{Green Living} How to Make a Reusable Denim Bag

If this is the year that you’ve resolved to go greener, why not start by eliminating those single-use bags that are typically derived from natural gas and petroleum?  Millions of single-use bags end up in the landfill each year which is precisely why many counties and US cities that have banned or imposed taxes for their use.  But, if you don’t have it in your budget to go out and buy the dozen or so bags that you’ll need, I’ll show you how whip up a handful in no time flat with an old pair of jeans.  So grab a pair of jeans, scissors and a sewing machine.

Decide how long you want your bag to be and cut off the bottom of the pant leg.  I find that I can get 4 smaller sized bags from one pair of jeans using both legs:

EcoEtsy.Denim Bag.0113

Because I’m using a pair of women’s jeans, the larger of the two bags (the top half of the leg) will need an extra cut and an extra seam sewn to make it straight.  So we’ll use that piece for the purposes of this tutorial.  Men’s straight-legged jeans shouldn’t need to be cut and re-sewn.

  • Cut the inside seam away from the rest of the leg and square it up as much as possible without making it too small
  • Fold over and sew down the top edge of the pant leg
  • Face the right sides together and sew the side and bottom seams
  • Note:  When you are working with the lower half of the leg you can just sew the bottom seam and move on to the next step

EcoEtsy.Denim Bag3.0113

To make your bag a bit more fancy, we’ll add some box corners.  It’s really simple to do, not so simple to explain and photograph so please bear with me.  Keep your bag inside out.  You essentially want to lay one side seam down on top of the bottom seam.  To do this, pinch each side panel of the bag right near where the two seams intersect and tug, then flatten the seams unto each other.  You should create a triangle with your fabric, like this:

ECO ETSY10 Sew across the pant leg making the third side of the triangle at about an inch or two in, depending on the size of your pant leg.  Now do the same thing on the other side and snip the excess fabric.

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Now we just need handles!  You should have plenty of fabric in the rear end and abdominal area to make some short handles.  But if you’d like longer handles you can pull out another pair of jeans and cut your pieces from the legs.

  • Take two 3″ wide pieces of denim (any length that you’d like)
  • Fold over and sew a hem on each of the short edges, it may help to iron the fabric on the fold before sewing
  • Then iron (no need to sew it) a hem along each of the long sides
  • Fold them in half lengthwise and sew each piece closed

EcoEtsy.Denim Bag4.0113 Now all that’s left is to sew on the handles:

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Now just flip the bag right side out and go shopping!  I added a little scrappy flower with some E-6000 adhesive.

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These are the perfect little bags for a quick trip into the grocery, pet or gift store.  They’re also great for canned goods because they are very sturdy and a bit smaller so as to limit the weight of the bag.  Looking for something larger?  Check out these ones made from T-shirts and Sweaters.

So what do you think?  Will you make the switch to reusable instead of single-use?

This post was written by

upcycledstuff – who has written posts on Eco Etsy.
Tricia has a background in Zoology and has spent many years working with animals as a zookeeper and wildlife rehabilitator. It's her experiences with animals that drives her in every new craft experiment that she takes on. You can join her in her "dumpster diving" endeavors on her blog www.UpcycledStuff.blogspot.com.

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Comments

  1. Great Tutorial! I’m always looking for new ways to repurpose things. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Nice idea to use denim, makes for a very sturdy bag. I have made the t shirt ones, will have to try the jeans next. Thanks for sharing.