Sewing Jean Purses – Blue Jeans Recycling

A few years back, I became flat-out too busy to sew. Plus I never did get the hang of using a sewing machine (didn’t help my only two sewing machines are older than I am!), and my attempts at clothing weren’t so great.

But a few weeks ago I was cleaning closets and sorting clothes, when I came across an old pair of jeans I deemed my favorite ever. Sadly, they are torn to the point they just aren’t wearable anymore. I’ve never been able to find a suitable replacement for them, so for the last several years I’ve hung on to them for some unknown reason. I’m so glad I did. Since these were my favorite jeans, I decided to give them a second life by making a purse.

I made one long ago for my mom, which she used for years and got a ton of compliments on. I figured it was time to make myself one, especially since I’ve been on the hunt for a perfect purse to fit my netbook.

I started by cutting the legs off the jeans like so:

Now you can see, I don’t cut as straight as I could. The jeans were torn in weird places, too, so this was about as good as I can do.

Next, I cut a piece of fabric that will be used as the lining. Again, I did the best I could cutting it, even though the jeans were an odd shape….

The fabric my daughter found at Wal-Mart one day, with a request for a pillow, that I figured I’d get to someday. She’s a little mad I made my purse out of it first instead of her pillow, but I’ll make up for it soon (more on that project in a bit).

Very carefully I folded the edges back and pinned them to the inside of the purse. Then I sewed the fabric to the jeans by hand, followed by the edges. For a strap, I used a piece of the legs from the jeans. I still have a few embellishments left to do, but here’s the mostly finished purse…

These are so super easy, it makes me want to make more. We have no shortage of worn jeans around here what with two kids, that’s for sure, so why not make something useful with them?

This project has made me want to sew more, too, and I’ve come to realize there is nothing wrong with hand-sewing everything. It gives me a greater sense of accomplishment when I don’t use a sewing machine, and I don’t have to fight when the machine gets jammed. Also, my significant other and I have a new habit of watching instant-play TV shows on Netflix in the evening, so I’ve got the perfect time to sit and sew.

Right now I’m working on a pillow-case of sorts, made using the zipper bag a new pillow came in. Next up will be a few pillows made with regular cotton prints (including the fabric I made the purse with) and really cool fuzzy and snuggly black fabric I found at Joann’s over the weekend.

I absolutely love Joann’s, and it’s a miracle I made it out of there only spending $25. The upside was we got a yard of the expensive-ish black fabric, and a yard each of 4 cotton flannel prints for a blanket my daughter requested. That’s less per yard than we spent at Wal-Mart, and most likely better quality. Hurray Joann’s!

What projects are you working on? What else have you made with old blue jeans?

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