A very kind friend stopped by the other night to drop off some old jeans her husband didn’t want anymore.

She called first – people don’t just randomly drop garbage on my front step and hope I can create something – she asked if I wanted them.

I’ve seen so many different images of things you can do with old jeans, that I was actually excited to get the hand-me-downs to try some out.  (Thank you Shannon!)

First challenge – tote bag.

I can’t provide measurements for this project because it’s going to depend entirely on the size of the jeans you are repurposing.  In this case, I had enough material to make a tote – but if you were using women’s or kid’s jeans, it would more likely make a small purse.

Off we go….

1.  Cut the legs off.

2. We’re trying to create as close to a rectangle as we can here so we need to narrow the jeans at the hips.
Fold in half and sew down from the zipper section.

3.  Reinforce the seam by doing a zig-zag stitch so that the material won’t fray over time.
Cut on the outside (right in this photo) of the zig-zag.

4.  I didn’t take photos of this step, but you may want to sew the front pockets closed.  Totally up to you.  I chose to so that the front of the bag didn’t droop.  To do this, all you have to do is sew along the pocket seam on the outside.  No one will see your stitches and it will still look like the pockets are usable.

5.  Next, with right sides together, sew along the sides and bottom of the bag.  I went through 2 sewing needles doing this – watch for those pesky rivets!

6.  This step is optional.  If you don’t want a wider gusset (bottom) on your tote, you can totally skip this and go right to step 9.

7. If you do want a wider gusset, take the side of your tote and line up the bottom seam with the side seam.  Spread it out flat.  It should look something like this:

8. Sew a line about 2″ in from the corner point and reinforce with zig zag stitching.  Cut off the excess corner.
Repeat on the other bottom corner.

9.  Now for the handles;  take two pieces of material from the leg, approximately 3.5″ (9cm) wide.
Iron a small hem in place on each side.

10.  Fold in half – right sides out – and sew as close to the edge with the two hems as you can.

11.  Sew along the other side, again as close to the side as you were with the last one.  This is just for symmetry more than anything else.
When you’re done both pieces it should look like this:

12.  Measure in from the outside of your tote and sew the first handle bottom into place.  Follow the stitching you’ve already done so that it’s nice and clean looking.

Again – watch for rivets!

13.  Using the same handle, measure in on the other side of the front (the same distance) and repeat.

14.  Repeat on the back of the purse with the other handle.

I did attempt to do a lining on my tote, but I’m not going to show it here because it was an epic fail.
As a tote, this will work perfect without a lining – just make sure you’ve reinforced all seams with a zig-zag stitch if they’ve been cut.

Cute right?

The outside pockets are ideal for your cell phone or glasses or anything you don’t want to spend time fishing around for.

Here’s me rockin’ my Daily Glam Day 18 look and sporting my new tote!


Love this!
Thank you again Shannon.  

Have a great one!

Linked to:

Tatertots & Jello
Between Naps on the Porch