How to Make a Messenger Bag Out of an Old Pair of Jeans

Nina's Ideas
by Nina's Ideas
9 Materials
20 Minutes

In this DIY, I’m going to show you how to make a messenger bag from denim. If you have an old pair of jeans knocking around that you no longer wear, this is the perfect opportunity to upcycle them and make them into a cute accessory. Let’s get into it!

Tools and materials:

  • Jeans
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Fabric pen
  • Zipper
  • Iron
  • Glue gun
  • Sewing machine
  • Cord
Cutting off pieces from jeans

1. Cut the denim

Cut two pieces of denim (I am using jeans for this), one that measures 8cm (3 inches) in width and the other 20cm (8 inches) in width. The length doesn’t matter so much; you can make the bag as long or short as you like.

How to make a messenger bag out of jeans

2. Fold the sides

Next, we’re going to place a zipper in between those two pieces. Before you attach the zipper, fold one side of each piece over by 1cm (0.4 inches) and iron them down. 

Attaching the zipper

3. Attach them to the zipper

Then place the folded sides on top of the zipper and sew or glue them onto the zipper. I’m going to glue mine down using a glue gun.

DIY denim messenger bag tutorial

4. Cut a second piece

Place this piece of denim on top of the denim fabric. Then draw and cut around it so that you have another piece of the same size.

Gluing loops to the bag

5. Attach loops to the bag

Cut off the thick strip from the bottom of the jeans and glue or sew it in half lengthways. 

Making a messenger bag

Then cut the piece into two smaller pieces and fold those in half. Place them at the top of the bag, and they will be loops that we will attach the strap to. Then sew or glue them together and to the top of the bag (the side that doesn’t have the zip).

Marking the strap placement

Take a ruler and mark 4cm (1.6 inches) in from either side from the top of the bag. Then mark 3cm (1.2 inches) on the straps and place the 3cm mark on the straps on the 4cm mark on the bag.

Joining the two pieces together

6. Join the two pieces

Next, put one piece of denim on top of the other so that the right sides are touching. Then unzip the zipper halfway and sew or glue around the edge of the denim to join the two pieces together.

Making a DIY messenger bag

Proceed to cut the part of the loops that are sticking up and tidy up any of the denim that isn’t neat. 

Turning the bag the right way out

7. Turn the bag the right way out

If you’ve used glue, then give the glue a bit of time to dry, and then open up the zipper and turn the bag the right way out. Use your scissors to poke the corners out, and then iron the bag flat.

Attaching the strap

8. Attach the strap

Take some rope or cord and attach them to the loops that you made. Above are examples of two different types of straps you could go for.

How to make a messenger bag

How to make a messenger bag

Here is the finished design. I love the minimalistic design and think that it’s super cute. Denim is a very versatile material so this bag will pair well with many different outfits, and I can’t wait to wear it.

DIY messenger bag

It’s not too big, but big enough to hold all my essentials inside. Give it a try for yourself!

Suggested materials:
  • Jeans
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
See all materials

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Join the conversation
2 of 3 comments
  • Beth Davis Beth Davis on Nov 30, 2022

    This is a great idea and super cute, but it's not a messenger bag. I would call it a crossbody purse or just a small purse. A messenger bag is much larger and has a front flap.

  • Bet ! Bet ! on Mar 05, 2023

    What a great idea ! I don't have any old jeans but do have some pieces of denim that I bought to mend a grandson's jeans when he lived with me for awhile ( he was searching for work & had very little money ) He was quite happy to wear the mended jeans !! I wondered what to do with those left-overs & now I know . !! Thank you