A contest-winning purse created from a recycled pair of jeans.
- Four pairs of jeans, similar size
- All-purpose thread to match jeans
- 9-inch x 16-inch piece of denim or other fabric for backing the woven section
- Purchased embroidered appliques (optional)
- Magnetic purse closure
- Recycled leather belt
- Standard sewing supplies
- Lay a pair of jeans flat. Cut straight across each pant leg just below the crotch seam to remove each leg.
- The inner seam usually has two rows of topstitching, and the outer seam usually has a single row of topstitching. Cut along opposite long edges of each the inner and outer leg seams to create two seam strips of equal width and two leg sections from each pant leg. These seam strips will be used for the woven piece on the front of the purse.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 with each remaining pair of jeans.
- Place 9-inch x 16-inch piece fabric right side up on a flat surface.
- Place seam strips on top of fabric with narrow ends along one short edge of the fabric, covering entire piece. Alternate the double- and single-stitched seams as desired. Topstitch close to the end across one narrow end of strips, to hold the strips to the fabric piece. Cut strips even with opposite short edge of fabric piece.
- In the same way, add strips along one long edge of the entire fabric piece.
- Working in an over-one, under-one pattern, weave the strips
- Sew around about 1/8 inch from the outside edges of the woven piece to secure all ends. Trim excess as needed.
- Remove the back yoke piece, including the waistband and belt loops from the top of another pair of jeans. Set the front piece and the back pocket piece aside for another project.
- Overlap the back yoke section along the top (long edge) of the woven section and topstitch in place.
- Sew all seams with right sides facing and a short straight stitch. Trim seams to 1/4 inch outside stitching. Overcast or serge seams for greater durability.
- Select a second jeans top for the lining. Open the waistband stitching at the center front and remove the zipper. Sew the center front seam again to make a flat rectangular piece. Overlap the waistband section at the center front and topstitch edges together.
- Sew the center back seam (between the back pockets) from the crotch to the yoke, making a flat rectangular piece the same size as the front.
- Select third jeans top and cut along side seams, separating the front and back. Save the front for another project.
- Taper the center back seam (between the pockets) from the crotch to the yoke, making a rectangular piece the same size as the front.
- Measure the purse back and, if needed, cut two pieces of denim to extend each side of the purse front to match the back.
- In the same way, measure and add a denim piece as needed to make the length of the front purse piece equal to the length of the back.
- Sew the side pieces and then the bottom piece to the front of the purse. Trim excess woven edges.
- Sew purchased appliques or other embellishments on front as desired.
- Purse bottom:
- For a flat bottom, cut a piece of denim from a pant leg equal to the width of the purse x 3-1/2 inches.
- Sew the piece’s long edges to the bottom edge of the front and back purse pieces.
- Sew the front and back purse pieces together along the sides. With right sides facing, center the side seam of the purse along the center of the purse bottom, forming triangles at each end. Sew across each triangle between seams. See Fig. 1 above. Trim seam to 1/4 inch.
- Cut two 5-inch-wide x 26-inch- long pieces of denim.
- With right sides facing and edges matching, sew long edges of each together with a narrow seam, tapering one narrow end and leaving the other narrow end open. Turn each right side out.
- Pin open end of each strap to opposite sides of inside of the purse top.
- Attach magnetic purse closure to center front and back of lining.
- Slip lining inside purse with wrong sides facing and strap extending from waistband. Pin to hold.
- Topstitch around top and bottom edges of waistband, stitching purse, straps and lining together.
- Tie ends of purse straps together in an overhand knot.
- Thread belt through loops on outside of purse, and buckle in front.
Craft originally sent in by Kathy Eckman of Ephrata, Pennsylvania.