Upcycle the jeans you never wear into a denim tote

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On this episode of In The Know: Upcycled, join DIY extraordinaire Wandy The Maker (@wandythemaker) as he shows you how to turn the jeans you never wear into a denim tote that screams 2000s nostalgia!

What you’ll need: 

Step 1: Cut your jeans

First, fold your old jeans in half, lay them out on a flat surface and cut them across about 6 inches down from the inseam—but you can cut them anywhere depending on what size of bag you want to make. 

Step 2: Open the inseam and remove ridges

Cut open the inseam of your pants and remove the ridges in the crotch area and on the back by cutting them clean off. 

Step 3: Sew 

Pin the side seams of your cut pants and sew them together using a straight stitch with a quarter-inch seam allowance. Once the sides are sewn, repeat this process with the bottom seam. 

Step 4: Add width to your bag

To prevent your bag from falling flat on its side, create some width on the bottom corners. To do this, Wandy pinches the bottom corners of the bag to create a triangle. Then, he measures down 3 inches from the peak of the triangles and draws a line using tailor’s chalk that he then sews across using a straight stitch. Once those stitches are sewn in, he trims off the excess material using his cutting set

Step 5: Create the straps for your bag

Take the leftover leg material from your pants, and cut them open along the inseam and lay them out flat. Next, Wandy cuts off the hems to ensure he’s working with a straight line, and finally cuts out two 5-inch width pieces for the straps.

Step 6: Sew the strap pieces together

With your two 5-inch pieces facing right sides together, sew them together at the top to create one long piece. Wandy cuts off any excess material to ensure his straps aren’t longer than 36 inches. 

Step 7: Sew the strap seam and then turn it inside out 

If you don’t have a loop turner for this step, Wandy shows you how to do it using a shoelace. First, he lays it out in the middle of his strap piece and then folds the strap in half over the shoelace, with the inside of the denim material facing out. He sews the shoelace into place at the top and pins along the seam of the strap. Then he sews the strap, making sure the shoelace doesn’t get up under the seam. Once the seam is sewn, Wandy pulls the secure side of the shoelace through the strap itself to turn it right side out.  Finally, he cuts off the shoelace, and sews a top stitch on both ends of the strap. 

Step 8: Repeat

Repeat steps 5-7 to make your other strap. 

Step 9: Attach your straps to the bag

Sew each end of your strap to the inside of your bag. There should be 4 ends for you to sew. Once your straps are secure, your bag is ready to rock!

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