Denim Skirt Handbag: Project #1
Denim Skirt Handbags are Fun Projects
Whether my denim skirt handbags are themed for a holiday like the 4th of July or a ball team, or perhaps for fun everyday use, it is nearly impossible for me to recreate the same bag.
There are several reasons each one is unique and most of the reasons are simply practical, though my primary one is that even if it were sensible to repeat designs I would not want to. New designs are fun to create!
First Handbag Hub
A Gamecock fan ordered one of my denim skirt handbags so I decided to make three and let her choose her favorite one.
The two she rejects will likely be sold as I do not have any close friends or relatives who root for the Gamecocks.
Since I have this order it is a great opportunity to share a “how to” hub with any of you who are interested. I may do a series of all three of these bags, or more--we’ll see where this goes.
There are several examples of denim skirt handbags available on the web but many of them look rather hippyish or hoboish.
By taking the time to thoughtfully plan out a design and then to carefully craft it, you can create a classy bag that will cause others to ask where you purchased it.
Supplies For This Handbag Project:
• Denim skirt, women’s size small or a girls, depending on the size bag you want to make. I use recycled ones from second-hand stores.
• Poly/cotton fabric, approximately 2/3 yard.
• 1/4 yard contrasting poly/cotton (or left over denim if it is lightweight) if pockets for the lining are desired.
• Iron-on interfacing, approximately 2/3 yard, choosing your desired stiffness. (I prefer a medium weight interfacing.)
• One of the products that stops fraying.
• Supplies needed for the handles you choose.
1) Measure down each side of the skirt marking it at 1” longer than you want your bag to be. Mark each side and use a straight-edge to make a cutting line.
• Tip #1: Before measuring and cutting make sure your length/cutting line do not interfere with any pockets or details that you want to retain for your bag.
Make the cut.
• Tip #2: Cut slowly over any seams that are in the layers of the skirt, usually just the back and side seams but there can be many seams in the layers.
2) Lay skirt on top of lining fabric and use it as a pattern to cut out the lining. Placing the bottom cut edge of the skirt on the fold of the lining fabric, add 1/2” to the top edge. Set lining aside.
3) Turn skirt inside out, being careful not to stretch bottom cut edge. Seam across the bottom of the skirt at 1/2”. Sew across a second time.
4) Flatten the skirt's corners across the bottom, carefully lining up the bottom seams with the side seams. Measure from point down the center to 2”, pin, mark, and sew across. Sew across a second time.
• Tip #3: Make a paper triangle to use as a pattern if you are unsure about getting the line straight.
Cut triangle off 1/4” from seam and put a dot of product to stop frays at the end of each seam--do not forget any center seams. Allow to dry according to package instructions.
Your denim skirt is now a denim handbag shell. Turn it right side out, finger pressing corners into nice points.
5) Cut iron-on interfacing 1/4” smaller than the lining. Iron in place according to package directions.
6) If you are putting pockets on the lining, now is the time. For this project I layered a small pocket on top of a large pocket.
First, cut all pockets to the size wanted. Fold top of each pocket over and iron. Fold sides in and iron. Fold top over once again, iron, and sew to hem.
Place a small pocket on a large one and flip backward, as if the bottom is hinged, so that the right sides are together. Pin in place and sew 1/4” seam. Fold pocket up and press in place. Pin sides of pockets and sew in place. Put a drop of one of the products that stops fraying at the top of each of the side seams.
Repeat this process with each pocket, sewing the large pocket to the hand bag lining.
7) Fold lining right sides together and pin. Sew 1/2” seam on each side.
As with the hand bag shell (refer to #4 to review this), flatten the bottom skirt corners, carefully lining up the bottom seams with the side seams. Measure from the point down the center to 2”, pin, mark, and sew across.
• Tip #4: Make sure that the corner triangles for the lining are the same size as the ones for the handbag shell.
Sew across a second time. Cut Triangle off 1/4” from seam.
• Tip #5: There is no bottom seam in this lining. Pressing the sewn lining so that a fold is evident across the bottom can help you line up the seams for the corner’s triangle.
8) Handles for denim skirt handbags can be fashioned in any number of ways. Future hubs on these handbags will include directions for a variety of handles. This particular bag has handles created from the generous amount of fabric that was cut from the bottom of the skirt and left over lining fabric.
To create a base for attaching the handles to the handbag, design and cut a paper pattern, then pin and cut the fabrics. This pattern is approximately 3 1/2" wide at the bottom, 2 1/2" wide at the top, and 6" long.
• Tip #8: For this handle base the wide end is the bottom. Make sure that the handle base pattern is pinned to match the lining fabric’s pattern rather than upside-down.
Cut 2 iron on interfacings and press to the backs of the lining handle bases. Pin right sides of the handle base pieces together and sew sides closed, leaving ends open. Turn and press, then top stitch the sides.
• Tip # 9: Think through what colors of thread you will want to use, especially where top-stitches will show on contrasting fabrics.
9) Pin handle base to handbag shell, measuring to center evenly on each side, and sew in place.
10) Depending on what kind of closure you want to use, this is the point at which you will install most of them. This bag’s common magnetic closure was installed in the lining according to package directions.
• Tip #10: Be careful to determine the best place for your closure. This one could not be installed too close to the top edge or too close to the pocket’s top.
11) Insert handbag lining into shell and turn top edge under, pinning to fit approximately 1/4” from inside top edge of handbag shell. Be careful to line side seams up. It will take a few minutes to ease the lining into place correctly.
• Tip #11: Give some thought to the particular details (zipper, belt loops, tie straps, etc.) of your denim skirt bag’s details before installing the lining in order to be prepared to work around them. If there are many details at the waistband you may decide to hand sew all or part of the lining to the shell.
12) This handle is braided fabric with metal embellishments added. Determine what length your bag handle needs to be. Cut two pieces 2” wide out of the denim fabric and one of the same out of the lining fabric, making them 3” longer than your desired finished length. This bag’s braid needed to be 12” when finished so the cut length of each of the 3 pieces was 15”.
Right sides together, close each piece’s side with a 1/4” seam. Turn and press with the seam to the back.
Place the two denim pieces side by side, then center the printed fabric piece on top. Pin and sew across their ends.
Braid the handle, keeping it flat as you work, giving a slight tug to the braid every few inches. Sew across the ends and trim.
Turn handle base ends inside 1/2” and insert braid ends. Flatten neatly and sew across.
The details added to this bag are shown in the photos. Deciding what details to add to a denim skirt handbag is a fun challenge.
• Tip #12: Think outside the box and try to use embellishments in alternative ways, or use items that are not typically thought of as embellishments.
• Tip #13: Using a fray prevention product to touch up the wear and tear areas of these handbags is a good idea. Top and pocket edges, any spots that look a little worn, and bottom corners can all use a little reinforcement from one of these great products.
Handbag Project #2 & #3 Finally Posted:
After many promises, I've finally been able to post the second hub in this denim skirt handbag series. Project #2 is waiting on you. :)
Hopefully, I will be able to continue the series this summer and into next year. Thanks for taking a look at this one!
An interesting turn of events occurred when I posted project #3. Check it out to see more denim handbag projects.
Home Spun Bag
Hand Made Bag Cake
Denim Flower How To:
Other Projects You Might Like To See:
• Paint a T-Shirt : Project 1 is part of a series of 4 hubs on children's designs.
• Crochet edges for simple baby blankets that are much more than they first seem.
• Store sewing supplies in a painted dresser.
• Use a small decorative cabinet for storing craft supplies.
• Slipcovers using holiday fabrics -- bonus, they are reversible!
Make this to Tuck into Your New Handbag
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