Wednesday 18 May 2016

Denim Jeans Drawstring Bag ~ Tutorial

Today I'm going to show you how to repurpose a pair of jeans and turn one of the legs into a drawstring bag. Pop a gift inside, and there's no need for wrapping. The bag becomes both a present and the wrapping. Read on for the tutorial...

Repurpose a pair of pre-loved jeans and make a denim drawstring bag. Pop something inside and you have two gifts in one. Tutorial by Threading My Way.

Included with today's tutorial, at the bottom of the post:
  • Giveaway ~ Clock Making Kit from Needcraft
  • Ho Ho Ho & On We Sew link party where you can add your own Christmas makes for 2016

I'll give measurements for the bag I made, but you can, of course make the bag any size you want, as long as you can find a pair of pre-loved jeans that is the required size.

Sewing with Denim
Denim is a thick fabric and not the easiest to sew. Some machines handle the thick fabric relatively easily, whilst others struggle. 
  • ALWAYS use a denim or jeans needle
  • Reduce bulk where possible
  • Go slowly
If you are not used to sewing denim, the following posts I have written will help...

  • one jeans leg
  • scraps of contrasting fabric for hexies
  • contrasting fabric for cord casing 
  • cord
  • double sided fusible webbing

  • Cut off the hem.
  • Cut jeans leg to the required length. I cut mine off at 13". 
Jeans are usually a little, or maybe a lot, wider at the bottom. Choose a portion of the leg that suits. The width of mine was 9" at the bottom and 8" at the top.

Baste Hexies:
  • Choose scraps of contrasting fabric.
  • Decide on the size and number of hexies. My hexies are just under 1".
  • Baste the hexies - in this post I have included detailed instructions on basting hexies.

Prepare Hexies for Adhering to Denim:

  • Press basted hexies
  • Remove basting stitches

  • Trace the hexie shape onto double sided fusible webbing
  • Cut inside the line so the fusible webbing is a little smaller than the hexie

  • Place the rough side of the fusible webbing on the wrong side of the hexie
  • Cover with an old cloth
  • Follow manufacturer's direction to iron the webbing onto the hexie

  • Peel off the paper. There will be a thin film of glue left on the wrong side of the hexie.
  • Place the hexies onto the denim, with the bottom of the hexies 3" from the bottom of the jeans leg.
  • Follow manufacturer's directions to iron onto the denim.

Appliqué Hexies to Denim

If you choose the right coloured thread, the stitching will be almost invisible.

Box the Bag Corners:
  • Flatten out the leg. The leg seams don't have to be at the sides. If your machine doesn't like bulky fabrics, keep both seams away from the side.
  • Sew a ⅜" seam across the bottom.
  • Neaten the seam.
  • Measure 1" from the corner of the seam line, in both directions and on both sides of the fabric. 
  • Put a mark to show where 1" is. 

  • Pull out the sides of your bag and flatten.
  • Put a pin through the top mark. If the pin comes out through the mark on the other side, your boxed corner will line up. 
  • If the pin is not coming out through the mark on the other side, reposition the fabric until it does.
  • Make sure the seams are facing in opposite directions to reduce bulk - if you end up with seams together.

  • Take the pin out.
  • With a ruler, draw a line across the fabric.
  • Hold the fabric in place while you sew.
  • Sew across the line.

  • Cut the fabric and neaten.
  • Repeat for the other side.

Sew Drawstring Casing:

  • To reduce bulk, position each jeans seam, at the top of the bag, in the opposite direction to where it naturally sits.
  • Stitch in place

  • Cut contrasting fabric - 3" x 19" - circumference of bag + (seam allowance x 2)
  • Measure and mark ½" and 1" from the edge that will join the denim.
  • Sew ¼" seam, leaving a gap between the two marks.
  • Open seam and neaten edges.

  • Stitch a rectangle around the opening.

