Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tutorial: Making a Tote Bag From Old Jeans

If you have a pair of old jeans and would like to put them to good use, follow this simple tutorial to make a cute tote bag.

I had with me a pair of over-sized jeans and, coincidentally, I was also in need of a spacious tote bag for all my school books (and I needed a bag to fit my school file and about three sets of thirty pamphlets). Thus, I set about the task of making a simple tote bag.

I chose this pair as I wanted maximum space. These are a pair of large men's jeans. Fold the jeans in half as shown in the picture below. Measuring from the bottom hem, cut the approximate depth that you want for your bag. If you want a longer tote, I suggest you cut further up the pant length.

Next, take a lining fabric (I took a pair of old pajamas), set the denim on top and cut it out. You may also use a measuring tape for all of this work but I was short on time and took rough estimates.

Now with your cutouts, open the hem from one side so that the leg folds out like so:

Do the same with the lining fabric.

For the handles, I took some scrap denim fabric, folded it lengthwise in half, then in half, again. I ironed it feverishly as I did not have a stack of pins, and sewed the open edge to secure it in place. You may take the easy way out by cutting out the leftover jeans and making a ribbon smaller in length. Since I wanted this bag to be very sturdy, I took double the length required and sewed the ribbon from the bottom of the bag to the top (underside of the jeans), both to the front panel and the back:

In the end, however, the handles were cut off and sewn on the outside of the front and back panels (sheepish grin).

Once done with that, take the lining fabric and pin it right side up on the underside of  each the jeans panel and sew it along the edges.

Then, align both the panels, with the lining facing up, and sew the bag on three sides. What I did with my bag was, in order to save time, I left the natural hem of the pant leg to become the top of the bag (less work to do that way). This way, you dont have to worry about the finishing as it has already been done for you ;)

Now, to give more dimension to the tote, sew a diagonal line at the bottom corners of the bag (as shown by the blue lines):

Cut off all the excess fabric and turn the bag inside out. Give it a nice press and this is the result:

You may decorate the bag any way you want and let your creativity flourish with this one! Don't forget to post pictures of similar projects you may have done!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Grandma's Pickle Jar Revival


Ok, so remember how in the old days, our grandmummies used to make homemade pickle and stored them in large jars such as these ones? They are still found in use by some of the street vendors we have around town. Every time I see em, I think up of all the ways they may be revived and become pieces of art!

My grandma, who greatly appreciates this passion of mine, was gracious enough to hand me these mismatched array of jars while she was spring cleaning. Presto! I had an upcycle project in my hands! My goal was simple: to re-invent these jars into showpieces, which could then be distributed as keepsakes for my aunts. Thus, I set to work on these little babies: cleaning them and decorating them. I chose for a bohemian look for these vases to keep their originality and vintage-feel, but the design elements so random that they would make a nice fit anywhere!

Here are some of the best ones:

Hope these bring some inspiration for you guys! If you have undergone a similar project, feel free to post pictures of your upcycled goodies!