How to sew a recycled denim handbag. Part 2

Back again!  To recap last week’s post … I wanted to make myself a 100% recycled denim bag, using denim strips like those bags I saw on Pinterest.  Last week I cut up my denim jeans, pieced and sewed the strips together and fused on the interfacing for my outer bag walls.  I sewed the pockets and the zipper pocket on my bag lining.  I sewed the bag strap.  I did my topstitching – I love topstitching and Amber, my Singer 421G was a work horse!  

This week, I continued on.  I prepped the opening zipper, cutting it to the right length and topstitching the zipper tabs on the ends.  I switched from the brown zipper to this blue one as it fit around my iPad just right.

I sandwiched my zipper between my outer bag wall and my bag lining and sewed the layers together.

One side done.  I have to topstitch (I used regular thread) along the zipper seam to keep the bag layers out of the way of the zipper.  

Now for the other side.  This time I have to layer and sew everything together:  outer bag wall (with no zipper) right side up, outer bag wall/bag lining with zipper right side down,  and lastly bag lining (with no zipper) right side down.  Sorry I don’t have a photo – it’s quite the sandwich!  I find it you ever have difficulty trying to decide how something gets sewn together, pin all the layers together and make the bag up using pins and the proper seam allowances, you will see right away if you have your layers right or does one layer have to be flipped over.  

After sewing the other zipper seam, I topstitched with regular thread along the other side of the zipper seam to keep the bag layers out of the way of the zipper.

Opening zipper attached.  Outside view.
Inside view.

I sewed the ends of the bag strap on to my outer bag wall, along the top edge by each zipper end.  Bag sides were sewn on to the outer bag walls (sandwich the bag strap ends inside).  Bag sides were sewn on to the bag lining too.  By now everything is getting a bit cumbersome, as the only thing holding the outer bag and the bag lining together is the zipper seams.

The inside of the bag lining, looking in from the still open bottom of the bag.

Now my outer bag was completely sewn together and my inner bag lining had an opening in the bottom.  Remember to leave the zipper unzipped.

Turn the bag through the opening in the bottom of the bag lining.  

Sew up the opening at the bottom of the bag lining and you are FINISHED!  

And … my iPad fits through the top zipper opening – as hoped!

Nice dress!  Thanks, I made it!!

A peek inside at the zipper pocket.

Nice dress!  Thanks, I made it!!

The pockets on the other side.

Nice dress!  Thanks, I made it!!

Nice dress!  Thanks, I made it!!

Nice dress!  Thanks, I made it!!

Nice dress!  Thanks, I made it!!

Nice dress!  Thanks, I made it!!

Sorry I don’t have a pattern for this bag, but I hope I have inspired you to try making your own.  It was a really fun project and I already have thoughts running through my head for another recycled denim bag.

What about you – what’s the next sewing project running through your head right now?

Happy Sewing!




36 thoughts on “How to sew a recycled denim handbag. Part 2

  1. That’s a great looking bag! The bottom up approach looks great!

    1. Thanks! That pretty much sums up my sewing technique! “Bottom’s up!”

  2. What a nice bag! I like how you’ve patched in all the different shades of denim and re-used the pocket.

    1. Thank you! The two tone denim shading was an idea from Pinterest. I wanted to have a front pocket for slipping in receipts, so why make one when you can salvage one!

  3. That is an absolutely gorgeous bag. I love the colour combination of the blue and the pink. The lining is fab. I am planning on making a shirtdress and made up a toile using an old duvet cover. It makes such a difference to make changes using that. I would love to make something out of recycled jeans. You have inspired me and I have just got a bag of old ones to cut up. I would love to make a garment though but the thought of all those layers is putting me off. I might have to get my old hand crank Singer out. Thank heavens for vintage machines. They sew through anything Xx

    1. Thank you! That pink fabric has a “marble” darker pink line running through it. It was given to me by my sister (Thanks Sis!). Toiles can use so much fabric – great idea using a duvet cover! You could always make something out of larger pieces of denim. That might help. A skirt with large panels? Vintage machines are great. Amber was very strong handling this job. I’ll be watching for any of your makes!

    2. This is simply providential as Anne would say lol. Just revisited those old DVDs. Anyway I have a beautiful duvet cover that I was thinking of selling, not thinking as I LOVE fabric. You have given me encouragement, like why didn’t I think of that? So happy it’s still with me.
      Also, many thanks for the denim purse tutorial. I will be using it too as well. It’s so cute. I like the mail bag look of it.

      1. Thank you! Definitely anything could be used for a toile. If you make a denim purse, be sure to share with us!

  4. Wow, that’s impressive. You and Amber did a terrific job!

  5. Great bag, and yes, you inspired me! I love the stripes and the way you incorporated a jeans pocket in the design. What a nifty way to carry your iPad around! Love that you used recycled jeans too.

    1. Thank you! It’s your turn now! 😃👍

  6. I’m not usually a denim person but I love the idea of the two tone and saving the pocket!!

    1. This is a casual look, for sure! I’ve got another in mind that, hopefully, will turn out quite posh! I’ve got to get my hands on the fabric though – it’s not a denim one.

      1. Can’t wait to see! I love making bags ❤️

        1. Funny story! I started sewing and refused to buy clothes but I bought bags and shoes like a mad woman. Now I’m addicted to making clothes and bags. Now all that’s left to buy is shoes! 😂

          1. I haven’t tried clothes yet! But I really want to! And following all these bloggers who make clothes has really been giving me an itch to try!

            1. Start with a nice fabric and a simple pattern and it will work out! Something simple will not be much harder than a handbag! 😃👍

  7. Brilliant – this has turned out so well Linda!

    1. Thank you! I so happy with it, glad I found the inspiration on Pinterest!

  8. Great bag! I love recycled jeans ideas.
    I’ve made one with a drawstring handle (sturdy denim!) through the belt loops. All original pockets left intact – trouble is I never remember which pocket I put things in…

    1. Thank you! So funny! 😁 Have you blogged about your’s? Did I miss it? I would love to see it!

      1. I don’t think I blogged it. I’ll try to put it in soon

  9. Excellent bag and I’ll bet you find it really useful with all the pockets and the size, etc. I love the recycled denim, well done!

    1. Thank you! I haven’t made a bag with recycled denim strips before and in a way it was like making a toile/muslin as I felt if it didn’t turn out there was no loss … but it turned out just fine!

  10. This has turned beautifully! it looks like fairly intensive work to do but so worth it.

    1. Thank you! Yes I probably have more details than needed with all the pockets, etc. but sewing the strips themselves together to make my outer walls was easy! Almost like quilting! One could always do a simpler style!

  11. It really did come out great, thank you for the tutorial!

    1. Yes, I’m very happy with it. Thanks for coming back for a visit! 👋😃

  12. That is really cool. I like the little things meaning I like the matching strap. It just goes it all together to make a perfect package.

    1. Thank you Jo! Sort of like your art – every little bit adds up to a sum – a perfect picture! 😃😍

  13. Great end result. It’s always great to have a bag that has all kinds of pockets.

    1. Thank you! I was taking a break from sewing and thought I would try sewing some bags! 😂. It’s amazing how many different types there are! Thanks for stopping by!

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