Saturday, August 14, 2010

Recycle Jeans

Recycle old jeans and turn them into jean purses. It is lots of fun and you can personalize every one you make. I loved making jean purses for my granddaughter, all her friends and other friends and family members. I used the jeans my granddaughter had outgrown to make the first few purses, and then the demand got to the point I was going to the thrift store to buy jeans. It does not make any difference what brand or color of jeans you use. The size of purse you want is what decides the size of jeans you will need for this project. Or if you want to make a blue jean bookbag you can get the plus size jeans I wear.

These photos show two of the purses I made several years ago.

First thing before you even think about starting...go get a universal sewing machine needle that will sew denim (jeans). I barely sew a straight line, and had no idea there were other types of sewing machine needles. I sent my husband (bless his heart) into the store to grab me a package of needles, because I had broke my last needle trying to make one of these purses. We got home and I read on the package that the needles were for sewing denim!! OMG I thought he was awesome!!

The purses shown above are made with regular rise jeans. With the low rise ones girls are wearing I am afraid you would only be able to make a clutch purse. LOL  Cut the jeans just below the crotch seams. The jeans seams are extremely hard to sew over so you want to cut them off. Turn the jeans inside out. Sew along the bottom being careful to avoid the bottom of the back pockets. Now you have the basic purse.

Cut a long strip from the jean leg. Make it twice as wide as you would like for the finished handle to be. Fold right side of fabric together and sew on the outer edge. By pulling the fabric through itself like a tunnel you can now turn the handle right-side-out. Sew one end to the inside of the jean purse waist and the other end to the other side. I have also cut strips of fabric and braided to make the handles. I have used heavy ribbon, and lots of other things for handles, so use your imagination.

To keep the purse closed there are many things that can be used. My favorite is the magnetic purse snap. Attach to the inside middle of the waist band to keep the purse closed. Just look at the craft section and find the one easiest for you to work with on this project.

Embellishment is up to the designer. The photos above show one purse with a cross keyring through the belt loop and the only decoration. The other purse shows a dragon fly sewn on the front and lace put through the belt loops. I have used all kinds of ribbon, fringe, beads and  jewelry to create a one-of-a-kind purse. I have even made fringe hang out from the bottom of the purse, but that was more work than I wanted.

I have also made my granddaughter a king size jean quilt out of her old jeans, but that will be another blog. Do you have a fun project using recycled jeans?