Earth Day DIY: Tote Bag from Upcycled Jeans

April 18, 2018By Laura PiferProjects, Sewing, Upcycling 1 Comment Opinion by Paid Consultant

Upcycle Jean Tote Bag

With Earth Day just a few days away, what better way to honor it than to make a reusable tote from an old pair of jeans so you can celebrate in style! I have 3 active boys, and you can imagine how many pairs of jeans they go through. Instead of getting rid of them I upcycle them into projects like this tote bag. It’s a sustainable approach to sewing and a practical project. You can use this for grocery runs to beach trips and everything in between. Get the details below on how to make your own Reusable Tote Bag from Upcycled Jeans.

Upcycle Jean Tote Bag

Supplies:


Upcycle Jean Tote Bag

Upcycle Jean Tote Bag

  • The pattern is basically 2 squares and 1 rectangle for the pocket
  • The above measurements were used to create my tote bag. This can be altered to go smaller or larger. You can adjust these measurements based off the jeans you’re upcycling.

Upcycle Jean Tote Bag

  • For my fabric, I used a pile of scraps of old jeans and pieced them together. You can use an old pair of jeans and patch together to create a cool pattern, or just simply cut the bottom portion of a pair of jeans off for a front and back main piece. This was how my front piece was made.
  • Cut open at the inside seams (this doesn’t have the cool topstitch the outer seam has). For the pocket piece, add a portion from the top. Try the back upper pockets to give the bag some texture and detail or even a different color of denim.
  • As long as you make 2 squares you will be good to go as that is all the pattern is.
Tip: Use the original hem of the jeans to be the finished top edge of your bag.

Upcycle Jean Tote Bag

Upcycle Jean Tote Bag

Upcycle Jean Tote Bag

Upcycle Jean Tote Bag

  • Once you have your pieces, you will measure and mark a 3” square at the bottom corners of both front and back.
  • Cut the squares.

Upcycle Jean Tote Bag
Upcycle Jean Tote Bag

  • For the pocket, fold over the top edge of your pocket ½” press and hem the top edge.
Tip: Use gold jeans thread to hem the edge of the pocket.
Tip: Use a jeans needle when sewing with denim, it will come in handy when working with this heavy-weight material.

Upcycle Jean Tote Bag

Upcycle Jean Tote Bag

  • Place and pin the pocket onto the front piece, so it’s centered in the middle about 1” in from the corners.
  • Edge stitch down the sides.

Upcycle Jean Tote Bag

Upcycle Jean Tote Bag

  • Pin the cotton webbing starting at the bottom hem and covering the pocket raw edges following that up to the top of edge of the bag and repeat for the other side.
  • Topstitch starting at the bottom outer sides, sewing up across the top edge, and back down to the bottom.
  • Repeat for the other side.

Upcycle Jean Tote Bag

  • Repeat this step for the back. You will want to measure where to place the webbing because you won’t have a pocket to help guide you. Just make sure it’s visually equal to your front piece.

Upcycle Jean Tote Bag

  • Place front and back right sides together sew along the side seams and bottom edge.

Upcycle Jean Tote Bag

  • Because I’m not adding a liner a tip is to add bias tape to sew along the seam allowance.
  • If you have a serger, you can clean up the edges this way which is the option I went with.

Upcycle Jean Tote Bag
Upcycle Jean Tote Bag

  • Fold the bottom corners together, so the bottom seam and side seam meet. Pin together, so the seam allowances are going in the same direction. Continue to pin the opening closed.
  • Sew closed with a ¼” seam allowance.
  • Repeat for the other side.

Upcycle Jean Tote Bag

  • Clean up the seam allowance with a serger or bias tape.
Now you have a quality reusable tote bag! What I love is I think of my boys when I’m using this. I can’t help but giggle when someone asks, “where I got my bag?” Oh, from my son’s old jeans…

Upcycle Jean Tote Bag

Upcycle Jean Tote Bag

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