Upcycle Your Blue Jeans Into a Crossbody Purse

Upcycle Jean Crossbody Purse Finished1

If you are cleaning out your closet, don’t throw out those old, outdated, worn out blue jeans. Instead, turn those once loved castoffs into new accessories. Upcycle those blue jeans into new crossbody purses that are perfect for a casual date night, shopping at the mall or strolling through your favorite seasonal festivals.

The long crossbody handle will hold your essentials safe at your hip while keeping your hands free to shop, play or hold hands with your honey. The denim purse pouch is fully lined, measures approximately 7″ x 8 1/2″ and has a magnetic snap closure to secure the opening. It also includes a bonus, outer pocket made by recycling a back pocket from the same jeans the pouch was made from.

But wait! The style doesn’t stop there. Fringe along the bottom gives this fun bag a gypsy, bohemian flair and the fringe didn’t cost a dime. It was recycled from an old bedspread. No need to sweat it if you don’t have a bedspread to recycle. You can find fringe on other old linens and clothes. If all else fails, check out local thrift stores or yard sales for your fringe trim. You may even find clothes in a fabric you just have to use for the lining.

Are you ready? Then let’s whip one up!

Things You Need:

How To:

Step 1:

Cut off one leg from a pair of old blue jeans. Open the leg along the outer side seam and lay flat on your work surface. Using an ink pen, trace a 9″ x 14 1/2″ rectangle on the denim and cut out. This is the body of the purse.

Step 2:

Using a seam ripper, remove one back pocket from the jeans.

Step 3:

Lay the body rectangle on your work surface with the long edges running horizontal. These are the top and bottom edges of the purse. Center and pin the pocket to the body, 1 3/4″ below the top edge. Top stitch the pocket to attach. Keep the pocket functional. Do not sew across the top of the pocket.

Step 4:

Cut a 14 1/2″ length of fringe. Lay the fringe on the bottom edge of the body and pin. Top stitch the fringe to secure.

Upcycle Jean Crossbody Purse Step3 4 pocket fringe

Step 5:

Fold the body in half with the right sides facing and the short edges matching. Pin the short edges together and sew using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Open the seam and press. Now you have a tube.

Step 6:

Turn the tube right side out. Lay the body tube “flat” on your work surface with the pocket facing up and centered. Pin the bottom opening closed over the stitching on the fringe. Top stitch over the same stitching to close the bottom of the purse.

Upcycle Jean Crossbody Purse Step5 6 purse body

Step 7:

Cut a 10″ x 14 1/2″ rectangle from your chosen lining fabric. Note: Lining fabric can be any light to medium weight fabric.

Step 8:

Fold the lining rectangle in half with the right sides together and the short edges matching. Pin the short edges and sew using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Open the seam and press. DO NOT turn right side out.

Step 9:

Fold down 1/2″ around one open edge of the lining tube to the wrong side and press. This is the top edge of the lining.

Step 10:

Lay the lining tube “flat” on your work surface with the seam centered from top to bottom. Pin the bottom edges together and sew using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Upcycle Jean Crossbody Purse Step8 10 lining

Step 11:

Insert the wrong-side-out lining into the right-side-out body. Note: The lining will extend 1/2″ above the top of the body.

Step 12:

Twist and shift until the back seams are lined up. Fold the extended 1/2″ of the lining over the top edge of the body and pin. Using a matching thread, top stitch the pinned edge to secure.

Upcycle Jean Crossbody Purse Step11 12 attach lining

Step 13:

Layer a jean scrap and a lining fabric scrap together with the right sides together. Trace a 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangle on the layers. Pin and cut out. Sew around the layers using 1/4″ seam allowance and leaving one short end open. This is the closure tab.

Step 14:

Trim the tab corners and turn right side out. Press the tab flat. Fold 1/4″ inside the open end of the tab and press.

Step 15:

Lay the purse body on your work surface with the back facing up. Center the opening of the tab on the center seam with the jean side facing up and the remainder of the tab extending above the purse. Pin the opening to the purse. Top stitch the tab’s pinned edge to the purse.

Upcycle Jean Crossbody Purse Step15 attach tab

Step 16:

Cut off and open the other leg of the jeans in the same way as the first. Cut long 2″ wide strips from the length of the leg. Sew the ends of the strips together using a 1/4″ seam allowance. You will need a strip with a 50″ length. This is the handle strap for the purse.

Step 17:

Make the handle. Lay the strip on your ironing surface. Fold the strip in half with the wrong sides facing and the long edges matching. Press the fold to create a crease. Open the strip. Fold again with the long edges meeting at the crease and press. Do not unfold. Fold in half again with the long folded edges matching. Press and pin. Top stitch along the pinned edge. Turn the strip over and top stitch along the other long edge to finish the handle.

Upcycle Jean Crossbody Purse Step17 make handle

Step 18:

Attach the handle. Re-measure and cut your handle to a 50″ length. Pin one handle end on the outside of the purse, 1″ below the top on a side edge. Pin the other end of the handle to the other side edge of the purse, being careful not to twist the handle. Top stitch around the 1″ pinned section on one handle end. You will have a rectangular-shaped stitch pattern on the handle end. Top stitch an “X” in the rectangle from corner to corner. Repeat on the other handle end. Note: The handle length is for an average to tall person. Adjust for length prior to attaching by draping the handle across the body for a new measurement or tie a section of the finished handle into a loop knot to shorten.

Upcycle Jean Crossbody Purse Step18 attach handle

Step 19:

Attach the magnetic purse snap. Lay the purse on your work surface with the lining side facing up. Center one washer on the tab, 1/2″ from the end. Mark the openings in the washer with an ink pen. Using a seam ripper or small pointed scissors, cut slits in the marks through both layers of the tab. From the denim side of the tab to the lining side, insert the prongs of the male half of the snap set. The prongs will protrude on the lining side. Place a washer over the prongs. Bend the prongs over using the flat end of a screwdriver. Working on the center front of the purse, attach the female half of the snap set 3/4″ down from the top edge in the same way as the male half.
Upcycle Jean Crossbody Purse Step19 attach snaps

Step 20:

Embellish the tab. The back of the snap is visible on the outside of the tab. To camouflage it you will need to embellish. Place a spool of thread on a scrap of leather and trace around one end. Cut out the circle. Center a 7/8″ flat button on the leather circle. Using a coordinating thread color, hand sew the button to the circle. Apply E-6000 adhesive to the back of the leather circle. Center the circle over the back of the snap and allow the adhesive to dry.

Upcycle Jean Crossbody Purse Step20 embellish tab

Now grab more jeans from your castoff stash and make another…or two…or a dozen to match all your outfits or to give as gifts.

Upcycle Jean Crossbody Purse Finished2