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Jeans to Handbag Upcycle (Repurposing Cast Off Jeans)

Turn an old pair of jeans into a simple handbag with this sewing tutorial!

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This simple jeans to bag upcycle is easy to make! My 3-year-old daughter came up with this idea after watching me make my denim door draft stopper.


What You'll Find on This Page

  • cast-off jeans
  • scissors
  • thread
  • sewing machine
finished purse/handbag from jeans

STEPS for turning Denim Jeans into a Bag:

1) Cut off part of the pant leg – long enough to create the depth of the handbag you want plus seam allowances on either end. Choose which end of the pant leg to cut depending on how wide you want the finished bag to be.

2) Cut off another strip of pant leg as wide as you want the straps to be, allowing extra seam allowances for hemming/serging raw edges.

3) Cut the seams off of the strip you will be using to create straps, leaving two strap pieces. Trim to the same length (on most pairs of jeans the front leg is wider than the back leg piece.

4) Finish the raw edges of the strap pieces. I just serged mine. You could hem them, or cut two strips for each side and sew those together to hide seams. You could hide seams in the bag itself by cutting out two pant leg sections – ideally one from each pant leg so that they are the same width. This would also make your bag reversible.

5) Sew the wider edge of your pant leg shut, wrong side out. You should now have something that looks like this:

purse pieces

6) Finish the top raw edge of the bag. I serged mine, because that’s the easiest option, but you could also hem it, or sew it to a second, identical piece from the other leg of the pair of jeans. If you choose the second option, attach the handles first.

7) Attach the handles. Pin them in place with the pieces folded like this as it makes the handles much easier to hold:


8) Give the bag to its intended recipient, who will hopefully adore it as much as Emma loves hers!

preschool handbag

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MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

17 thoughts on “Jeans to Handbag Upcycle (Repurposing Cast Off Jeans)”

  1. What a great little bag – she looks very happy with it! I sure wish I had a serger!! It’s perfect for quickly finishing those raw edges. I just can’t seem to zig-zag stitch right on the edge of something with my sewing machine (this is my manual’s option to serging, but never really works). You are a very crafty mama, and it sounds like you are raising a crafty little girl too! :)

  2. Elisa | blissfulE

    What a beautiful fashionista! Such natural flair. Love this!
    .-= Elisa | blissfulE´s last blog ..homemade bleach wipes =-.

  3. Great idea! Christian would love this… but she would also love to embellish this!
    .-= Tracye´s last blog ..What Happens When Your 3 Year Old Disappears With the Cool Whip Bowl and a Spoon =-.

  4. Love your ideas for used jeans- I have a couple of pairs I’ve been saving for some projects…

    Also, thanks for visiting my blog! Makes my day when someone new comes to “visit!”
    .-= Wonder Mom´s last blog ..It’s a Snow Day! =-.

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