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.

Corner

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!

xxx

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Old jeans Reused: How to make the bag (Part 1)

Lots of you wanted a how-to for the jeans bag, so this is it.  Part 1 is how to make the fabric.

Below is the finished bag. I bought nothing new to make it so it definitely counts as a stash bust.

Please leave a comment if you don’t understand any of the instructions and I’ll try to explain as soon as possible so that you can get started.

finished bag

Finished!Close up

To make it you will need:

The legs from a pair of jeans,

2 pieces of backing fabric eg. curtain lining – this acts as a support. It will be hidden by the bag lining.

2 pieces of coloured fabric (patterns are best but you can piece different fabrics to get a patterned effect),

fabric

a jeans or other heavy duty sewing machine needle, various threads for sewing the bag and lining and some bolder thread for the zigzags eg. quilting cotton.

2 pieces of firm fabric for the lining & an extra piece for the handle.

WARNING: DO NOT CUT YOUR FABRICS YET

The size of the fabric depends on the size of the legs of your jeans. I started with pieces approximately 16ins x 20ins. My handle was about 43 ins long and 3.5 ins wide.

Let’s start:

cutting the jeans1. Cut the legs off your jeans and cut away the side seams which are NOT topstitched.

fabric

Jeans fabric with side seams cut away. Note top stitched seam in the centre.

2. Cut the jeans fabric to bag size (see sizes above). Of course, your bag can be any size you like.

3. Cut your curtain lining and coloured fabric to the same size as the jeans fabric (see fabric requirements above).

FabricI used a piece of quilting cotton and some dressmaking leftovers from the 1990s which had to be pieced together to make the correct size.

4. Place a bag size piece of the curtain lining on the table, place the brightly coloured fabric face up on top of it, place jeans fabric on top (also face up).  You should have 3 layers.  Align the edges and tack together around the edges. This is called a sandwich!

SandwichShows all the layers of the sandwich.

The jeans fabric will not lay completely flat (because of the centre seam) but smooth it out as much as possible.

5. Using bold thread – I used leftover machine quiltiing cotton – make a line of zigzags near to the centre seam.  Try out the size of the zigzag first: mine was stitch width 4, length 2. Make another line of zigzags on the other side of the centre seam.

Zigzags6. Working from the centre outwards, make rows of zigzag stitches about half an inch apart. You don’t need to be especially accurate. You can see that my lines of zigzags wobble!

zigzagsRepeat until the sandwich is covered by rows of zigzags.

ZigzagsI needed to tidy up my sandwich afterwards as I had left the underneath showing to make this easier to follow.

7. Take out the tacking stitches.

8. Cut the jeans fabric between the rows of zigzags, making sure that you do not cut into the fabric underneath.

Cutting9. Cut back one side of the beween the rows gap almost to the stitching.  This shows more of the underneath fabric than if both edges were frayed.

Cutting between the rows10. Now the messy bit!  Fray the edge of the jeans fabric.

FrayingFrayingRepeat for the other sandwich.

Frayed!You’ve made the fabric!

I will show how I made the bag in the next post.

Happy Weekend! xxx

Old Jeans Reused

I have a real passion for reusing textiles.  I will try to mend more or less anything: it’s a mainstay of my little business and of my life generally.  Once mending isn’t practical I go on to reusing.

I buy my jeans secondhand – most of the ones I buy look almost new – and I wear them to death.  After that I try to make something else from them. I think this bag is a big success so I thought I’d share it.

Jeans bagI’ve had a request for more pictures of Gus, so here he is.

I’m displaying my new recycled jeans bag and wearing Red Herring top from car boot sale and posher than usual Per Una jeans from the St Catherine’s Hospice shop.

Jeans bag close upClose up of jeans bag

I patched fabric scraps on to a piece of curtain lining, added part of the leg of some old jeans on top, sewed lots of zigzags in lines to hold the fabric together and then cut back the denim.

I didn’t take any photos of the process, but if anyone is interested I can easily do some more and post a tutorial.  Please let me know in the comments if you would: l love the process so don’t mind having another go.

Hope you are all having a good week. My treat of the week was bright red hair – better in reality than on the photo.  I’ve been working quite hard though, so I’m planning a relaxing trip to the charity shops tomorrow.

xxx

A lot of nature and a bit of sewing

flowersGorgeous aren’t they?

We went to Down House, home of Charles Darwin this weekend.  If you are at all interested in science or nature I really recommend it. I think children would love it too: there’s lots of interactive stuff to explain the theories and the cakes in the tearoom are yummy….

The flowers were just outside his greenhouse / lab.

Darwin's greenhouseThis picture has the “bit of sewing” mentioned in the title. The top was once this dress

After alteringI altered it to this length but I still didn’t wear it; so now it’s a top and I’ve worn it a lot. I also raised the neckline a bit.  I’ve lost a tiny amount of weight and that made the dress gape a bit at the neck.

What is this?Another plant caught my eye but I don’t know what it is. It looks like it’s been painted pink and white.

