Upcycling Jeans: How to DIY an Awesome Denim Reversible Bag

Nina's Ideas
by Nina's Ideas
10 Materials
2 Hours

Today, we're going to be upcycling jeans into a reversible bag. This DIY denim bag can be used as a purse or a mini backpack, so it's extremely versatile.

It's also easy to sew by hand or with a sewing machine, making it a very beginner-friendly project.

Tools and materials:

  • Pair of jeans
  • Fabric
  • Cord or braid
  • 2 large beads
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Tailor's chalk
  • Safety pin
  • Sewing machine (optional)
Reversible bag pattern

1. Reversible bag pattern

Cut the hem off both legs of the jeans. Cut open the outer leg seams, open the fabric out flat and press it.

Measure a rectangle at the bottom of one leg, 11.5 inches (29 cm) long and 10.5 inches (27 cm) wide and cut it out.

Place the rectangle right side down on the other leg, lining up the seams, and cut around it to make a mirror image.

Marking denim

Mark out 2 inch (5 cm) squares at the corners of one of the short edges on both pieces and cut them out, for the base.

Reversible bag pattern pieces

Unpick two belt loops from the waistband of the jeans.

Cut two strips of denim and two strips of fabric, each 10 inches by 1.75 inches (25 cm by 4.5 cm).

Cut two pieces of fabric the same size as the pieces of denim.

Making drawstring tabs

2. Make drawstring tabs

Place each fabric strip on top of a denim strip, with right sides together, and sew along one long edge. 

Open the strips and press the seams open on both sides.

Turn in half an inch (1 cm) to the wrong side of each short edge and pin, then sew in place.

Fold the tabs lengthways with the wrong sides together and press.

Attaching tabs and loops

3. Attach tabs and loops

Place the denim side of the tab to the upper short edge of the denim bag piece and sew along the raw edge through the three layers.

Attaching tabs and loops

Fold each belt loop in half and sew firmly to both sides of one of the bag pieces about 1 inch (2.5 cm) above the cut outs.

Sewing bag

4. Sew bag

Place the two denim bag pieces with right sides together and sew the two side seams and the bottom edges.

Sewing bag

Match the bottom and side seam at each corner and sew the base closed. Press the seams open.

Join the side and lower seams of the fabric pieces and sew the base in the same way, leaving a 2.5 inch (6 cm) gap on one side seam.

Attaching lining

5. Attach lining

Turn the denim bag right side out and leave the fabric bag with the wrong side out.

Insert the denim bag into the fabric bag, so the right sides are together. 

Matching the seams and the top edges, sew round the top edge of the bag through both layers.

Attaching lining

Turn the bags right side out through the gap and hand stitch the gap closed.

Press both bags and tuck the fabric bag inside the denim one.

Attaching drawstring

6. Attach drawstring

Cut two lengths of cord. Attach a safety pin to one end of the first piece and thread it through one of the tabs and back through the second tab, so that both ends are on the same side of the bag.

Do the same with the second cord but in the reverse direction so that when you pull on the ends, the bag closes.


7. Finishing

Thread both cord ends on one side through a bead, knot the ends together and trim them.

Repeat with the second bead on the other side.


To wear the bag as a backpack, make a small loop with the cord and thread it through the belt loop.

Then, push the bead through the loop to hold it in place.

DIY denim reversible bag

DIY denim reversible bag

DIY denim reversible bag

Upcycling jeans: DIY denim reversible bag

I really enjoy recycling various materials to create useful and unique things for myself and my loved ones.

This DIY denim purse has proved to be very popular with everyone and I’m delighted with the way it turned out. It’s easy to convert it from a purse to a shoulder bag to a backpack and I love that it’s reversible too.

If you enjoyed this, and especially if you intend to make it too, please let me know in the comments. Your feedback means the world to me.

You may also want to check out my post on How to DIY a Cute Jean Purse From Old Jeans.

Suggested materials:
  • Pair of jeans
  • Fabric
  • Cord or braid
See all materials

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

Join the conversation