Monday, October 11, 2010

a new drawstring bag from old jeans- kinda, sorta tutorial

Chinnu needed a new bag for sunday school. it had to have space for two books, a snack and a water bottle. I could just go out and buy a cute little bag, but then what kind of a crafter am I? ( One with tons of fabric in the guest closet, that kind).

So i decided to make a drawstring backpack. very simple, destri posted a tute to make one in 15 minutes
but did I make that? noooo. I like to make complicated things .

first, my favorite step.. browse the 'net for around 50 drawstring bag tutorials, read all of them, find out which ones have pictures, which ones have step-by step tutes, which ones look like the bag I want to make, etc etc(and read all the other tutorials on each blog, just for fun).
prudentbaby has a good one
noodlehead has an awesome tute with a zippered-pocket too
and of course, martha stewart has one

I started with the idea of making a denim bag. So, even though lots of cute fabric were waving and shouting from the shelves, I pulled out the 'mending' bin. (this is the bin that stores clothes that ponnu outgrew, but chinnu will never wear unless I cut them to half the width.) She had this really cute embroidered jeans that i think chinnu outgrew already, so i pulled that out,

Step 2...cut off the legs....

step 3. cut along the outer seam so that the embroidery was in the top corner.

Cut off the other leg and place it underneath, so both pieces are the same size after cutting.

step 4. The jeans had a slight flare , so I cut off a little around all sides (thru both layers) so it became a proper rectangle.

Now I have the two pieces, all it takes is to sew it up, right? Wrong. It has to have lining. It has to be a backpack- without buttons or grommets or anything like that. and, from my research(hem, hem) i know that denim will not gather much, so it needs a casing for the drawstrings.

okay, step 5. sew the bottom of the denim pieces( right side together), so we have a long rectangle.
step 6. Put it on the lining fabric and cut out the exact same shape. (it goes without saying that this is, in fact, The Lining.)

now, other people explain this way better than I do, so here is a picture.

so, i made the drawstring bag.

Now had to turn it into a backpack.
so i snipped the thread at the bottom side corners(wow. clear, much?),
inserted the ends of the drawstring at an angle and sewed it shut from the inside. et voila! I'm done!

heh heh. I totally ignored the directions for the drawstrings, thats because I just winged it. You can use rope, or backpack cording, or whatever you have.

I cut off (ripped) an 8" section from one selvedge to the other, (of the lining fabric, that is obvious from the pictures) folded it in half, then half again, cut it so i had two 4" strips. then cut it in half again so i had four 2"x44" strips. Sew two together end-to-end to get one loong piece, fold in both ends and sew closed like bias tape.

Now, I have the pocket of the jeans sitting idle.(no, the kids here dont like shorts.) I made a little wallet to take her tithe. just like i made it last year, with clear pockets.


  1. So so cute! I love the design on the jeans, adds the perfect touch.
    Thanks for the mention!


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