Upcycled Denim Tote Bag



Recycled fabric projects can extend the life of your old clothes and help you save money on supplies. Use an oversized or outdated pair of jeans to create a sturdy Upcycled Denim Tote Bag from Cyndee Kromminga. You can use this bag all year long and store everything you need.



  • Old blue jeans
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Fabric for the lining
  • Iron


  1. Cut 18, 6-inch squares from your stash of old blue jeans.
  2. Position your squares in two different nine-patch arrangements. The nine-patches will be the front and back to the tote. Sew the arranged patches together by placing each square with the wrong sides facing each other and using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. The raw seams will be on the outside of the tote bag. Open the seams and iron them flat.

  3. Place the two, nine-patches together with the wrongs sides facing each other. Align the edges and choose which edge will be the bottom of your tote. Cutting through both layers, round the bottom corners.
  4. Cut out a jean pocket 1/4-inch beyond the edges. Center the pocket on the front of one tote bag side and pin. Sewing through the extra fabric at the edge of the pocket, attach the pocket. Tip: A zipper foot will allow you to get as close to the edge of the pocket as possible.

  5. Fold your chosen lining fabric into two layers with the right sides facing each other. Place one tote bag side on the layers with the right side facing up. Using the bag side as your pattern, cut through both layers of the lining fabric. Including the tote bag side, you now have three stacked layers. Lay the remaining tote bag side on your work surface with the wrong side facing up. Place the layered stack on top. Pin around the sides and bottom to keep the pieces from shifting. Do not pin along the top edge or the first couple of inches down from the top.
  6. Cut two 2 1/2-inch-wide by 18-inch-long strips from the lining fabric. These are your handles. Fold one handle in half with the right sides facing and the long edges matching. Pin the long edges together and sew using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Do not sew the ends. Repeat with the remaining handle strip. Turn the handles right side out and press. Top stitch along both long edges of each handle 1/4-inch from the edge.

  7. Lay the tote on your work surface. Insert 1/2 inch of the ends on one handle between the top two layers of the stack. Center one end behind the seam of the first two squares and the other end behind the seam of the last two squares. Pin the two layers and the handle together. Flip the bag over and pin the remaining handle in the same way.
  8. Fold the top edge on the back of the tote out of the way. Sew the top edge on the front using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. This will secure the handles and finish the top edge. Flip the bag over and sew the other top edge in the same way.

  9. Sewing through all the layers of the tote bag, sew the pinned side and bottom edges.


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