Saturday, September 6, 2014

Re-cycling denim to market bags

   We decided to get rid of/donate a very large ottoman that I had covered in denim many years ago.   Since the denim was in good shape--does this stuff every wear out?--, I ripped it off to reuse in another project.  I had about 54 inches square and figured I could get about 3 market style bags out of it.  Perfect to have for gift giving this Christmas.....and filled with cookies, breads, and such.
I worked through this one first to get the logistics worked out.  I wanted an easy finish to the seams.....denim frays so much.  I wanted an smaller size that ended up about 14' tall and 12" wide.
  I cut the body of the bag from the denim---18" by 32".   I used French seams on both sides. This is a 2 step process that encases the raw edges, and usually the seams are narrow.

 So here is my version First, stitch each side on the outside---wrong sides together about 3/8" from the edge.  Turn the bag inside out.
  After pressing flat, stitch another seam along both sides.....about 3/8" to 1/2" from the edge.  This should encase the raw edges and give a nice finished edge  on the inside.

      For the boxed corner.....I wanted it fairly deep about 6" wide.  That would be nice and roomy for goodies.
Since I had no bottom seam on this version, I chalked along the folded bottom to help line it up.  A seam 3 inches from the  corner point proved to be just what I needed.

 To help stabilize the bottom and still have no raw edges, I did not cut that triangle flap off.  Instead I stitched in down to the bottom of the bag.  Not exactly an easy maneuver, but doable.
  This is the finished inside of the bag.

The top edge was quickly finished off with a folded strip of cotton cut at 5" by 32".   I joined the ends of the cotton to have a finished circle for the top.   I sewed the raw edges of the folded strip to the inside/wrong side of the denim.   Then the folded edge was turned to the outside/right side of the bag.  The handles were cut 26" long from bought cotton strapping.   I tucked the ends of the handles between the bag body and the folded cotton and then top stitched all the way around the bag......once to secure the folded edge and again along the top edge.

    On the last bag, I increase the width of the top band by cutting it 6 1/2" wide.  I like it better.
     I still have small sections of denim left.....I may have to piece them together and see if I can get one more!  Don't you love the chili pepper fabric....ugh!  I have no idea who gave me that, but I am sure I did not buy it.  But I actually like it for these bags.  Now they are ready to be filled.

   I have been "unplugged" for a few days  while we are visiting daughter.....this post was suppose to publish a couple of days ago, but I think I forgot to hit publish.     I really needed one of these bags for the goodies found at the local Farmer's time I will be prepared.   Happy stitching till I return.


  1. What a great way to recycle that denim! Market bags are the rage these days. I've made my DD several out of some of those polywoven feed bags that we get when we buy sunflower seeds and feed for our sheep. Everyone in this neck of the woods loves chili pepper fabric. ;) My DD has a chili pepper quilt that I made her years ago. Thanks for the excellent tutorial.

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  3. (sorry, messed up my first reply!) A good recycle! I'm always so grateful to my mom for showing me French seams! I think they're so under-used as I never see anyone do them. I find them so neat (just used them a couple days ago, in fact)! Hope you had a nice visit!

  4. Very nice, love the french seams and boxed corner.

  5. Great repurposing of the denim. A fun bag always comes in handy!

  6. Great looking bags and super repurposing.

  7. Excellent and sturdy market bags you have stitched with your denim fabric. One can never have too many bags. Creative Denim Bliss...

  8. Hi Debbie,
    I've finished my hexie Mrs. Claus dolly quilt - after several years. I can't find the address to send it to. Please send me the address.

  9. Love the bags! I really like the idea of leaving the triangle at the bottom and stitching it down, brilliant!!

  10. Another great tutorial and idea for a future project!

  11. Oh my, you are industrious! Great recycling!

  12. Oh, great use for the denim. Thanks for the tutorial! I can see using jeans legs for this as well, maybe. I like the idea of using cotton fabric for the "binding" for the top edge.

  13. I like this design a lot. Just need to get busy one of these days and actually make some bags instead of hauling my grungy unwashable ones to the store!

  14. I tooo like the design and love the idea of recycled denim. I've always wanted to make this kind of bag for my second graders. maybe if we have another winter like last....I will. :)Thanks for the inspiration and for sharing at Tuesday Archives. V


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