The cat is in the bag


I like a good upcycling project. I like making bags. Bring the two together and you’ve got this – a bag made out of an old pair of jeans and some lining. It really is the easiest thing to make and it looks quite cool.

If these pictures inspire you to make your own, have a look at IzzyMEIMsaab’s tutorial (tutorial 1 for the bag without a zip and tutorial 2 for the same bag but with a zip). She’s got lots of upcycling tutorials, so do check out her channel.

Step 1: dismember your jeans. For a small handbag, cut off your jeans just under the crotch. For a bigger bag, leave more fabric. If your jeans are very much shaped, you might want to opt for a smaller bag, just in case.


Step 2: cut off the central seam – just because it’s bulky and you don’t need it.

Step 3: Draw a vaguely straight line down the back (before the back seam starts to flare out, and at the front. It would be good if the back and front were roughly the same size. Then sew along the line you’ve just drawn and cut off any excess fabric.


Step 4: Sew a seam along the bottom, and add boxy corners so that the bag gains depth. If you don’t know how to create boxy corners, have a look at Wendi Gratz’s splendid explanation. Your outer bag is essentially done.

Step 5: measure the inside of your bag and the width and plot your lining fabric accordingly. Depending on where you want to sew on the lining to the outer fabric, you need slightly less or more fabric.

Step 6: make a bag out of your lining, including boxy corners. Then decide where you want to affix it to the outer bag. When you’re working with jeans, this step may involve hand-sewing, as your machine might not cope with sewing over the waistband. In that case fold over your lining, stuff it into your bag, pin it in place and use an invisible stitch to sew it in place either just below the waistband or on it. My sewing machine is indestructible, and so I was able to bring the lining right up to the top of the waistband.

Step 7: add bag straps & you’re done.

fullsizerender-2  fullsizerender-1

I decided to keep my bag simple – you can add inner pockets, zips, magnetic fasteners & any number of things to make the bag more interesting. I loved the contrast between the bright, funky lining and the black jeans. In fact, I’m almost tempted to keep it, but, alas, it’s a Christmas present….



About alycevr

Academic, translator & maker of things
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