Upcycle Jeans Bag for Tweens to Sew

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We love it when Red Ted Art readers share their crafts! Today, we have a fantastic old jeans project to make with your tween or teen – sew an upcycled jeans bag/ tote bag! This craft was shared by the wonderful Dawn D and her 11yrs old daughter. Let’s make this DIY Cute Denim Bags together this summer!

jeans to bag image
You could always add some applique or embroidery to any holes!

Such a cute shoulder bag, don’t you think? Not only is this a great way to recycle old denim jeans/ shorts or denim skirt, but I love how Dawn and her daughter combined it with using an old outgrown dress too. This allows you to access some really pretty patterns, whilst also make it into a bit of a keepsake project!

Supplies needed to make a denim bag from old Jeans:

This is a fantastic upcycled craft to give old clothes a new lease of life and a great way to teach young people about the importance of “reduce, reuse and recycle”! This would in fact be the “reusing stage”. Be sure to either keep any off cuts for future projects or donate/ recycle them with organisations that take fabric scraps (in the UK, the charity SCOPE, will take fabric for recycling).

old top and shorts
  • Some old jeans – whether that is a denim skirt, jeans shorts or regular long pair of jeans. Any size will do – children’s jeans will make a smaller bag and adult’s ones a bigger bag!
  • Anther item to recycle – e.g. fabric t-shirt, pillow case, other fabric scraps, you can sew together to make a longer piece
  • Sewing machine & thread (though you can sew this project by hand too)
  • Sewing scissors
  • Iron & pins when making the halter/ belt
  • OPTIONAL: you could add velcro to the top of the bag as a closing mechanism or a magnetic snap/ other snaps/ fasteners

This project is especially great for any denim clothes/ jeans clothes that can’t be regifted to a family friend or charity shop simply because you have grown out of it. It is perfect for those items, which are too-worn jeans, e.g. where the crotch has gone or there are maybe some stains etc.

How to make a denim bag out of old jeans

This really is the simplest of all tutorials, as it doesn’t really require any step photos or measurements! You will basically wing it!

sewing your jeans bag

Sew the basic bag

OPTIONAL: You can also think about adding a lining bag. But I think keep it simple with tweens is keey!

Begin by cutting your jeans straight across the crotch (this is where a denim skirt would be slightly easier, as no croch to cut out).

Turn your piece inside out and simply sew one straight line across the bottom. You may want to go over it twice to make it extra strongs.

TOP TIP: when you are machine sewing over seams, you may want to manually move the needle across the seams to avoid breakage.

The basic bag is done.

Make a bag straps/ handles for carrying over your shoulder.

You now need a halter/ handle for it, and a “ribbon” to thread to through the denim loops to bring it all together.

You will need a piece of fabric long enough to make the halter + a little to sew it inside the bag. And wide enough so you fan fold it plus a seam allowance!

For this, you need to make some long “tubes” – a bit like you would when sewing a scrunchie. An iron can really help with this process – especially if you want to avoid turning you tube inside out once sewn. You can simply fold the fabric length wise, tuck in the sides to make a seam (and hide any raw edges). Then pin and iron the seams in place and run the iron across it.

Once this prep work has been done, you can run a seam across it quickly and easily with the sewing machine.

TOP TIP: your dress/ pillow case etc isn’t “long” enough for straps? Simply sew two pieces together to make a longer piece. The positioning of the strap etc, won’t really show any seams when you are using it.

Make the ribbon/ belt

Repeat as for the halter! Just make sure the length fits through the jeans loops and has enough for a little bow.

And finished! Whear your upcycled Jeans Bag with pride!

As mentioned, this is a great project beginner sewers, tweens and teens a like!

Hope you enjoyed this lovely project from Dawn and her daughter!! Isn’t it fantastic!

If you fancy more Jeans Projects, take a look at these:

denim bag made from old jeans