I was trying to think of an eye-catching, mysterious title for my blog post. I couldn’t. I have too been immersed in bag making lately – sewing creatively, instead of blogging creatively!
This time I wanted to make a handbag for myself out of 100% recycled materials, specifically denim. I have been collecting a few images on my Pinterest and I’m quite inspired by this recycled denim Chobe Bag with the denim strips sewn together.
After a bit of rummaging, I managed to find three pairs of jeans in the house that needed a new life.
Cutting up jeans is actually quite fun! I wanted to save a few features of the jeans, for example the pockets, so I had to put some thought into it and not just slash away!
I made 1 1/2 ” denim strips out of the legs.
I was quite pleased with all the material I salvaged. This was only from two pairs.
Simon was quite pleased too. My husband, Mr. Green Thumb, told me he was finding denim strips all over the house. So I stuffed everything into some zippered plastic pouches I had stashed away. You know the kind … those plastic things that you get when you buy bed sets, duvets, sheet sets, etc. from the stores. They’re very handy! I’ve even put my cut future sewing projects in them. They are great for keeping all the pieces together.
I’m also in the habit of salvaging from my worn handbags, the zippers, hardware, etc. I am determined that this handbag will be large enough to hold my iPad.
So let’s see if my salvaged zipper fits. Not quite. I’ll have to save it for my next handbag, or whatever comes to mind next!
I sewed up my handbag on Amber, my Singer 421G. You can read more about her here. Supposedly she can sew through anything. And what better way to sew recycled materials than on a recycled sewing machine! I used regular polyester thread and Jeans/Denim size 14 sewing needles.
Strips sewn together and pressed for the one outside piece.
The sides are trimmed to the right measurements.
Fusible interfacing applied.
Voila! So much fun!
The other side, the front, is pieced together, pressed, trimmed and fusible interfacing applied.
Now for the insides. I want one zipper pocket inside my bag. I found a lightweight 7″ zipper in my stash. My welt is drawn on the wrong side of my pocket piece and I pin and sew my pocket piece onto my lining piece, right sides together. Then I carefully cut the welt open.
I turn my pocket piece though the welt opening and press. I apply “Wonder Tape” to my zipper.
Stick my zipper under my welt opening and sew it on. I just heard on a Craftsy course that the instructor didn’t like using a zipper foot as the width of a regular sewing foot following the zipper made a straighter and more uniform stitch line. It seemed to work this time for me too, if I moved my sewing needle to the far left position.
Zipper attached, almost done!
Next I folded the pocket piece in half and sewed around its edges to close the pocket up.
That worked out well. 🙂
On my other lining piece I attach a simple pocket, with single fold bias tape sewn around the edge first for a cute finish. (Yes, that’s a remote control – I watch TV while I sew.)
For the topstitching, I changed to my straight stitch needle plate, a topstitching needle and topstitching thread on top, regular polyester thread in the bobbin.
Amber performed beautifully with these thick denim layers.
Look how thick these layers are for the bag strap – again Amber topstitches right through them.
Well I guess this is the end of Part I – How to sew a recycled denim handbag … stay tuned … next week, I will have the finishing steps and final photos!
So if you ever come across an old pair of jeans, or an old handbag – send it my way and I’ll give it new life … unless you need it for your own projects? Do you salvage, reuse and recycle old clothes, etc? If so, spread your ideas here!