It was a bit cold yesterday and I had intended to wear this:

1930s dress overdyedThis is my 1930s dress which I’ve now overdyed with Dylon’s French Lavender.  I think it will get a lot more wear now.  Somehow, the white background put me off and it’s such a shame not to wear something you’ve spent hours slaving over. The pink shoes are from Hobbs’ sale a few years ago.

I haven’t been sewing much for myself recently because my little sewing business has started to get busier nad I just haven’t had time. Plenty of plans in my head though.

More Quilting & a bit of Me Made May

I’ve been hand quilting a waistcoat for the Weald & Downland Museum & thought you might like to see it.  Baasically, it’s a 17th century bodywarmer.  The top is a fine pale green wool, there’s carded sheeps wool in the centre and a linen backing. It’s quilted with linen thread which has to be waxed.

Quilted waistcoat

This is the waistcoat quilted & ready to be made up.

Quilting 17th century styleIt took me about 15 hours to quilt.  The thick linen backing means that it’s hard to get up any speed.

I decided to show a couple of Me Made May outfits because I particularly like them.

Me Made MayI think it might be the setting like best rather than the outfit.

This is a refashioned (altered & dyed) skirt and a top made from another skirt.

Top, no pattern requiredThis is my favourite top.  I made it from a Liberty Print skirt I found in a charity shop. Those are my me made shoes too.  I’ve worn them most days this month. The trousers are Olsen from a charity shop.

Some days I’ve only got one visible me made but I always wear my me made knickers, so that’s two. (In answer to Curtise).

I’ve got a dress in progress at the moment so I will have something new to wear this month. Hooray!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

In My Wardrobe

Me-Made-May’13 is almost here and I have made a pledge to wear at least two of my “me-mades” or refashioned items everyday. It will be the 4th time I’ve joined in one of these challenges organised by Zoe. In preparation, I’ve been looking at what I’ve actually got…

Me Made WardrobeThese are my refashions and made by me clothes.  A few things are in the laundry pile.  There is also a couple of rescued jumpers I dyed, a drawer full of me-made knickers, some scarves, a few bags and a couple of longsleeved teeshirts.

Oh, and of course these…

me made shoesMy much loved shoes made on a course at Green Shoes last year.

not me madeAnd this is the heap of clothes I took out of the wardrobe to show off the me-mades. This time there might be more me-mades than bought things. Well, maybe.

It’s been my aim for years to try out making every type of garment.  My bra making didn’t work and my knitting is appalling – likely to grow as soon as washed.

Fairisle jumperI knitted this much loved fairisle jumper, but it grew big enough to fit a large man: and I couldn’t find one who wanted to wear a turquoise and mustard jumper.

So when I tried knitting socks, it only ended well because my lovely friend eventually took them away and did them for me.  I do mend them though.

Darned socksAnd jeans: I don’t make them but I wear them.  I know lots of you wouldn’t wear them and I can see why, but I do for part of almost every day.  I walk the dog, dig the allotment, muck out and ride in them.  I do try to add a homemade or refashioned top to go with them.

I used to buy new jeans but the manager of one of the local charity shops told me that most jeans end up going for rags because unless more or less perfect, they were very hard to sell. Since then I’ve been hunting out second hand and shortening them where necessary. I don’t need perfection.

So that’s my me-made wardrobe.  I won’t be doing outfit posts unless I’ve something new to show, but I’ll put a link to Flickr where you will be able to see my clothes and those of lots of others who’ll be joining in the challenge.

And here’s my pledge  “I, Norma, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May’13. I endeavour to wear at least 2 me-made or refashioned items each day for the duration of May 2013.”

PS. Thank you for your lovely comments on my refashioned blouse. I really appreciate them.

Refashioning a Shirt

Remember this?

Shirt - beforeIt’s a shirt I bought in a charity shop because the linen was good quality. My aim was to turn it into something I could wear day to day.

Shirt - afterFront view

Shirt - afterBack view – I particularly like the back

I hung it on a door so that I could gradually work out what to do with it. It was a bit of a puzzle.

Below are the stages I went through to do it.  Obviously, the shirt might not be to your taste but the principles apply to remaking any large boxy shirt into something wearable.

Cut off the collarCut off the collar.  I wanted the shirt to have a Nehru collar so I used the collar stand.  It would fray left like this so I needed to bind it.  I chose linen left over from making a dress.

Making bias bindingAdd bias bindingAMake and add bias binding.

Cut to lengthHem

Cut to length & hem

New buttons

Remove old & add new buttons. Make extra buttonholes. The shirt just had too few buttons to hold together properly.

Back tabBack tabShape the back with tucks & cover with a tab made from left over fabric. Add buttons.

Making tabs

Make tabs to shape the front. Tabs are at the waist for both back & front.

Cut sleeves Bind sleeves

Decide on sleeve length. Cut, finish raw edge and bind sleeve.

And that’s it!

Shirt - after