Secrets Schemes & Sewing Machines

Sewing through the Story: Jeans Bag

Grace says: This is a great way to put a worn out or ripped pair of jeans to another use. Add buttons, beads, sequins or appliqué to decorate it further!

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Katy says: Denim is a rugged, workhorse of a fabric. It’s meant to be a bit worn and shabby, not too tailored. At least, that’s what I told myself when I first made this bag. I wanted a quick, simple, hardwearing bag I could knock up before lunchtime, drop my phone, keys, purse and book into, then sling over my shoulder and head out into the summer sunshine to enjoy the day. This is what I ended up with.

When I made the bag for this blog, I unusually didn’t have any old jeans on hand. I was going to raid the charity shops (as Grace does in the book) for a pretty or patterned or embellished pair, but then I spotted a very plain, very basic pair in the Tesco sale for £3. Clearly meant to be, I decided.

One of my favourite things about this design is that it requires practically no measuring or fussing – unless you want to. You can do most things by eye, and just line them up to make sure they look right. Of course, you can also go the other way – measuring exactly, and making a beautifully tailored and embellished bag for an evening out. It all depends on your mood (and, probably, if you spent more than £3 on your jeans!). That’s the beauty and versatility of denim.

Jeans Bag


An old pair of jeans

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What to do:

Making sure the waistband of your jeans is level, cut off the legs at the very top, until you have a very short denim skirt

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Turn inside out, and pin the bottom of the skirt together. Sew along it to make the bottom of your bag (you might need to even up the inside afterwards). Remove the pins as you go.

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Use the legs of the jeans to cut out the strap – cut a long rectangle of whatever length you want, and twice the width you want your strap to be (make it at least 6cm wide or it will be hard to turn out afterwards).


Fold and press in half lengthways, right side together. Pin and sew along the longest edge, removing the pins as you go.

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Turn right side out, then fold the ends inside and sew in place for a neat finish

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Pin the straps in place at either end of your bag, sewing a rectangle with a cross in the middle for extra strength

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