Monday, December 12, 2016

Upcycled Denim Jeans Handbags

One of my favorite projects is the upcycled denim jeans messenger styled handbags I made just about thirty of in 2013 and gave them as gifts to my female friends and family members. I got the idea from two tutorials I saw on youtube. I combined them in my own way. Below is a rough tutorial on my style of denim jean bags.

The first two part tutorial is by Izzy MEIMsaab on youtube, part one shows you have to make the bag:

The second part shows you how to line the bag:

The next youtube tutorial is from Threadbanger and I only took the flap part as inspiration:

I also have added an inner slip pocket to mine. You can easily add your own with machine sewing. Or you can sew the entire bag by hand like I did before I was given my mother's Necchi Supernova. The first tutorial, Izzy MEIMsaab's two part denim bag tutorial will show you how to cut, sew and line a pair of denim jeans into the bag itself. So I won't cover that, she shows you how to 'box' the corners to give the bag depth, and how to make and hand stitch the lining into the bag, but I will show you how to make the strap and flap, I line my flap and top stitch it as well.

You have to skip one area, the big bulky seam, and do that by hand if you desire. If possible I will machine sew the strap to the bag, and then pin the flap into the bag, check it for length and then sew it onto the bag when I sew the lining in.

A note on jeans to use, I like to use Junior sizes, my general rule of thumb is to measure the waist of the jeans against my forearm, if they are longer then the length of 14"-15" (from the crook of my elbow to the tip of my middle finger) they usually get put back on the rack, unless they are spectacular. You have to consider you're making a pair of jeans into a purse and don't need it to be diaper bag sized, so finding a cool pair of Junior sized jeans at the local thrift store is always exciting for me.

First photo up is the sewn bottom, this is just like tutorial I linked you to by Izzy MEIMsaab, you just sew it, AFTER you've done the first steps of cutting out the bag from the jeans, and sewing the front seam and back crotch seams evening them out.

Next you will follow her tutorial for "boxing" the corners to give the bag some depth. I use a 2" allowance as she does in the video, I find it makes for a nice sized bag. Then you follow the directions Izzy MEIMsaab has in the second part of her video tutorial on making a recycled denim bag, for making the lining. If you want an inner pocket like I have added, you would add it to the lining before stitching it up the sides and "boxing the corners." The inner pocket will look like this when you've got it in the bag afterwards. just measure one out the size you need, I went with 1/2" seam allowance on my edges, and hand stitched the top hem down.

Then you stitch the lining down to the boxed corners of the denim bag:

Then you want to make the strap, you can do it like IzzayMEIMsaab does or, if want a cross body or shoulder strap you can make it like I've done here. You cut out the strap pieces from the one leg of the pants. I usually try for 6 1/2" wide and try to end up with a 44" finished strap so I can easily slip it between the jeans and the lining and sew it on to secure it. After cutting your two pieces, you then sew the two long pieces together, right sides together, and then trim the seam.

Then you fold the edges towards the middle and iron it down.

Then fold the two folds to towards one another making a thinner, stronger strap, iron and proceed to top stitching You'll want to do both sides.

This you top stitch down the sides, to the middle seam, where you'll have to back stitch and end the seam, and continue after the big folded bulgy seam and the middle of the strap, starting with back stitching. Using the second leg, cut out a flap piece. I like to have the smaller thin side seam run down the middle of the flap. Measure it to the length you want and make sure you go at least 4" or 5" longer then you think you need, and then cut a lining piece to match. Sew down the three sides that will be seen, no need or use to sew the part that goes in the back of the purse. This makes it easy to turn inside out too.

Then turn right side out when you're done and top stitch. It will look somewhat like this:

Now you have your strap made you can sew it on the purse by hand or use your machine and back stitch it a few times, for added strength. Next once you have your flap lined and the lining finished, it's time to pin down everything together.

You need to put the flap in between the lining as shown above and the raw denim of the jeans part, sandwich it in between these two layers, and pin, making sure you adjust it so that you have it fall onto the front of the purse where you need it to land. Also at this point make sure you like the drape of it, if you just slap it in there it will most likely need redoing, so take care on this step and adjust it to your liking.

Hand stitch this as Izzy MEIMsaab shows in part two of her tutorials on the front area, and on the back you need to do a running stitch, I like to roll up a piece of denim and use it to push the needle through the thick layers. This part takes about 45 minutes if you take your time and then you will have your finished purse! Hope you enjoyed the alterations I have added to my style of these recycled denim purses. I hope you find fun ways to embellish your purses, here's a few of my finished examples. You can crochet corkscrew fringe, add buttons, paint, or even Bedazzle the flaps on your denim purses, but the most important part is to enjoy it. Here's a few I've made:

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Huff n' Cuff's Free Taylor Unisex Bag

I know it's been a long time since I posted, things have been going on, but I finally found time to finish my first Taylor. I love it. It wasn't a hard bag to sew, but I did do it a bit different from the pattern. I didn't have anything on the outside, going for an inner slip pocket instead. Next time I might try adding a zipper and a second magnetic button for a slip pocket on the outside. I love the results here. I'll jump right in, I will be making a Taylor using the cool animal fabric next time. I went with my favorite leopard print and black vinyl  this time. Here's the parts cut, and interfaced, which took me about an hour to do. I sat each time for about an hour.

This was my first ever magnetic button, and I am very pleased it worked out as nicely as it did. If you're intimidated by putting in one of these, don't be, if you take your time and make sure the hole you dig through isn't too large you'll do fine. I love the results.

