Sewing bags and purses is one of my favorite types of sewing projects. Recently I made this purse using old jeans – a pair of mine, a pair of my husbands and a pair of one of my sons – to create this fun purse that has a zipper closure and is fully lined. I really like how this turned out and have been using it daily as my purse for at least a month now. This was actually a project I had started back in the fall and finally got around to finishing it. I don’t know why I waited so long as I am very pleased with how it turned out.
This purse is approximately 13 inches wide at the top, 10 inches wide at the bottom and 10 1/2 inches tall. It has a nice size outer pocket on the one side and I just did an embroidered letter for my name on the other side. The pocket is perfect for my keys or for my cellphone.
Below is the information on how I made this if you are interested in creating your own. One of the things I like about using the jeans and upcycling is that each time you make something it looks different because of using various colors and weights of denim.
Supplies for project:
- 3 pairs of jeans in different shades of denim
- cotton fabric for lining – approx. 1/2 yard
- 1 denim zipper at least 20 inches long or longer
- thread for sewing the bag and decorative thread for embroidery design and topstitching if desired
- denim sewing machine needles – size 90 or 100
- Cut 6 pieces of denim from jeans 13 inches long by 6 inches wide for outer bag (I cut 2 of these size pieces from each of the pairs of jeans)
- Cut 1 piece of denim for outer pocket 12 inches long by 6 inches wide – fold this in half to be 6 x 6 and press, topstitch the folded edge as desired
- Sew pocket to one of the denim panels using for the center by measuring 2 1/2 inches from one end and draw chalk line – place the raw edges of the pocket on this line and sew using the edge of presser foot as a seam guide – press pocket up to enclose raw edge and topstitch lower edge of pocket using a decorative thread if desired or just your regular thread
- Embroider design or monogram on other center panel if you are doing this step – use a tear away backing to ensure quality embroidery
- Sew 3 panels together along 13 inch length to create one side of bag and repeat the process to create the other side of the bag – use 1/2 inch seam. Make sure you have your pocket upright on the one center panel and catch the sides of the pocket in the stitching. After sewing the panels together press them and then go back and topstitch them on the outer right and left sides of the panel
- Cut 4 strips of denim 26 inches long by 3 inches wide – you will use 2 for the straps and 2 for the zipper casing
- Cut 2 pieces from cotton fabric for lining approx. 16 1/2 inches wide by 13 inches long or by laying your denim panels that are sewn together over the cotton fabric and cutting that size – set aside for now
- For zipper casings – fold in and press 1/2 inch on each long end of strips and 1/2 on each short end – enclose zipper in 2 casing strips using a zipper foot and sewing close to zipper teeth note – fabric is on either side of zipper tape, make sure you are catching the fabric on the lower side as you sew Set this aside for now
- For straps – fold in 1/2 inch on ends of the other 2 strips and press – fold strips in half lengthwise and stitch with a 3/8 inch seam with right sides together – turn strips right side out and press – topstitch each side of strip – set these aside for now
- Bag and Lining – Place each bag outer side right sides together with bag lining and sew around each side and top using a 1/2 inch seam allowance – leave lower portion open for turning right side out. Do this for both sides, clip corners and turn right side out and press
- Place sewn zipper casing (centering zipper casing as it will be longer than your bag sections) on top of each bag top portion with denim side facing up – topstitch down each zipper casing attaching bag to zipper casing piece
- Open zipper – do not forget to do this! – Place bag sections right sides together and sew around bag sides and bottom – zig zag or serge bottom raw edges of bag. To box corners match lower bottom seam to side seam and measure in 2 inches from corner and sew – turn bag right side out – tucking long zipper tails into bag – this makes a nice sturdy area to hold or pinch when zipping the bag open and closed
- Place straps on bag 1/2 inch from zipper casing edge and 1/2 inch from panel seam – use a narrow zig zag or bar tack type of stitch to sew down on ends of straps that are folded in 1/2 inch
That’s it – your bag is all done and ready to use. You could also choose to put pockets on the inside of the bag but I never use them since I use my purse organizer.
The fabric that I used for the lining is a fun chevron fabric that I got at Fabric.com. I also got the same fabric in a different color way and made a top from that. I think I have enough of the fabric left from my bag lining to make another top or maybe a short skirt. I am putting the link to their site if you are interested in ordering anything from them – they offer free shipping on orders over $35.00 and have really great fabrics for reasonable prices.
I am currently working on sewing some skirts and tops for spring and summer. What projects are you working on? Click on Leave a Reply and tell me about them.