Sunday, April 1, 2012

Flat Felled Seam Denim Bag Tutorial

Do you have a pile of flat felled seams from all those jeans you cut up? Like me, you can't bear to toss them out?  Okay, so you don't. But start saving them!  Here's a great use!  I'll show you how to make a bag using the currently popular wrapped clothesline method. No clothesline involved, just flat felled seams!
Trim your seams neatly on both sides
Attach the trimmed seams, short or long, with a zig zag stitch until you have a good long working length. You can keep adding as you build the purse and it grows to the size you want.
To begin, snip part way through the seam so that you can bend it into a U shape and begin zig zagging. I measured about 1.5 inches before I snipped. 
Bend at the snip into U shape and zig zag, to join, wrapping around itself. As if you are making a mat (another good use for flat felled seams!)
Turning and zig zag stitching as you go
Here I am adding some more length.
Keep going until you have the base the size you desire. Now tilt on a 45 degree angle.  Stretch the denim a little tilting and building the sides of the bag as you go.
This takes some practice, it will start to get bulky.
Keep going until the bag is the size you want.  As you get better you can flare or adjust the shape.  You should go back and check your stitching periodically. Make sure you are butting the seams together snuggly and they are well joined.  If they aren't, just go back and stitch over the area to catch both sides. Don't be fussy, you'll enjoy the project so much more.
You can finish off with some lining and some straps. The bag is quite serviceable with no lining. 

**Lining is another lesson, measuring the circumference of your bag for the sides and using the finished bag base, draw a circle for the base of your lining, every bag is different. Stitch finished lining to finished bag, wrong side together**

 I made my straps from two long lengths butted together.  Zig zag both sides of the joined strips, then stitch firmly in place.  For this project use heavy duty size 16 or denim needles. (The thick layers of stitching the handles in place could cause needle breakage.)

How about a recycled leather belt for handles? Some vintage buttons for accents? Use up, make do.
It was worth the effort!
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23 comments:

  1. Gorgeous bag! Thank you for sharing this tutorial.

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  2. What a great idea! I wonder how many bags I could have made, if I hadn't thrown out so many pairs of jeans (we are a family of 6)? I have added this to my list of things to try. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. You could also make denim mats or rugs. Just keep building the flat base until it's a usable size for a mat!

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  3. What size needle did you use?

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    1. Hi Susan, I'm glad you like my bag, it's very simple to make.
      "For this project use heavy duty size 16 or denim needles. (The thick layers of stitching the handles in place could cause needle breakage.)"
      Happy Stitching!
      Colleen

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    2. thank you for sharing stunning chel xx

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  4. Wonderful idea!!!
    I have a huge bag full of jeans to recycle, and I never knew what to do with this part of the jeans. Thanks a lot for the tutorial.
    Greetings from Venezuela.

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  5. grazie per questo tutorial. Molto bello e utile

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  6. This is so fantastic! Thank you for sharing your tutorial.

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  7. wow, what a fantastic idea!!! and now, i need more jeans...
    K.

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    1. look in thrift store, usually can pick up jeans cheap. Just wash and dry, and your off to a really good start of stock piling your fabric. Don't be afraid to blend colors.

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  8. I wish you would sell this on Etsy, I would totally buy it. So cute!

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  9. Oh, My, Gosh!!! I love this and I have a huge stack of jeans in the attic just waiting for something... I see a sewing day in my future. Thanks so much for the tutorial. ~Ann

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  10. Wow this is year 2015 and your tutorial on this gorgeous bag was the year 2012. But it's never too late to start saving the demin jean trims and building myself a gorgeous bag. I am looking forward to adding this type of bag to my bag collection; a felt felled seam bag. Thanks for this tutorial. :-)

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    1. That's right Marian, start saving! It's a great sturdy bag that I use for toting projects around in.

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  11. Wow, this is great! Your bag is stunning! Am saving mine up.

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  12. This is great ! I do have piles of old jeans too ... But I Wonder about the thickness of the 2 stripes ... Might be too much for my old machine ....But ... Your bag is great , I might give it a try , thank you for the idea ... I can try with a small table mat first .

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    1. Hi Mascottblog. Only use one layer of the seam strips butted side to side. Two layers would definitely be too thick. Use two seams (or strips) for the handles, side by each. Use a heavy duty needle and strong thread. ENJOY!

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  13. Que gran idea, gracias por compartirla

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