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!

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