Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Half a denim handbag tute from half a denim leg

This is half a tute as it will give you a concept but won't get you all the way to the end. You can figure the rest out can't you?

But seriously, I started taking pics of the process, but they sort of petered out about halfway. When I make another, I'll finish the tute off with more details. Meanwhile, you probably CAN figure it out if you are clever or an experienced bag maker.
Last week I made a Keyka Lou curvy clutch from one of the legs of a pair of jeans my DD  butchered upcycled into a pair of shorts. One of the reasons they were trimmed was she needed something for the warmer weather. The other reason was they apparently were too "flarey". So if you have an old pair of bell-bottoms, they will work a treat for this little project.

Step one, hack the lower leg off a pair of flares or boot-legs and trim off the hem (I figured out to do this later).
Step two, cut down the sides to make a top flap for your bag. Leave enough depth for the size bag you would like to make.

Step 3, trim one side of the two flap pieces off.
Step 4, fold the flap down (I trimmed mine to make it a bit shorter to a length I liked) Then use it as a template to cut a piece of lining fabric.
Step 5, Open the flap out and use the opened shape as a template for the other lining piece.(here are the two lining pieces right sides together).
Step 6, (this is where the pics stop) With lining pieces right side together, stitch around the three sides.

Step 7, Turn your denim right sides together and stitch across the bottom to close it.

Step 8, If you wanted a flat satchel type, you could now sew the lining and denim together, but I wanted a boxier shape. You need to open out the bag so that the bottom seam and side seam are on top of each other. Then stitch across the triangle point you formed at the corner. Whatever depth you decide to sew it will depend on how wide the base of the bag will be. mine was about 8cm from the corner point. Do the same for each corner on the denim and lining.

Step 9, Make 4 short strips from the denim scraps, fold right sides together, then turn. Fold in half and slip on a D ring (or old curtain ring like I did) to attach your handle to.

Step 10, Attach the handle loops on the right side, close to the edges of the bag flap. Raw edges pointing up the same as the bags raw edges.

Step 11,  Place your denim and lining pieces right sides together matching the shape. Start in the middle of the short side, leaving a large gap in the middle to turn it all inside out. Be careful of your needle going over the bulky sides where the loops and old denim seams are!

Step 12, Trim off an bulky bits if needed and snip diagonally into the corner seam allowance where the flap and bag meet.

Step 13, Turn the denim and lining around the right way and tuck the lining inside. Press the opening seams flat.

Step14, Topstitch the opening closed and continue around the edges. I didn't go over the loops as the machine I was using did not like the concept at all. It would be good if you could for extra reinforcement. My topstitching is a bit dodgy, I was using the treadle and the old foot was slippery and the foot pressure a bit loose and would not go over bumps. Next time I will swap the foot for one that will swivel and hopefully I will get all the way around and neatly.

If you wanted to put on magnetic clasps then do it before topstitching the opening. If you want a button loop, then put the loop in at the same stage as the handle loops in the same manner. If you wanted a pocket inside, attach it to the back lining piece before sewing the lining pieces together.

Here's the (nearly) finished product! Just awaiting the handle. I am contemplating a plaited denim handle perhaps? something fairly stiff or structured. Maybe some kind of embellishment. We'll see..  I will update the tute another time but in the interest of Blogtober, I'll put this up as it is.

Hopefully those instructions made sense. Pictures would go a long way helping that out. Please do share if you manage to make one of these. Please don't copy my pictures or instructions. I am happy for you to  gift or sell as many as you can make personally.


  1. Fantastic - love denim for creating and why would you bother making a bag from anything else other than jeans!

  2. Very cute! It's a lot of work to make a tute isn't it?