Never mix up a laundry marking pen and a water-soluble pen.
- Running stitches are always the first thing to try.
- Satin stitch. This is my first attempt, and I think it came out okay.
- On the same note, never try to learn anything at the same time you’re making something for display.