Jul 22, 2014

Old Blue Jeans, Part 2

I'm a somewhat frugal person. I say somewhat because I can also be quite the spendthrift in certain situations. But when it comes to old blue jeans I have difficulty throwing them away. Just the other day I found an old pair in the laundry room trash can that my daughter had tossed. What did I do? I rescued them of course, washed and dried them, and placed them in the stack of jeans. There was still quite a bit of life left in them. There is just so much possibility wrapped up in discarded blue jeans, so many possibilities to remake them into something else.

What I've done the most with old blue jeans is to make various handbags, tote bags and little zippered coin purses.  I've made a number of them over the years. I've found some great tutorials online here and here (and many more!) that I've adapted and tweaked to fit my own ideas.

In the past month I made two different bags from jeans; one is a purse and the other is a totebag. The purse is much more detailed than the totebag and took much longer to construct. This one is now my everyday purse and it was the third blue jean purse I've made. Each purse took on its own personality and all three are different from each other.

Front of purse: Pocket with flap and button closure

I used left over fabric from a dress my daughter made for herself to line the bag. The zipper also came from my daughter. She struck pay dirt when she found a bag full of zippers at a garage sale. All I had to buy new was the fabric for the pockets inside, (I wanted them to contrast with the lining fabric), and some inner facing to stiffen them. Other than that the whole purse was made with used and recycled materials.

I wanted this purse to be patchwork so I sewed strips of blue jeans together and then cut the strips again to make strips of little squares and rectangles and then sewed those strips together. I hope that makes sense.

The back of the purse had a simple pocket taken from a pair of jeans while the front pocket included a flap with a button closure. I found the button for the pocket in my button stash.

To add some pizazz and to make it easier to open and close I found a charm to add to the zipper pull. 

My very first blue jean purse was quite simple made from the legs of jeans with simple pockets on each side. I put a zipper closure on the top. 

The second purse I made was very different from this first one. I did a patchwork but I sewed the seams on top so they would ravel. Then I sewed miscellaneous buttons on it to give it some color which was very entertaining for the younger grandchildren. Several of them let me know which ones were their favorites.

The raveling did present a problem though. Some of the seams needed to be re-sewn once or twice especially near the handles. After several years of use it began to wear on the bottom and I could see the beginnings of a hole or two. I lined it with colorful fabric and added pockets inside like I did on the purse at the beginning of this post. This purse is definitely a favorite. In some ways I like it better than the newest one I just made. Maybe it's because it reminds me of comfortable old jeans!

The last project I'll mention is the totebag I just made. This one has no zippers or inside pockets, but it does have outside pockets, one on each side. I made it with strips of jeans but didn't cut them into strips with squares like the purse. I lined it with left over fabric from another of my daughter's many sewing projects and thought the Route 66 theme would be appropriate since it was used for a road trip we just took.

Projects like these are very satisfying to make. These are one of kind projects. There's not another one exactly like it anywhere. To see old discarded blue jeans transformed into a useful and necessary accessory makes me smile. 

I have some ideas for another project with jeans that will include crochet but it's not clearly worked out in my mind yet. I'm thinking a basket crocheted with strips of old blue jeans would be very useful. I'll keep you posted if and when I get around to it.

How about you? Have you recycled blue jeans? What ideas do you have for turning discarded jeans into beautiful and useful objects? The sky is the limit and I'd love to hear about your projects and ideas.


  1. Adorable... I wish I lived close to you!

  2. Same here, Silvia! In fact I just stated that fact on the AO Forum! LOL Thanks for your comments!


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