I have a pile of jeans sitting in my closet right now that I just don’t wear anymore. For some reason, when it comes to jeans, I never want to toss them (or donate them). So they end of piling up until I can’t take it anymore. And that day has come! And actually, I was able to snag a few pairs of Jeff’s jeans too that are too big for him.
So, I brought all of our old jeans into work, bleached a pair to listen then up and give ’em a bit more visual texture, and Rachel helped me whip up an upcycled jean clutch that I’m officially obsessed with.
Want to make your own? Here’s how…
- 7 inch zipper
- old pair of non-stretch jeans
- straight pins
- chalk or disappearing ink pen
- sewing machine
1. (Optional) Before you get started, if you’re unhappy with the color of the jeans you are using, an easy solution is spraying them with bleach. This will lighten them up and give them a more uneven, realized look (which I like – but it’s a preference thing).
To bleach the jeans, put them in a large sink, add bleach to a spray bottle, and spray away. Be sure to wear gloves and give the jeans a few minutes to sit with the bleach on it before soaking them in water to stop the jeans from deteriorating. Do not soak the jeans in water until you can visibly see the change in color that you are looking for.
The jeans in the before photo are what they looked like after I bleached them (forgot to take a picture before the bleaching process).
2. Once the jeans are completely dry, create a template for your clutch. I wanted a half circle, so we laid the zipper down at the top of the fabric, then added an inch on each side of the zipper, and traced a circular object with chalk to get a good shape for the bottom (then connected that area to the top zipper area.
Keep in mind when you draw the shape that your finished clutch will be at least 1/2 smaller all the way around once sewn because of the seam allowance.
3. Next, cut out the chalk shape from your jeans, making sure to cut through both layers of the jeans (and being careful to keep both layers of the jean together while cutting, so they are exactly the same.
4. Now that you have the front and back pieces of the jean clutch ready to go, it’s time to start sewing. First up, is the zipper… Align the fabric edge of the zipper (right sides together) to the top edge of the clutch so the design and the zipper pull are on the same side.
5. Pin the zipper and the fabric together using straight pins (see photo). Then using your sewing machine, sew them together. Back-tack (stitch backwards for a few stitches to anchor the stitch) at the beginning and end to prevent unraveling. Repeat this for the opposite zipper edge and the other piece of denim fabric that was cut from the jeans.
6. Open the zipper halfway. Don’t skip this step.
7. Pin the clutch with the right sides together. Sew the clutch along the shape that you initially traced (which will give you at least a 1/2″ seam allowance). Again, back-tack at both the beginning and end to prevent unraveling.
8. Cut small vents along the sewn edge of the clutch, especially at curves and corners. The spacing between the cut vents will depend on the size of your clutch, just be careful to not cut through the sewn line.
9. Turn the clutch right side out and it’s ready to use.
I really like the small size for essentials when I’m headed out to lunch, etc. I just take it out of my bigger bag and head out.
Take it further: You could also add a little wrist handle, with a 1/2 wide leather strap to keep your hands free.
Sewing + styled photos by Rachel Brewer
Styling + tutorial photos by Brittni Mehlhoff
Do you have a pair of old jeans that would work for this DIY clutch idea? Can you think of any other ways to reuse old clothing like this? Would love to hear your ideas.
20 comments | Click here to reply
Loved your tutorial. Never done it, but I would love to do a notebook cover using the pocket and watchpocket part of the jeans; have made a cute pillow with that part. Have cut off back pockets, added a ribbon hanger and a little Christmas doo dad for a Christmas ornament to hold a gift card. Have also sewed two triangles together to make a Christmas tree decorated with rick rack or buttons; adorable! Also, cut off hems make easy skirts for 18″ dolls!Kathy A
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Its such a great idea to reuse a jeans. Thanks for information here.Andrew Leigh
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Yay. I love it. I’m going to make a rectangular clutch with some distressing on it. If you use the back pocket part of your jeans, you’d get a cute and useful pocket on your clutch. Also belt loops along the top would be good for holding it, as well as cool!CAS
Since i dont like sewing zippers, i bet you do a flap with different piece of the same jean and use a button and an elastic band (dont know how to buttonhole). And i think stephanie has a great idea in making it rectangle. That was the first i thought of when i realized that the bag was shown as rounded bottom. Cant wait to try this.Angie
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Glad to hear that Sheridan.Brittni
You made this look so simple and easy, and that’s what I love most about it! Great work!!Sheridan Johnson
Awesome Stefanie. I think a rectangular clutch would be perfect, especially if you’re using the pant leg area of the jeans.Brittni
Wow,such a great idea!! I have so much jeans that I don’t wear anymore ….Gonna make a rectangular one as a makeup bag 😀Stefanie Ni
Thanks for the tips, Kristina. The liner is a great option for anyone who wants to take it a step further, for sure. And for anyone that is pressed for time, I think the no liner option will work just as well. 🙂Brittni
This pouch would last longer if it was lined with fun fabric or at least zigzaged before adding zipper. And for even more professional look iron it 😉Kristina
Thanks Michelle. Glad you like it.Brittni
This is so cool, a perfect way to reuse an old pair of jeans! A wonderful idea!Michelle