How to Make a Quick & Simple DIY Denim Tote Bag Out of a Jean Skirt

by AssunDIY
9 Materials
3 Hours

Do you have an old denim skirt you no longer wear and want to upstyle? Follow this denim tote bag DIY tutorial to transform your old skirt into a tote bag that you’ll be thrilled to use every day! It’s lined so it will be sturdy, and you can make hand or shoulder straps for it.

Tools and materials:

  • Old denim skirt
  • White decorative fabric
  • Gingham lining fabric
  • Strap fabric
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Ruler
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine with zigzag foot
Cutting open the denim skirt

1. Make the front of your denim tote bag

Cut open one side seam of your skirt and lay the skirt fabric flat on your work surface.

Cutting off the bottom hem of the denim skirt

Now cut off the bottom hem, but don’t discard it. It’s going to turn into the strap of your tote bag!

Cutting out the panels from the skirt

On the two front panels of your skirt, mark and cut two rectangles, making one wider than the other.

The narrower rectangle should be cut from the panel that has the front panel with the zipper flap (but don’t include the flap in your rectangle.)

When put together, the total dimensions of the rectangle should be 25 x 30 centimeters (9.8 x 11.8 inches) plus seam allowance. 

Denim tote bag DIY ideas

Place the two rectangles together, right sides facing, with one long edge aligned. Sew along the aligned long edge.

How to make a denim tote bag

Then open the piece and flip it right side out. Keeping the seam allowance flat, topstitch on both sides of the seam.

How to make a tote bag out of blue jeans

2. Make the back of your denim tote bag

Lay your 25 x 30-centimeter (9.8 x 11.8 inch) rectangle on top of your remaining fabric and cut and second rectangle the same size, with your skirt pocket in the center of the rectangle.

Cutting out a leaf pattern for the denim tote

3. Create a leaf pattern for the front

On a piece of white fabric, hand-draw and cut out the decorative pattern shown in the video at 2:04.

Gluing the white fabric pattern onto the bag

Lay that decorative piece on top of the front piece of the tote bag. From the remaining decorative fabric draw and cut out leaf patterns. Also, cut some leaf patterns from your extra denim fabric.

Glue the decorative white fabric pieces to the denim rectangle, and glue the denim leaves onto the large decorative white piece. 

How to sew a denim tote bag

Set your sewing machine to the stitch type and size shown above. 

Sewing the leaf pattern onto the tote bag

Topstitch all the decorative pieces in place.

Attaching the front to the back of the bag

4. Attach front and back

Sew the front and back pieces together, right sides facing, along the bottom and both sides. 

How to make a tote bag out of jeans

5. Make tote bag corners

Mark the side seams at 5 centimeters (2 inches) from the bottom of the bag and Sew across the side seams to make corners. Trim the excess fabric from the corner.

Making lining for the DIY denim tote bag

6. Make the lining

Cut a piece of gingham fabric 25 x 58 centimeters (9.8 x 19.6 inches) for the tote bag lining. Fold the fabric in half widthwise and sew the side seams together.

Create the same 5-centimeter (2 inch) corners on the lining piece as you did on the tote bag.

Making straps for the DIY denim tote bag

7. Make the straps

Cut a piece of white scrap fabric the same length and slightly wider than the hem you previously cut off the skirt.

Lay the skirt strap fabric on the white strap fabric and sew along both long edges to attach.

Pinning the straps to the bag

Cut your tote bag strap in half widthwise so you have two straps. Pin one strap to each side of the bag, 5 centimeters (2 inches) in from the edges.

With right sides together sew the straps to the tote bag.

Sewing the lining to the DIY denim tote bag

8. Attach the lining

With right sides facing, Insert the tote bag into the lining and sew to attach along the top open edge. 

Turning the bag right sides out

Now pull the tote bag out from the lining and push the lining back inside the tote bag.

Topstitching the top edge of the tote bag

Pin the top edge of the tote bag and lining flat and top stitch around the edge to keep the lining in place.

DIY denim tote bag

DIY denim tote bag tutorial

How cute is this? Since it’s lined, this tote bag is very versatile, and you can use it to carry all kinds of things.

Let me know in the comments how your DIY denim tote bag turned out and what your favorite use for it is!

Suggested materials:
  • Old denim skirt
  • White decorative fabric
  • Gingham lining fabric
See all materials

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