  • Slide the contrasting fabric over the denim, right sides together.
  • Position the contrasting fabric seam away from the jeans seams.
  • Position the side with the gap closest to the denim.
  • Sew together with ⅜" seam - neaten if you wish.
  • Open out.
  • Fold over the remaining raw edge ¼" - stitch or press

  • Fold casing over to the wrong side, so it is just covering the line of stitching.
  • Baste (large hand stitches) to hold in place.
  • Topstitch a little less than ⅛" from the edge.
  • Remove basting stitches.
  • Sew a second line of stitching ½" from the first row. Each line of topstitching will be in line with the top and bottom of the gap in the seam line.
  • Using a safety pin, thread a cord through the casing.

Repurpose a pair of pre-loved jeans and make a denim drawstring bag. Pop something inside and you have two gifts in one. Tutorial by Threading My Way.

That's it. Your denim drawstring bag is finished! It measures approximately 8" x 12".

Fiona, from Celtic Thistle Stitches is helping us to get organised for Christmas, with the Ho Ho Ho and On We Sew link parties. Each month there will be...
  • a link party where everyone can add their Christmas makes
  • guest hosts with a tutorial for a Christmas / holiday-themed gift or home decoration item
  • a giveaway

This month Ho Ho Ho and On We Sew is right here at Threading My Way, just a little further down the post.

This month's giveaway prize is this lovely
clock making kit
from Dannells  -->>

If you want to be the lucky winner of this fabulous clock making kit, all you need to do is link up your Christmas / Holiday makes for this month - at the end of the post. The winner of the clock making kit will be randomly drawn when the Link-up closes at 24.00GMT on May 31st.

Thanks to our lovely sponsors, we also have random giveaways for some lucky linkers throughout this year too. Click on the icons to go to their sites.

I'm looking forward to seeing the projects linked up. If you're new to Threading My Way, welcome.

... Pam

Because of the drawstring cord, this bag is not suitable for children under 3 years of age.

I'd love you to share this post on social media.


  1. OH! That's a new to me way to do the casing for the tie(s) - must try!

  2. Pam, excellent idea for a Christmas gift bag! I love it!
    I like the clean finish of the hexies, but I'd probably machine stitch them (I just prefer everything done on the machine;).

    Anyway, your tutorial is great! And it's wonderful because after that the bag can be reused again... for anything, from jewelries to make up and so many other things!

    Loved, pined and shared! Have a great week!

    1. Sewing the hexies on the machine would definitely be quicker, Mariana. Thanks for pinning and sharing.

  3. Those hexies are really cute Pam, great fussy cutting :)

    Thanks for giving us another great tutorial for the Ho Ho Ho and on We Sew archive!

  4. That's a brilliant idea! The other half has a pair of jeans with a giant hole in them that are going to get this treatment!

  5. What a brilliant idea to fussy cut some paper piece work for decoration. Love it. I did some Christmas stuff last week, but I can't publish yet as I was doing some testing for someone. Will add later.

  6. Thank you for sharing this especially how you make the little holes for the drawstring. I have always wondered how to dot that. Maybe you could do a tutorial on interfacing because a few people (like me) have great difficulty ironing on the interfacing - either it won't stick or it wrinkles up!

  7. Thank you for the tutorial, I love all things upcycled especially out of denim. I am away to sew a bag lol

  8. Whoo this is lovely Pam, love the material and denim you used too :)

    Thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays

  9. Ok-changed my mind! LOL I'm featuring this on Friday at Pinbellish instead of the other. ;) I am not fond of the drawstring tutorial I've used in the past. My daughter needs a new one so I think I'll point her to yours! It's adorable! ;)

  10. Super cute bag, Pam!! I just published your submission! Thank you so much!!

  11. This is a gorgeous little bag, I love the contrast between the Denim and the cotton material - really cute :)

  12. I do love the little reindeer at the bottom, the trim really makes the bag. Lovely step by step instructions as always.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #Trash2Treasure

  13. Lovely bag and such a good way to give a present. #Trash2Treasure

  14. Love the hexies on this. I'm feeling bad because I've come off the Ho, ho, ho wagon these last 2 months, must try and get back on for July.

  15. I’m definitely making several of these! Wonderful. The only modification I’ll make is two openings/holes in the top drawstring casing, at opposite sides of the bag. Pulling thru two cordings, in/out opposite openings gives it that double-draw that’ll pull it tighter, easier.
    Thank you for such a really good idea and tutorial!

    1. Thanks for the feedback! Love to see pics of your bags.


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