I love nothing better than to declutter and going through my wardrobe to rid myself of old clothes is no exception. All the better stuff gradually makes its way to the local charity collection bin, but I've had a hankering for a while to use the perfectly good denim from old jeans for new projects.
My new bag is the lower legs and waistband of a comfortable pair of jeans that were past their use-by date. Fraying edges and not the right cut to be on trend, this was a pair that I knew I wouldn't miss and if disaster did strike and my project didn't go to plan, it wouldn't be the end of my world.
To start I cut the lower legs off the jeans approximately the length I wanted the bag to be, plus a little extra to allow for hems. To make the tubes of denim flat, I cut down the inside seam of the leg, leaving the more detailed outer seam intact so it could be a feature of the bag. I also cut the waistband off, staying very close to the outer edge of the band to keep it intact, but also not to get extra fabric from the body of the jeans to give a neat-ish edge.
For the lining, I chose a feminine cotton, a lovely contrast to the heavy duty feel and look of the denim. I marked and cut the lining around the existing denim leg pieces, allowing an extra couple of centremetres (approx 1 inch) of the lining fabric at the top edge of the denim so it could be turned over and sewn to make a neat top inner edge to the bag. As I wasn't hugely concerned about getting a neat edge to the inside seams, I simple folded over the top seam and with wrong sides facing, pinned and sewed the lining to the denim (making sure I was using a "denim" sewing needle in my machine). Then with right sides of the denim together sew around three sides of the bag leaving the top seam open.
To attach the strap, which was formally the waistband of the jeans, I used "Jean Buttons" (if it was a name it could have come straight from the servants quarters of Downton Abbey) which you can purchase from your local craft store and come complete with instructions, although minus the hammer needed to bang them into place. I decided to use the existing button hole on the strap for placement on one side and to attach the other side, I used my sewing machine and sewed in place as this edge still had the button from the waistband and I didn't want to cut it off and make extra work.
I'm really quite thrilled with the transformation of my old jeans. I love the lining and I'm undecided about adding extra embellishment to the outside of the bag, perhaps a floral flower made out of the same fabric as the lining, or even one of the pockets from the original jeans...or maybe even some fabric roses made from denim, after all, I've still got half a pair of jeans left to use up!
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