Denim Upcycling Tutorial: How to Make Denim Bags From Old Jeans

Enitan Agbabiaka
by Enitan Agbabiaka
16 Materials
2 Hours

Upcycling is the new cool. It helps reduce waste and saves money.

Denim upcycling is one of my favorite types of project because jeans are versatile and easy to find in thrift stores.

Today, I want to show you how to make denim bags from old jeans and the jeans legs I'm using are left over from another denim upcycle.

Tools and materials:

  • 2 legs from denim jeans
  • 2 small D rings
  • Magnetic bag fastener
  • 1 inch wide elastic
  • Denim label (optional)
  • Tailor's chalk
  • Measuring tape
  • Ruler
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Safety pin
  • 30w nylon thread
  • Strong hand sewing needle
  • Hot glue gun
  • Seam ripper
  • Sewing machine

1. Measure and cut

The two jeans legs I used are 18 inches long and 8.7 inches wide.

Turn them both right side out.

Insert one leg inside the other, so the inner leg extends approximately 1 inch outside the outer leg at the hem edge. Line up the side seams.


Mark each side of the legs, 8.5 inches from the inner leg hem.


Mark 1 inch in from the side edges and 1.5 inches down from the 1 inch marks.

Draw a line to connect the 1.5 inch marks and cut.

Put the excess fabric aside.


2. Construct the bags

Turn the smaller cut section wrong side out and leave the other section right side out.

Join the lower edge of both pieces, taking a half inch seam allowance.

Constructing the bags

Pin and sew the corner cut-outs together across the bottom seam, to make the gussets.

Constructing the bags

Turn the smaller bag right side out and optionally attach the denim label centrally on one side.

Constructing the bags

Insert the larger bag inside the smaller one, so both the right sides are showing.

Make sure the front seams are aligned. The back seams won't match, but that's okay.

Pin the bags together around the top edge and place aside.

Preparing strap and loops

3. Prepare the strap and loops

Cut the side seam off one of the legs that you put aside.

Preparing strap and loops

Draw a line 2.5 inches from the straight lower edge and cut. 

From the remaining fabric, cut two pieces each 1 inch by 2 inches.

Preparing strap and loops

Fold them in half widthways with the right sides together and pin.

Fold the longer piece in half with the right sides facing and pin the long edges together.

Preparing strap and loops

Sew the three pieces as pinned, taking a half inch seam allowance.

Turn them all right side out.

Place a D ring over each loop and pin and sew the short edges together.

Cut a piece of elastic 10.5 inches long.

Use a safety pin to feed it through the strap, pinning the free end to the end of the strap to stop it being pulled through.

Pin the leading edge of the elastic in place and sew both short edges of the strap.

Attaching strap

4. Attach the strap

Insert the ends of the strap through the D rings and pin.

Hand sew them in place using the nylon thread and a strong needle.

Attaching strap

Pin the ends of the loops between the two bags at the side edges. Be careful not to twist the strap.

Attaching strap

Top stitch the bags together around the top edge of the outer bag.

Attaching the clasp

5. Attach the clasp

Turn the bag wrong side out and press all the seams.

Turn it to the right side and press a fold into the sides of the bag.

Attaching the clasp

Cut two 1 inch by 1 inch pieces from the scrap fabric.

Place one side of the clasp centrally on each piece and press to mark the position of the holes.

Use the seam ripper to create the holes and push the prongs of the clasp through.

Cover the prongs with the back plate and press them outwards to hold them in place.

Attaching the clasp

Apply glue to the wrong side of each piece and press them into position on the inside of the bag.

Denim upcycling: DIY denim purse

Denim upcycling: DIY denim purse

Denim upcycling: DIY denim purse

I have to say, I think this is one of the cutest mini denim bags from old jeans that I've seen.

The double denim construction makes it strong and the elasticated handle is an elegant, feminine touch.

It easily holds a wallet and phone and the magnetic clasp keeps them secure.

So now I want to know - what do you think of it? Will you be making it? Comment down below.

Next, check out my post on How to DIY a Cute Drawstring Cropped Top.

Suggested materials:
  • 2 legs from denim jeans
  • 2 small D rings
  • Magnetic bag fastener
See all materials

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Join the conversation