DIY denim bag

Hi Creative Mamas! I hope you enjoy upcycling, recycling and re using your denim jeans because in this particular tutorial, I will show you how to make a DIY denim bag from your old jeans (with very little sewing).

This jeans bag is an ideal complement to your DIY Upcycled fashion wardrobe

diy denim bag created by using an old pair of jeans

Upcycle old jeans tutorial

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These DIY denim bags are a great way to upcycle your old pair of jeans. You can use worn out jeans, out of style jeans, new looking jeans as well as jeans from different colors. So many ideas!

This is a great DIY project and all you really need (aside of jeans) is a good sewing machine.

Materials & equipment

Even though you don’t really need a pattern to follow this tutorial you can have my most popular tote bag pattern in case you want to keep a file of it 🙂 Complete the form above

Step 1: Denim fabric

The first thing that we need to do is to cut away the pants and turn them into plain fabric pieces.

Gather your fabric scraps as well and decide what color combinations you are going for. The jelly rolls come in different colors so I have a lot of variety here but you can mix and match the fabrics that you have.

You will use these fabric scraps for the handles and for the facing.

denim and cotton fabric scraps to make a diy tote bag

To cut away the denim pants follow this sequence:

1- Cut the legs away from the top of the pants. You will end up with shorts and 2 leg pieces.

2- Lay the shorts on the cutting table and cut through the crotch as shown in photo below.

cutting  a pair of jeans

3- Cut around the pockets. you will end up with squares.

pockets from cutting  a pair of jeans

The photo below illustrates the 2 back pockets and the 2 front pockets.

4 different pockets from cutting  a pair of jeans

4- Place each leg on your cutting surface. Cut through the outside seam and open flat.

the legs of a pair of jeans
cutting away a leg from a pair of old jeans

5- Trim the denim piece so that you end with a perfect rectangle.

cutting fabric into a rectangle from cutting  a pair of jeans

6- Fold the rectangle in half. This will be the base of your bag.

making the base of the denim bag

Step 2: Sewing old jeans

Place one of the pockets on the front of the bag. Pin in place and sew around.

sewing the pocket to the bag to make a  diy tote bag project

I like to mark my sewing line to make sure that it’s a consistent measurement throughout.

Sew around.

sewing the pocket to the bag to make a  diy tote bag project

You will need to fray the edges. This is part of the look that I am going for with this bag.

fraying edges in denim

To fray the edges you can use a pin, a needle or an unpicker. Pick up one of the threads and pull.

fraying edges in denim

Now you have a pocket on the outside of the front of the bag.

pocket sewn to tote denim bag

Flip inside out and pin both sides.

sewing the tote denim bag

Sew using a regular sewing stitch. If you have an overlocker/serger you can overlock the rag edges, otherwise you can do this by using a zig zag stitch in your domestic machine.

overlocking the tote denim bag

To create a flat bottom you need to sew the corners.

Press the side seam with your hands and place it in the middle. This will look like the photo below.

sewing the flat bottoms for the denim tote bag

Sew a line from side to side. This creates that flat bottom for your bag.

sewing the flat bottoms for the denim tote bag

Step 3: Fabric scraps

The next step is to sew a facing to tidy up the inside of the denim bag.

Cut a strip of fabric that measures 3 inches in width and its a little longer that the circumference of the bag.

Pin in place along the top edge.

sewing a facing for the denim bag

Allow the strip of fabric to overlap for 1 inch.

sewing a facing for the denim bag

Sew around the top edge of the bag.

sewing a facing for the denim bag on the sewing machine

When you start sewing make sure to fold the strip of fabric to enclose the raw edge.

When you finish sewing the facing make sure that it overlaps with the folded edge so no raw edges are showing.

sewing a facing for the denim bag . finishing the seam

This is how it should look.

finished inside seam for the facing of the denim bag

Press firmly with seams facing towards the facing piece.

pressing the seam of the facing

Fold facing in itself to create a hem and pin to the inside of the bag. Sew facing to the bag.

top stitching the facing

This is how the bag should look at this stage.

finished facing for the tote bag

Step 4: Sewing bag handles

Cut 2 handles. These can be in the same denim or another fabric similar in weight. I used black canvas.

Cut 2 strips the same size as the handles using the jelly rolls or the fabric scraps. Please note that these are 1/2 inch difference in width size compared to the bag handles.

making the bag's handles

Sew them together on one side and press seams to one side.

sewing the handles

Fold them so that wrong sides are touching as shown in photo.

pressing the handles

Fold the excess seam towards the colored fabric and sew in place.

The edge of the seams will fray in time.

top stitching the bag's handles

Measure the middle of the bag and position the handles evenly.

placing the handles in the centre of the bag

Pin in place.

pinning the handles in place

Fold each edge of the handles and sew onto the denim bag. Create an 8 shape to add strength to the handles.

sewing the handles to the bag
sewing an eight shape to the handles

Step 5: Sewing the key chain

This step is optional but adding a key chain to the inside of the bag is quite handy.

Grab a tape 9 inches in length.

preparing the key ring and tape to attach to the bag

thread it through the key chain loop.

threading the tae to the key ring

Leave one edge longer than the other.

preparing the key ring and tape to attach to the bag

Fold it back to enclose the raw edge.

folding the tape

Pin it somewhere to the facing.

sewing the key ring to the bag

Try it and make sure it’s placed in a comfortable spot. Sew it using a longer stitch.

finished denim bag interior

This is how it will look once its sewn in place.

finished denim bag exterior

Finished denim bag

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial as much as I have enjoyed making it.

finished denim bag with a silk scarf in pocket

This has become a great bag for me to use and it’s super versatile!

finished denim bag placed on a  bed
finished bag and fabric belt

I also love using it with my DIY fabric belt!

a lady using the bag

Save this tutorial to your favorite Pinterest board

finished denim bag being used

Check out these other amazing DIY tote bag ideas!

You can create unique looking bags such as this drawstring bag, the DIY purse and the crossbody bag. They all come with patterns and easy to follow tutorials!

eco printed tote bags

3 thoughts on “DIY denim bag”

  1. I thought was a great idea. I sure would like to learn how to put pictures onto fabric. Has anyone made a memory bear or bunny before?


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