New Denim Skirt Handbag Project
Denim Skirt Handbag Projects
If you read my first article on turning denim skirts into distinctive purses, you’ll understand when I say that this bag is the second one for that Gamecock fan, and it is actually the one she chose to purchase.
The difference in these two shows how unique the bags made from denim skirts are. There are no duplicates. Planning the designs around the skirt styles and seeing them through to the finished product is a lot of fun.
Basic sewing skills and a good plan are the key ingredients you’ll need to have in order to begin. Most of the sewing is done on an average sewing machine. Once you have your plan in place you can make your supply list so you can get started.
Basic Supplies Needed
- Denim skirt (women’s size small or a girls), depending on the size bag you want to make. I use recycled ones from second-hand stores.
- Poly/cotton fabric, approximately 2/3 yard.
- If interior pockets are desired, 1/4 yard contrasting poly/cotton (or left over denim if it is lightweight).
- Some extra contrasting fabric for inside pockets and embellishments, about 1/4 yard.
- Iron-on interfacing, approximately 2/3 yard (choose your desired stiffness-I prefer a medium weight interfacing).
- One of the products that prevents fraying, like Fray Check
- Supplies needed for the style of handles you choose.
Instructions With Photos
1) Decide on the length of your bag and measure down each side adding 1”. Mark those points and draw a straight line across the skirt. Slowly cut through both front and back layers at the same time.
2) Lay the skirt on top of the lining fabric and use it as a pattern. Allow for 1/2” at the top and bottom edges of the lining. Cut the lining out (see photos) and set it aside.
3) Turn the skirt wrong side out and pin the bottom edges together. Sew a 1/2” seam across the bottom of the skirt. Reinforce that stitch with another seam on top of it.
4) Flatten the skirt's bottom corners, carefully lining up the bottom seams with the side seams. Measure from center point down the middle of the triangle to 2”, pin, mark, and sew straight across. Draw a line if that will help you make sure the seam is straight. Sew across a second time to reinforce.
5) Cut triangle off 1/4” from seam and put a dot of product to stop frays at the end of each seam--do not forget any center seams. Allow to dry according to package instructions. You now have a denim handbag shell. Turn it right side out, finger pressing corners into nice points.
6) Using the lining as a pattern, cut the iron-on interfacing 1/4” smaller than the lining. Iron in place according to package directions.
7) It's at this point that the pockets are made for the lining. For this project I layered a smaller pocket on top of a larger pocket for both sides of the lining, with the smaller pocket having a band on the top made from the lining fabric. Photos correspond with the following steps:
a. First, cut all pockets to the size wanted, adding 1/2" for seam allowances. Fold top of each large pocket over and press, then sew the fold in place.
b. Cut 2 decorative bands about 2 1/2” wide by the length of the top of the small pocket and pin one to the top of each small pocket, right sides together. Sew a 1/2” seam.
c. Fold band up and press. Fold raw edge of band back toward the top edge of the small pocket and press. Fold band over the raw edge, pin in place, and topstitch to hem.
d. Place small pocket on top of large pocket, lining up the sides. Fold sides over, press and pin together.
e. Fold top edge of large pocket over folded sides, pin in place and topstitch to hem--see 3 photos.
f. Pin center of small pockets and sew down the centers--see 2 photos.
g. Position the pocket assemblies on each side of the lining, pin in place, and topstitch sides and bottoms.
h. Use a fray stop product on the seam corners and allow to dry according to manufacturers instructions.
8) Sew the lining sides together, then the bottom seam straight across. Finish the corners exactly like the denim skirt shell corners were sewn and then trimmed.
9) For the handles I designed tabs needed to be made and added. See photos below. Keep in mind that you could make any type of handle.
a. Cut 4 pieces of denim from the cut off bottom of the skirt 3 1/2” by 2”, and cut 4 pieces of lining fabric the same size. Right sides together, pin denim pieces to lining pieces and sew the long sides together leaving ends open.
b. Turn right sides out and press. Top stitch sides for a neat finish. Fold in half and lightly press.
c. Position tabs at evenly spaced intervals to suit the design of the handle that will be used.
d. Pin in place and stitch below the top edge of the waistband.
10) Slide lining into shell and fold top edge of lining down, fitting the lining neatly into the shell with the fold just below the top stitching of the waistband, pinning into place. Hand sew the lining to the denim skirt bag using a large needle and small stitches.
11) Designing embellishments for a bag is a really fun part of these projects. I created a “belt” for this handbag that would look like a bow. Measuring the length needed and cutting the ends wider allowed me to have the bow effect without tying a large knot to the front of the bag.
12) The “belt” needed to be position properly and hand stitched in place to secure it. I created a western styled medallion for the center of the bow/belt using silver trims.
13) I used silver, black, and clear beads to make a handle, but these handles can be purchased ready to use, or you could easily make a cloth handle for a bag like this one.
*The video below offers some great tips on making bag handles out of belts.
Using Belts For Bag Handles:
A Look at DIY Denim Skirt Handbags
The first photo below is the bag that created this hub. Its new owner is delighted to use it when she goes to Gamecocks ball games.
The second and third photos are of the bag that always gets me in trouble. I designed it for my own use, but every time I take it out someone asks me to make one for them. Time seems to get in the way, though, and I can’t always say yes.
Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that it helps you design and make one for yourself or for a gift. I promise, it’s a no-fail present!
How do you feel about denim bags made from skirts?
Denim and Beyond!
I created a Pinterest board designed to help me remember ideas for working with a variety of fabrics for making bags. Embroidering denim or mixing an embroidered fabric with denim to make bags is a future goal. The holiday designs shown in craft books like Snow Happy are a great example of thinking outside the box to create a bag.