How to Make a Tote Bag from Old Jeans

How to Make a Tote Bag from Old Jeans

At Watership Down Crafts, based in the picturesque village of Kingsclere, we're passionate about sustainable living and unique handcrafted items. Have you ever considered turning an old pair of jeans into something both stylish and practical? Let us show you how to create a chic tote bag from your well-loved denim.

The Importance of Repurposing Textiles

The fashion industry is a significant contributor to landfill waste. By repurposing textiles, particularly denim, we not only help reduce waste but also support environmental sustainability. This practice is integral to our eco-friendly ethos at Watership Down Crafts, influencing our entire collection, from women’s bags to handmade cushions.

Why Choose Old Jeans for Your Tote Bag?

Denim is renowned for its durability and versatility, making it the perfect material for crafting tote bags that are not only fashionable but sturdy enough to stand the test of time. Each piece of denim carries unique finishes and washes, ensuring your handmade tote bag is truly one-of-a-kind.

Materials Needed

  • Old jeans
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine (or a strong needle and thread for hand-sewing)
  • Straight pins
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Chalk or fabric marker
  • Optional: lining fabric (such as cotton or canvas)
  • Optional: interfacing to strengthen the handles
  • Optional: decorative elements like patches, embroidery supplies, or buttons

Preparation

  1. Pre-Wash Jeans: Wash and dry the jeans to pre-shrink them before you start cutting.
  2. Iron Jeans: Smooth out any wrinkles by ironing your jeans, which ensures easier cutting and sewing.

Cutting the Fabric

  1. Remove the Legs: Lay the jeans flat on a large surface and cut both legs off right below the crotch seam. These leg portions will form the main body of your tote.
  2. Open the Legs: Cut along one of the inner leg seams to open them into flat pieces of fabric, increasing the usable area.

Forming the Bag

  1. Determine Bag Size: Measure and decide on the dimensions of your tote bag; a standard size is 15 inches wide by 16 inches tall.
  2. Cut to Size: Mark and cut the denim according to your measurements, allowing an extra 1-inch margin for seams.
  3. Shape the Bag: Use the original hem of the jeans as the top of your bag for a neat finish or create a new hem by folding the top edge over, pinning, and sewing it.

Creating the Handles

  1. Cut Handle Strips: Cut two strips from the remaining denim, each about 22 inches long and 3 inches wide. Adjust the length to suit your preference.
  2. Reinforce Handles: If using interfacing, apply it to the wrong side of each strip to add stiffness.
  3. Fold and Sew Handles: Fold the long edges to the center and again lengthwise to enclose the raw edges. Pin and sew along both long edges to form the handles.

Assembling the Bag

  1. Attach Handles: Mark where the handles will go, typically about 3 inches from the side edges, and sew them securely in place, reinforcing with a square stitch pattern and an X in the middle for extra strength.
  2. Sew the Sides: Sew the sides of the bag with right sides together, starting just below where the handles are attached.
  3. Create a Flat Bottom: For a flat base, pinch each corner of the bag bottom, align the seams to form a triangle, and sew across 2 inches from the point.

Adding Lining (Optional)

  1. Cut and Sew Lining: Cut the lining to match the bag's dimensions, sew the sides and bottom, then insert it into the bag and sew around the top edge.

Customisation

Decorate your tote with personal touches such as patches, embroidery, or decorative buttons.

Creating a tote bag from old jeans is a creative, sustainable fashion statement. At Watership Down Crafts, we celebrate the power of handmade crafts to inspire environmental stewardship and stylish living. Explore our range of products including: Handmade Cushions & Covers Handmade Tablet and Phone Sleeves or Handmade Embroidered Notebook Covers

Share your projects, and join our community committed to sustainability and creativity.

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