Making a denim tote is super easy, they can be customized in so many different ways. Old jeans are durable and hard-wearing. Upcycling your jeans is a good choice of har material.
I love this easy bag, it’s usually stuffed with a crochet blanket I am slowly making, ready to grab in a minute and take with me when meeting friends for a crafty evening.
You can easily jazz your denim tote up, tying a scarf through the original jeans belt loops, or adding buttons along the edge of the pockets.
If you are little intimated by bag making check out my Ebook Bag Making for Beginners
Making bags out of old jeans is always high up on my to-do list.
Personally I am rather passionate about bag making – if you are new to bag making I have the perfect Beginners Bag Making Course for you which covers so many essential skills for bag making, and includes many free bag tutorials.
How to make a denim tote – Recycled denim bags pattern
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The finished bag measures
The size of the bag was led by the jeans I had to hand and the placement of the pockets.
Start by cutting your jeans in half along the crutch line. Cut again down the inner trouser leg to create two pieces of fabric.
Measure your jeans, I find a quilters ruler extremely helpful for working out straight edges and right angles. Consider the placement of the pockets and any rivets – you do not need any rivets on your seam. Work out your bag measurements, I have chosen a height of 18″ and width of 15 1/2″ this takes in both denim pockets.
Cut out two pieces of fusible fleece the size of your bag piece.
Iron this on the back of the jeans starting fractionally below the top of the waistband. Then cut out your two denim pieces one for the front and one for the back of the bag.
Place the two denim pieces right side together. Using a denim sewing machine needle stitch the three sides of the bag with a 1/2” seam allowance. Mark a 1 1/2″ square at the bottom corner of the bag, cut the square out.
Fold the denim so the side seam meets the bottom of the bag seam. This creates a boxed corner. Pin then machine stitch to secure.
Check out my detailed instructions for boxing a corner .
DENIM BAG LINING
Cut two pieces of lining fabric the same size. Iron interfacing to the back of both pieces. For the zip pocket you need a piece of fabric 124 by 11″. For the slip pocket you need a piece of fabric measuring 7 by 13″ for the slip pocket.
If your zip is longer than 9” hand stitch over at the 9 mark, then cut to shorten.
Zigzag the edge of the fabric piece for zip pocket. Place on your lining fabric, rights sides facing each other. The top of the pocket piece is 2 1/2″ from the top of the bag, and central width wise.
Mark position of zip, using a fabric pen or Taylor’s chalk mark a rectangle for the zip, measuring by 9″ by 5/8″.
Stitch along your marked lines. Cut down the middle of the rectangle and into the corners, taking care not to cut the stitches.
Pull the zipper pocket through to the back and press. Place your zip on position and hand tack in place. Machine stitch around to secure the zip.
Turn over to the back, fold the pocket piece up so you create an envelope of fabric. Pin then machine stitch around being careful not to catch the bag lining.
Next let’s sew up a slip pocket, fold your slip pocket fabric in half, right sides matching.
Stitch two sides of the clip pocket. Trim the corners taking care not to cut the stitches. Turn right side out. Press, folding in the raw edges.
Place centrally on the second piece of lining, 4″ down from the top. Pin in place and stitch around three sides, ensure you backstitch at the top of each side of the pocket.
Lastly, before we assemble the bag lets insert a magnetic snap. Place a scrap of fusible fleece centrally on the back of the lining.
Measure to ensure accuracy and insert the magnetic snap.
Place the two lining pieces right side together.
Stitch the side and bottom seams. As you did for the outer bag box the corners.
This uses the drop-in method for lining a bag, you can read detailed instructions for turn through lining and drop in lining.
Press over the top edge of your bag and insert the lining inside the outer bag.
Pin all around.
Cutting two pieces of webbing for your handles 32″ long. I am tall so you may prefer your handles to be a little shorter. You may like to check measurements of bag handles on a bag you already have.
Measure 1 1/2″ in from the side seam of the bag and insert in-between your lining and outer bag. Repeat for the other of the webbing to create one bag handle.
Repeat again for the second bag handle. Ensure you don’t accidentally twist your webbing.
Lastly topstitch around the top of your bag, ta-dah, one finished denim tote.