If you know a little girl and have a pair of jeans you were planning on giving away, this simple sewing project is for you! I completed this before I figured out how to use my sewing machine; so if all you have is a needle and thread, no worries! You can complete this in one evening.
Speaking from experience, knowing how to sew in a straight line is beneficial, but not necessary :). This is how you learn! I waited forever to post this, thinking I would make another one so you could see what it looks like once you learn to sew in a straight line…but she loves it as is, so I’m saving my jeans for other projects! And defying that perfectionism in me once again in the process :).
This is definitely an anyone-can-do-it project, and requires very little in the way of materials, so let’s get started!
One pair (or half a pair) of old jeans
One yard grosgrain ribbon
Needle, thread, and thimble – or sewing machine with heavyweight needle for denim
1. Cut out the front of the purse, which will have one pocket from the back of your old jeans. Use the waist of the jeans as the top of your piece; it saves having to hem it! I used a plate to trace around, leaving the top straight.
2. Trace the round portion of the front purse piece onto one leg of the jeans. The top part of your second (back) purse piece needs to be about 1/2″ taller than the front, to allow for hemming. Cut out the back purse piece.
3. Hem the top of the back purse piece. To do this, fold the top over 1/4″, and iron the crease. Then fold down AGAIN, another 1/4″, and iron that crease. Stitch across the top, through your folds. You will finish with two equally-sized purse pieces.
(In the photo below, I had just pinned the hem on the back purse piece; ironing would have been easier and neater, so do that!)
4. Place the two purse pieces front-sides together. If you’re not sure what that means, do this: place the back purse piece on the floor, with the outside part of the jeans facing UP. [Outside part = the part you see when you’re wearing them.] Then place the top purse piece on top, with the pocket side DOWN. The inside parts of your purse will be on the outside (because you’re going to stitch it and then turn it inside out, so you won’t see the stitches).
5. Carefully pin the two pieces together, being sure that the two pieces still match up when you’ve finished. Keep in mind that you’ll be stitching around the curve 1/4″ in from the edge. You can pin inside that line, or outside that line, whichever you prefer. In the picture below I pinned around the outside, but if I did it again I’d probably do it toward the inside.
6. You can use this neat hemming tool to show you where your 1/4″ stitch line should be. You could also use a normal ruler. If you’re not confident in your ability to stitch a straight line (or if you’re like me, and confident although you’ve never done it before!), I suggest tracing a line 1/4″ from the outside of the curve on the purse piece. You won’t want to sew across the top, of course, unless you’re making a pillow instead! To trace, you can use a fabric pen or pencil, or chalk, or even a white crayon in this case, since it will be inside the purse and no one will see it!
7. Stitch around the curve of the purse, either by hand or using your machine. If you use a machine, be sure you have a needle specified for denim (which will be a bigger needle than you use for normal sewing). If you sew by hand, I recommend a thimble to avoid a sore thumb! Do try to sew in a straight line, unlike me, because it will make a difference in how the purse looks when turned right-side out – just look at my picture!
8. Add your grosgrain ribbon. I did this very unprofessionally on this project, not hiding the ribbon end in a hem, partially because one purse piece doesn’t have a hem as we used the original top of the jeans, and partially because I had no idea how to do that when I sewed this! So, I held the purse up on my little girl to estimate the ribbon length, leaving an extra inch and a half on EACH end (three inches total) to allow for sewing it into the purse. I wanted my strap to be 12″ long, so I cut two 15″ pieces. Pin the ends onto the purse (see below), and sew – I stitched a rectangle, and then an “x” through the rectangle. It’s held up very well. Repeat for the other strap on the reverse side.
9. Turn your purse right side out, and push on the seams from the inside to straighten them out. If you want to, you can embellish the pocket; wouldn’t it be cute with embroidery, or an applique? I chose to leave mine plain, because my little girl liked it that way!
10. Share with a little girl, who will be sure to find a friend to take along with her! The pocket is perfect for essential items such as crayons as well. Enjoy!
If you complete this or other projects on this site, I’d love to see them! Feel free to add them to my flickr pool!
Come join the parties; I’m linking up!