Old Jeans Reused – How to Make the Bag (Part 2)

Finished!The finished bag!

You can see another version here.

This is how to put the bag together.  It has one or two interesting steps that I hope you’ll find useful.

For how to make the fabric look here.

You will need lining fabric, threads and a sewing machine.

The liningI used a scrap of heavyweight dress fabric (lovely gift!).  There was enough to cut 2 pieces of lining and a handle.

Cutting the Lining1. Cut the lining pieces the same size as the bag fabric except allow about an inch extra on the length so that you can make the top border (see finished bag photo).

2. Note: I have added only one handle.  If you plan to carry anything heavy you might want to have two handles.  These instructions don’t include that.

Cut the handle about 43 inches long by 3.5 inches wide. That length allows for attaching to the bag by just over an inch.

The length works well for me but if you’re much taller or shorter than 5ft 5ins you’ll want to check whether you need to adjust it.

Lining3. Sew the lining together leaving the top open.  Zigag the seams all around to secure.


4. Making a false gusset (optional but looks nice!).

At the corner, place the side seam on top of the bottom seam.

Marking5. Making sure the seams are together, mark a line across the corner, about 1.5 – 2 inches in from the point.

Sew across the line6. Sew along the line.

Cut!7. Cut the corner off, about 0.25 inches from the seam.  Zigzag to secure the seam.

8. Repeat for the other corner.

Handle9. Turn in about 0.25 inches seam allowance along the length of the handle & sew in place.

Handle10. Fold the handle in half lengthwise & sew – I used zigzag because it’s more secure.

reinforcing the handle11. Iron the handle well. Sew along the other edge. Zigzag along the length of centre of the handle.

More zigzags12. Add more rows of zigzags.  This strengthens the handle.  I don’t usually add interfacing to handles so use stitching both to decorate and reinforce.

13. Make up the jeans fabric into a bag following steps 3 – 8 above.

14. Zigzag along the top of the bag and the lining to stop fraying.

15. Insert the lining bag into the jeans bag, wrong sides together.  The top of the lining should be showing by about an inch above the top of the jeans bag.

17116. Fold over the top of the lining twice, enclosing the top of the jeans bag.  Sew in place – I zigzagged for security.

BagAttach handleFinish the ends of the handle with a zigzag stitch and attach securely to the bag on the inside at the sides. Overlap the handle and the bag by at least an inch. I avoided sewing over the side seams because of the bulk of the fabric I would have to have sewn over.

Sew the handle in place around all of the overlap and diagonally across the middle for extra strength.

And that’s it!

finished bagFinished!


Me Made May 2012 Days 1,2 and 3

Day 1

Me mades: jeans bag, self-drafted skirt and shoes made by me at Green shoes.

There are several variations of this skirt.  I made the pattern by drawing around an old pencil skirt & adjusted it to have a button front.  I don’t know how to make a pattern from scratch.

Day 2

Scruffy jeans for mucking out with Vogue 2634 blouse.

I have to wear lots of layers with these sleeveless blouses but I don’t have any me-made long sleeved ones – I bought most of them from charity shops.

Day 3

Even scruffier jeans today with another Vogue 2634 – this one made from an old linen skirt.

I had to make a dash for my cardigan after this – I hope the weather warms up soon.  I’ll be wearing versions of these blouses every day for walking the dog and for mucking out.  I like them better than tee shirts because it’s much easier to get the inevitable stains out of the fabric.

More Self Stitched September

Some of my outfits are missing……..

I didn’t get photos every day.  There have been lots of repetitions so I haven’t included them.

The difficulty of finding new outfits to wear has inspired me to get sewing again – within the restrictions of sewing from my stash or from charity shop stuff.  So here goes.


The shirt was made from this:

I redid as few seams as possible.  I recut the sleeves & armholes, cut the cuffs in half , took off the collar, added 1960s lace to the collar & cuffs &  replaced the ordinary men’s shirt buttons with little square shell buttons. I put a horizontal pleat in the back and highlighted it with more shell buttons.  I have noticed when turning men’s shirts into women’s blouses that as soon as the front fits the back needs a tuck to stop rather unattractive fabric bulges appearing.

 The skirt is in needlecord  and made from Simplicity 3881.   

Day 18

New Look blouse.  The bag  is my own design. I based it around photos of my horse and made it mainly in tweeds & felted wool. I love that bag & it holds memories of a much loved horse.

Day 19

The blouse was my second attempt at Simplicity 2501 (first version on day 21).  I had some fitting issues with this.  You can see from the photo that they haven’t been resolved completely but I like the shape a lot.  The skirt also appears on Day 7.  I didn’t like the look of it in the photo so I have shortened it. I like it much bettter now.

Day 20

Sadly I got a big stain on this before there was a chance to take a photo, so I’ll move on to:

Day 21

The blouse is the first version of Simplicity 2501.  It’s pretty material but the fit could be better. The skirt is the same as day 19.

Self Stitched September Days 6,7,8 & 9

I realised today that I had never made my pledge for Self Stitched September, so here it is:

I, Norma promise that for the duration of September 2010 will wear a self stitched or altered piece of clothing (including bags) every day. I won’t count self stitched stuff that can’t be seen.

Day 6

No photo – I forgot.  Anyhow, it was a blouse I had worn on holiday so already seen here and on Flickr. 

Day 7

At the Weald & Downland Museum.  I’m helping to make the Ruby Anniversary Quilt – on display soon – & I’ve been involved in making patchworks to display on beds in some of the houses there.

Charity shop skirt that I dyed to make wearable & the bag – my own design.

8th September

Trousers & blouse both self stitched.

9th September

Self stitched skirt & blouse.

I am still working on the 1950s dress.  It will appear here soon, I promise.

Self Stitched September

I’ve been on holiday so my photos are a bit late and I still haven’t worked out how to add the Self Stitched September button to  this site.  I hope to do it before the month ends.  Meantime see http://sozowhatdoyouknow.blogspot.com for more details.

1st September

 Paddling at Camber Sands 

Blouse from Vogue 2634 in blue & white check cotton.  Tucks added to shape.

Skirt is New Look 6843 lengthened quite a bit in heavy ticking.

The bag is my own design made of tweed, felted wool and artificial suede.  The individual blocks were based on photographs of my horse.

2nd September Still on Holiday

Just the blouse this time.  New Look 6598.

3rd September Still on Holiday

That blouse pattern again! Blue & white spotted version of Vogue 2634.  Random patchwork bag made quite a few years ago from offcuts & the good bits of my old clothes. 

4th September About to go Home

Another version of New Look 6598.  I made savage changes to the fit of this – it was very baggy around the arm holes.

5th September In the Garden

About to take Gus for a walk.

Blue flowered version of Vogue 2634 & my dog walking bag made from the leg of an old pair of jeans – holds  treats, bags, my keys & so on.  The pockets are very useful.

I think most of my self stitched wardrobe consists of blouses & bags.  I must look for something else to wear – but the sleeveless blouses are so useful I just keep making them – especially Vogue 2634.

Bag from a sweater

The original sweater

I got this cashmere sweater from a charity shop.  It had a tiny hole in it which was easily mended,  but the colour doesn’t suit me if it gets too close to my face. I’m a bit pink already but I love this colour & wanted to do something with the lovely soft sweater. So…

I sewed up the bottom and tied the sleeves together.

The finished bag

The back of the sweater naturally falls over the front & the button is just to weight it down a bit.

Sorry about the photo background, I should have put it on something white. 

It’s a pretty & really easy bag & I’m going to make more.