Here is the Instructable I promised while I was making my Denim Rag Quilt. It is made out of a single pair of jeans and can be completed in less than an hour. First you need to gather your materials.
You will need:
- pair of jeans (not too small or too big)
- matching thread
- sewing machine
- sharp scissors
- safety or straight pins
- appliques, fabric paint, sequins, beads, fabric trim, lace and/or other embellishments
Step 1: Note About Worn or Distressed Jeans
If the jeans you have chosen look like any of the pictures above, you may want to patch or repair these areas before proceeding. If you are patching a hole, make sure you patch it from the backside of the fabric.
Step 2: Cut Your Jeans
1.Fold your jeans in half length ways and lay them down flat, making sure all the bumps and wrinkles are pretty much smoothed out.
2. About and inch and a half below the crotch area, cut off the legs of your jeans. This is just like you are making a pair of cutoffs to wear during the summer time. Set the legs aside for use later.
Step 3: Modify the Crotch Area
1. Locate the crotch area of your jeans.Cut alongside the central seam as close to it as you can get until you are left with two flaps.
2. Overlap those flaps, with the central seam flap on top and stitch them together right along the seam line.
3. Do the same for the backside of your jeans.
4. Now smooth the front and back pieces of fabric out and trim them so they are even. You should be left with a sort of mini skirt.
Step 4: Tuck in Your Corners
1. Flip your shorts/miniskirt inside out.
2. At the bottom edge that you cut, fold the corners in on themselves, creating a sort of pocket and pin to secure.
3. Fold the entire bottom edge over one time and secure with pins.
4. If the crotch area is still a little lumpy, smooth it out as best you can and secure with more pins.
5. Go back to your corners and hand stitch them together tightly. I do this because I use an older sewing machine that doesnt handle multiple layers of denim well. If your machine is capable of sewing through 5 to 6 layers of fabric, you can skip this part.
Step 5: Stitch the Bottom of Your Bag
1. Machine stitch from one side of the bag straight through to the other side. If you have problems sewing over the crotch seams, lift your presser foot and manually crank your wheel until you get to the other side of the seam.
2. Resume machine stitching until you reach the other side of the bag.
3. Go back and restitch over your first seam for added strength.
4. Trim excess fabric from seam area, leaving about 1/2" free edge.
Step 6: A Word About Straps and Handles...
I prefer making the straps to my purses from old canvas belts, dog leashes, recycled straps, etc. I usually try to color coordinate the strap with the stitching on the jeans when I do this. However, you can make a strap out of the same fabric as your purse by using the legs that you cut off of your jeans. If you choose to do this proceed to the next step. If you prefer to use a canvas or web strap, proceed to step 8.
Step 7: Make Your Strap From Denim
1. Take one of the legs that you cut off of your shorts and turn it inside out.
2. Fold it in half and press it until you have a very sharp crease.
3. Decide how wide you want your strap and add 3/4 of an inch. Cut your folded fabric to that width along the long side.
4. Leaving a 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew your fabric from one end to the other.
5. Trim excess fabric very close to the seam.
6. Turn inside out, so the right side of the fabric is now facing outward.
7. Arrange your strap so the seam is running down the middle of the strap and press until you get very sharp creases.
Step 8: Attach Your Strap
Whether you use a denim strap that you made of some other type of strap the process for attaching it is the same.
1. Locate where you want your straps attached to the body of the bag. I usually place mine right in front of the side belt loops.
2. Turn bag inside out and pin the straps in place. Stitch across the width of the strap to secure it to the bag. I usually try to stitch on top of existing stitch lines to eliminate a cluttered look.
3. Re-stitch strap one more time for added strength. You should not skip this step.
Step 9: Make Your Bag Secure
If you wish, you can put some sort of latch on your bag to make it more secure. You may use snaps, magnets, velcro, or zippers if you are a good enough seamstress to put them in. I use a variety of these products in my bags as well as leaving some bags with no fastener at all. It is purely a matter of choice.
Step 10: Decorate Your Bag... or Not!
1. Decide if you want your bag embellished or if you want to leave it plain.
2. If you want to embellish, using sequins, beads, feathers, faux belts, appliques, etc... decide on placement of the design and secure to your bag using the manufacturers recommended method of attachment.