My teenage sons cleaned out their closets and after bagging up what I would send to the Salvation Army, I still had a substantial pile of clothes that I saved for crafting potential projects. There was an abundance of jeans, and jeans are a favorite craft supply of mine. These jeans in particular were cast-offs from the baggy, wide-leg craze. Too bad for fashion, but great for me.
The wide tube of the legs were roomy enough for a purse, so I used fabric accents and transformed the gender-specific jeans into a darling ruffled purse with a frayed flower.
This project only takes a couple of hours to complete. If sewing several, make them all at once and do each step in an assembly line.
Adult or teen jeans with a wide leg
2/3-yard lining fabric, 45-inch wide (also used for ruffle and flower)
Hand sewing needle and thread
Cut off the hem of one leg. Measure up 13 inches from the cut edge of the jean leg and cut. This is the bag part of the purse. Cut two, 3-inch wide by 18-inch long strips of denim from the other leg for the purse handles.
Lay the jean section on top of two layers of the lining fabric at least a 1/2-inch from the edge. Pin the denim to the fabric. Cut the fabric even with the cut edges of the leg. Cut the fabric along the sides of the leg 1/2 inch larger.
Cut one strip from the fabric 5 inches wide by the 45-inch width of your fabric for the ruffle. Cut a strip 1 1/2 inches wide by the fabric’s width for the decorative frayed flower.
Turn the jean section wrong side out. The widest end is the top of the purse. Pin the bottom closed and sew using a 1/2-inch seam allowance. With the right sides together, pin the sides and bottom edge of the lining and sew, leaving a 3-inch opening in the center of the bottom seam.
Cut a 1-inch square from the bottom corners of the bag and the lining. Open one square corner hole of the bag. Squeeze the square on the diagonal, matching the side seam of the bag and the bottom seam. Pin the edges together and sew. Repeat on the other corner of the bag and the corners of the lining.
Fold the ruffle strip in half with the right sides facing and the short ends matching. Pin the short ends together and sew. The strip is now a ring. Fold the width of the ring in half with the wrong sides facing and the long edges matching. Iron the fold.
Tie a knot in one end of crochet thread. Place the raw edge of the folded ruffle under your presser foot. Place the knot of the crochet thread behind the presser foot and lower the foot. Set your sewing machine to a wide zigzag stitch. Sew around the raw edge of the ruffle strip with a zigzag stitch over the crochet thread. The zigzag creates a casing over the thread. Cut and knot the thread where the two ends meet.
Turn the denim bag right side out. Place the ruffle ring over the top of the bag with the raw edge of the ruffle even with the raw edge of the bag. Pull the ends of the crochet thread to gather the ruffle. When the raw edges of the ruffle are gathered to the same size as the opening of the bag, pin the ruffle to the bag’s edge. Sew the pinned edge using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.
Lay one handle on your ironing surface with the wrong side facing up. Fold the long edges to the center and press. Fold the strip in half again, matching the long edges. Pin and sew the long edges. Repeat with the remaining handle.
Center the ends of a handle on one side of the purse’s top edge and separate by 3 1/2 inches. Pin the ends to the top edge of the purse. Repeat on the other side of the purse.
Slip the right-side-out purse bag inside the wrong-side-out lining bag. Match the top edges and pin. Sew around the pinned edge. Turn the purse right side out through the opening in the lining. Hand sew the opening in the lining closed. Flip the ruffle to stand straight up. Iron the top edge of the purse.
Hand-sew a running stitch along one long edge of the flower strip. Pull the thread to gather the strip to approximately 12 inches long. Do not cut the thread. Roll and form the naturally curling gathers into a spiral flower approximately 4 inches in diameter. Tack the layers of each spiral on the back of the flower. Hand sew a 1-inch button to the front-center of the flower. Hand-sew the flower to the front-top-center of the purse.