Here is the inner slip pocket pinned down. I interfaced this as well as doubled it over and folded under the raw edges. I love my vintage Singer 201-2, it didn't even hiccup doing any of this until the final top stitching on the almost finished bag.

I did this bag in three sittings, not counting interfacing time and fabric cutting. Here was the result of the second sitting:

Here it is with the strap and hardware on it:

Here is the finished lining with the slip pocket sewn in:

Attaching the lining to the exterior according to the pattern directions:

Final top stitching:

And finally, the finished bag!

I hope you like it, next time I'll be adding the front zipper pocket, but this time I wanted clean lines to experiment and I am so glad I did. I hope you liked this bag as much as I do! If you are looking for a cool little cross body bag, this one is charming and I love what my fabric choices ended up like this time. Next time I'll be doing the animal jungle fabric. Here's a link to the free pattern:

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Got some gorgeous fabric, using with the Taylor Free PDF pattern

I apologize for it taking so long before getting another entry posted, but I have had things getting in the way of my sewing time. At least I did get my mother's day present sewn in time. But I am finding I want to make a bag to carry my phone and whatnots around the house and this cute little cross body bag suits me just fine!

That is the free pattern on the maker's blog Huff 'n Cuffs Patterns, I really like it and went a little ape over this fabric, I have a shirt it reminded me of and I would love a bag of this stuff! So this is the pattern I'll be using and I bought some fabric and zippers to use for pockets.

I'll update when I have photos of actual bags to share, but I thought this was a great pattern and I didn't just want to use denim and vinyl, so I got these. Have to get some hardware still and light-medium weight fusible interfacing. Then I'll have these ready to sew. Hope everyone is have a great start to their weekend! I am hoping to get some time to sew this weekend. Thanks for dropping by! 

Here's a photo of the shirt this fabric reminded me of: 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Project: single paneled drapery replacing vertical blinds

Wow, I've been busy, we have totally rearranged two major rooms in our home in the past week and more to come. I am going to be making a single panel to hook up to the current vertical blinds track, that way we can still use the pull/push bar to slide the curtain back. I've been wanting to work on this for awhile, but did not think my mother's Necchi Supernova would handle it well. Lucky for me I picked up a vintage Singer 201-2 in December and haven't stopped sewing since. Here is my fabric choice, you can see from the first photo the whole pattern, but we chose a cream color rather than the deep rich brown in this first photo. Isn't it an amazing fabric?

I borrowed this awesome book from the local library, if I needed a book on interior decorating windows and window treatments, this would be the one I'd have to own. It's really great, so check your library, they are a great resource for getting your hands on good books for how to sew. There are just so many techniques to learn with regards to sewing, particularly for window treatments and curtains. If you want to learn about the wide variety of options out there, check it out:

Here is the dinning room and a partial view of the glass doors, followed by a full on view of the glass doors. I have regular drapery hooks and will use 3" wide drapery tape that I bought when I bought the hooks and fabric. Cannot wait to update with the finished set up.

This is after the treadmill came out here to live, and got out of my bedroom where I have my desks set up. One for the computer and a television, and the other with my sewing machines. 

Hoping to make it today, without lining, and get it hung by dinner time. If so I'll edit a photo of it hanging in here so you can see it all set up. Have a great day everyone and thank you for checking out my sewing blog today. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

New news boy hat for me and a bucket hat for Mother, for Mother's day

The great thing about seeing a few projects ahead by having numerous ones already cut, organized and ready to sew, is that you can pick whatever project suits your mood. Top of my life was to make at least 3 news boy hats to replace my beloved broken in denims. I have a few cut out, but the micro-suede was my first choice. I made one in camel and it's awesome, hasn't left my head in three days from the moment it literally was being finger pressed fresh from the machine. I have bucket hats cut out too, and this one will get a little bit more personalizing before it goes with Mom home. We picked out a lovely ribbon, rainbow jigsaw to support autism awareness and I'll be setting the brim a bit with the walking foot, and the quilting guide, sewing a few circles around it's brim.

Here's a look at how I stored it in our project box:

That is a gallon sized plastic storage bag and it's perfect for like 4 hats, cut and ready to sew. Here is my news boy, I'll post on it soon but I have to make it a custom ribbon out of this gorgeous fury leopard fabric I just had to go grab 3 & 1/2 more yards of. The store closed this weekend and I'm rather sad. I brought my newsboy and let her look at it and she made a point to have her husband hold it and feel it too. They were pretty impressed with how well the fabric worked in a hat application.

If I am able to really make this hat sing, and work better, I'll be very happy.Take a look at the way I notched it before I joined the lining to the cap fabric: 

Unfortunately, not every top stitched hat goes according to my best hopes and I miss entire bits in this same location. I've never had any complaints about my hand stitches though, so I am always able to close up such mistakes, but it's the mistakes that should hold the sewing lessons for us. This one had too large of a brim. Now that I didn't use my good fabric, as in the purple or black micro-suedes, I have tested the pattern in this fabric and found some things I need to do in order to make these work in this pattern.

I'll be using this leopard fabric here to make a custom hat band on this one: 

As for the bucket hat, here's the two caps sewn up and ready to set together.

As you can see I've been a busy little bee for the past three days sewing. I am looking forward to finishing both of these. I'm getting myself the coolest gift for Mother's day. And the fact it's a clamp means I can move it easily from in my sewing area here to out by my spot in the main house where I like to hand sew. I think it will be a great asset for my hobby. Magnifying Lamp Clamp Hope everyone has a great end to their weekends, I'm going to clean this morning, and then veg out in my sewing area. Thanks for checking out the blog!