Goodwill Keystone Area Fashion Blog

The Scrap Jean Digest – Project #1


The Scrap Jean Digest – Project #1 – Jean Leg Purse, to Sew or Not to Sew

Sue MacCombie 

Those old jeans and what to do with them? Just never throw them out!
 I am starting a digest of redesign ideas that will be periodically posted. I won’t put a total number on them since the ideas are basically endless. Let’s get started

Project #1 – Jean Leg Purse, to Sew or Not to Sew

Materials and tools needed:

  • Pair of unwanted Jeans – any shape
  • Sewing kit or Staple gun if you don’t want to sew
  • Sharp scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pins

Take your jeans and lay them flat. Try to line up the side seams on the bottom of the pant leg. You will notice that the back of the jean leg is slightly bigger than the front so the seams are just inside the edges
Get out your ruler and decide how big of a bag you want. I used 10” up from the bottom. Mark off a straight line across the pant leg. I placed marks all up both sides of the seams too.Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 12.52.14 PM

Start cutting on the dotted lines. You will have to cut a slit in the front to get the scissors in. Do not cut the back of the pant leg yet. We need to leave material for a flap. Cut out both seams on both sides all the way up as far as you can. Then snip the seams off. These will be your bag straps. 

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 12.53.08 PMScreen Shot 2017-03-22 at 12.53.28 PM

Measure for Purse flap

Measure up how much you want your bag flap to be and cut. Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 12.53.57 PMIt pretty much looks like a bag now except that the bag is open at the bottom. Here is where the sew or no sew comes in. You can sew up it with your machine or hand stitch with a back stitch. Try to use some heavy button or denim thread if you can. Sew up the bottom and either tie or sew the straps together. All done! Your bag is ready to be used

If you want to get a little more involved you can add a pocket to the back. From the same pair of jeans cut out the back pocket leaving about an 1” around the whole pocket. Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 12.54.27 PMThen place it on the back of the bag and pin, lots of pins.Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 12.55.01 PMYou will have to hand sew this one. Since most sewing machines can’t reach inside. No worries, just to use a strong button thread.

But don’t stop there! You can add buttons, embroidery, flowers, and appliqués. 
Here is a picture of some cloth flowers I added to the front. Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 12.55.29 PMI cut them out from an old curtain and hot glued them on. You can also sew them on. I also attached a snap on the flap to keep it closed. You can also use a button or Velcro. Such a fun little purse from practically nothing.

The No-Sew Method

You can use a regular desk stapler if you are just going through two layers of denim but to staple the seams you need a heavy stapler with ¼” staples.

I got a little bit fancy and decided to spray paint my staples orange so they would stand out a little better. Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 12.57.25 PMI think they look cute too. Wait till the paint is really dry or you will gum up your stapler, learned that from experience, not good.
I stapled the very bottom seam edge of the bag. If you are using a desk stapler go just above the seams where the jean fabric is thinner.I wanted a lot of staples for strength so I made a little decorative design with them.
Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 12.56.03 PM

You can either tie the straps together or staple them a few times.

 Only one last detail before your bag is set to go. I took a hammer and tapped all the staples down so the ends would close tight and lay flat. Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 1.01.06 PMThis way they won’t snag your clothes too. There shouldn’t be but just make sure there are no staple ends exposed inside the bag. If you like you can hot glue on some lacey trim over the staples to hide them but I like the hardware look of them. Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 1.01.22 PM
This no sew bag is set to go!

Remember be brave with your designs and fearless with your scissors.

Sue MacCombie



About the Author: Sue MacCombie, Goodwill Keystone Area ReDesign Contest Winner – 
I look for elements in a piece that are attractive or that catch my eye. I then look for pieces that will blend with it. Sometimes I go with an idea in mind, sometimes I just get inspiration from the pieces I come across. Be fearless with your scissors! Sew outside the lines and combine the unlikely. Trust what you like.