Mom and I are tackling this project together… we are definitely making this up as we go along, one idea turned into another and the final vision changed with every step we took.
Make a purse out of old jeans and scrap material using only items we have on hand – making this a completely fun and FREE Saturday afternoon project!
What we used:
- Old Jeans – Thanks Dad 🙂
- Scrap material
- Jean-a-ma-jig tool
- Large snaps
- Sewing machine
We made Dad raid his closet for old jeans because neither one of us had any that we wanted to part with – especially since we had no idea how nor if this would turn out.
Here is one pair of jeans that we are starting with – just your everyday blue jeans! If there are any large rips or tears in the upper legs (above the crotch) feel free to patch them either on the outside or use scrap material sewn on the inside so you can see the pattern of the material through the rip!
Cut the legs off.
Cut the legs off at the crotch. You are going to cut a little higher than what is shown in the photo below – make sure that bulge in the middle is gone! I had to cut higher after I took this photo:
Put the legs aside for now we will be using them for different elements of the purse along the way, but don’t put them too far as we will be coming back to them very shortly!
Sew across the bottom
You will now have what looks like a mini jean skirt to work with. Turn this inside out so right sides are together and sew along the entire bottom to close the opening. Once done, trim the corners and turn it right side out. Here is our purse base:
Cutting our straps.
You can do this however you like, long, short, medium, wide or narrow…. I did mine longer as I prefer that, Mom did hers a bit shorter as to her liking. I cheated and used my pattern piece for the strap from ‘The Perfect Messenger Bag’ because I really liked the length of the strap… however, assuming you don’t have the same pattern piece as me I would say figure out what length you want and cut that by a width of about 6”.
What to do: I cut one seam off of the leftover leg part so that I could open it up:
The pattern piece that I am using should be cut on a fold to get the length that I like but since I can’t do it that way I will cut two pieces and sew them together.
The strap will have a a seam in the middle now but that won’t bother me since we are making this from scraps it will just add character.
Making our strap.
Once you have your strap base you will then fold it right sides together and sew two of the three sides together. Sew along one shorter edge and along the larger edges leaving the second shorter edge open to turn it. This is a bit tricky to turn right side out because there isn’t a lot of room to work with and the denim is stiff. Once you get that flipped right side out you will want to sew shut the opening you left – fold in the raw edges and hand sew shut. I also pressed and topstitched mine so it would lay flat.
Sewing the strap is also where the jean-a-mig-jig tool comes in super handy.
Use this to sew over any bulk! It is super simple to use and the instructions are on the package.
A quick overview of how it works and what it does:
When you get to a bulky part that your machine can’t feed the material through on its own, lift your pressure foot with the needle down in the fabric, insert the jean-a-mig-jig tool and lower your pressure foot down on top of it, continue sewing. This tool will make your pressure foot even with the ‘bulk’ so that you can sew through it – works amazing!!!
To finish or not to finish…
Step six can either be the final step or you can do a few more cool things to really personalize your purse!
Option A: You can make this project simple and sew your strap in place and be done, or
Option B: Creating a fun lining with scrap material lying around.
We went with option B. We lucked out because I had some very large scrap pieces of fabric, however, if you don’t then just be creative and sew together a fun and funky lining with many different scraps of fabric!
How to create your lining:
Our lining pieces measured about 36” wide by 48” long. *REMEMBER* this will differ depending on the size of jeans you are working with!
We folded our lining in half so that it was 36” wide by 24” long right sides together. And placed our purse on top of it.
We used our purse as our pattern piece here and traced around it adding about 1/2” all the way around.
Once cut, sew the two sides and the bottom together then insert the lining into the purse so the wrong side of the lining is touching the wrong side of the purse.
Leave a good couple inches at the top so you can fold it down. To do this: Grab the top of the lining and fold it down towards the top of your purse so that the right side of the lining is showing. We will tack down the raw edge of the lining to the inside of the bottom of the waistband.
For a splash of colour don’t fold the lining all the way down, leave a little at the top so you can see it when the purse is closed.
We pinned along the bottom to make sure the bottom of the lining stayed lined up with the bottom of the purse while folding the lining down. Then pinned the edge of the lining to the bottom of the waistband so it could be sewn in place.
Once it is all pinned stitch along the bottom of the waistband – Do not sew over belt loops, you’ll want those open for your belt or scarf decoration. Also be sure to avoid sewing over metal zippers too – you don’t want to break your needle. Just tack down the lining where you can to keep it secure!
This is the inside of Mom’s purse once the lining was sewn in:
Sew on your strap.
You can do this any way that suits best for the way you did your project! Mom and I stuck each end on the opposite sides lining it up the best we could with the sides of the jeans between the waistband and the lining. We used a triple stitch to hold it snuggly in place.
Step Eight – OUR FINAL STEP:
It’s your purse, decorate if you want to!
We tried threading a scarf through the belt loops, using leather belts, adding dangling key chains, embroidering and adding snaps to close it. You can do whatever suits your style!
We also made matching makeup cases out of the left over lining scraps and leg scraps – to learn how make your own makeup case check out ‘Sew pretty on the go’.
The most important thing to remember is there are no rules – this is your very own creation so make it yours!
I would love to hear how it turned out for you if you make one!
PS. One of my goals for 2012 is to try incorporating video tutorials into my blog where possible. The video below was a test playing with iMovie. Here I have used photographs instead of video because that is what I had, but I am hoping to start doing video tutorials where I find video might be more useful!
I have just found out that I can’t post videos here without upgrading so check it out on my new YouTube Channel: