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Denim Skirt Handbag: Project #1

Updated on May 6, 2016
RTalloni profile image

Robertatalloni means creativity. Whether in writing or in more typical art forms artistry (and a bit of fun) must be part of the work.

Denim Handbag From A Recycled Skirt
Denim Handbag From A Recycled Skirt | Source

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.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Assess how you want to use the skirt.Measure.Mark.Cut.
Assess how you want to use the skirt.
Assess how you want to use the skirt. | Source
Measure.
Measure. | Source
Mark.
Mark. | Source
Cut.
Cut. | Source


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.

Use skirt as a pattern for lining.
Use skirt as a pattern for lining. | Source



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.

Easy seaming.
Easy seaming. | Source


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.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Making a boxed bottom.Measure, mark, and pin.Sew.Trim.
Making a boxed bottom.
Making a boxed bottom. | Source
Measure, mark, and pin.
Measure, mark, and pin. | Source
Sew.
Sew. | Source
Trim.
Trim. | Source


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.


Use lining as a pattern for interfacing.
Use lining as a pattern for interfacing. | Source


5)  Cut iron-on interfacing 1/4” smaller than the lining. Iron in place according to package directions.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Preparing to attach pockets.Assembling layered pockets.Finishing pockets.
Preparing to attach pockets.
Preparing to attach pockets. | Source
Assembling layered pockets.
Assembling layered pockets. | Source
Finishing pockets.
Finishing pockets. | Source

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.

Make boxed bottom for lining.
Make boxed bottom for lining. | Source

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.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Design and cut out handle pieces.
Design and cut out handle pieces.
Design and cut out handle pieces. | Source
Source
Source
Source

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.

Add handle pieces to bag's shell.
Add handle pieces to bag's shell. | Source
Source

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.


Sew lining into shell.
Sew lining into shell. | Source

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.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Finish handles for this bag.
Finish handles for this bag.
Finish handles for this bag. | Source
Source

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.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This bag features braided handles.
This bag features braided handles.
This bag features braided handles. | Source
Source
Source


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. 

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Handle details.Original front pocket will be useful and decorative.Final detail for this Clemson fan is hand sewn on the back.
Handle details.
Handle details. | Source
Source
Original front pocket will be useful and decorative.
Original front pocket will be useful and decorative. | Source
Source
Final detail for this Clemson fan is hand sewn on the back.
Final detail for this Clemson fan is hand sewn on the back. | Source


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.



Would you like to use a denim skirt handbag?

See results

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

Bags, and More Bags!

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

How Do You Sew Denim?

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    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      plinka:

      So glad you let me know you like this project. I do hope to post new handbag hubs and it funny you should mention that as I'm planning a matching bag and dress hub. Thanks much for your visit and input!

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      stessily:

      Thanks so much for letting me know you enjoyed reading this and for your encouraging comments. The purses are a lot of fun to design and make, when people see "their own" its very satisfying to see how happy they are.

    • plinka profile image

      plinka 5 years ago from Budapest, Hungary

      What a good idea! Anyway, I'm interested in sewing so I welcome some more hubs on bag or dress design.

      Awesome hub, voted up!

    • profile image

      stessily 5 years ago

      RTalloni, This is so creative! I've been sewing since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, and it's been fun, while reading your clear instructions and looking at your helpful photos, to sew vicariously. Your tips, such as #9 about thinking through thread colors particular those which will show in top stitching, are wonderfully helpful. Up + UABI + sharing.

      Appreciatively, Stessily

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Suzie HQ

      Thanks very much! I hope you enjoy making these as much as I have. Maybe we'll see your projects in a hub, and maybe your nieces will be making them before long. :)

      I just posted the second denim skirt handbag hub in the series--a long time coming, but finally posted it. I hope to continue the series this year.

      So appreciate your visit and encouraging input!

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Brilliant, creative hub RTalloni, loved idea of using skirt from charity shop to start with. A great idea to make as a gift - my nieces would love this! I have a denim bag i bought that i love and this i want to definitely give a try! Super pics and detailed instructions too, voting and sharing!

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Berrydesouza:

      Thanks kindly for letting me know you saw this project. The denim skirt handbags are fun to create and make. I hope to design and make more of them this summer.

    • Berrydesouza profile image

      Berrydesouza 5 years ago from Alaska

      I am surprised to see this awesome dresses skirts bags .

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      barbergirl28:

      I'm glad you like this project. Just let me know when you are ready for a new bag for I love to make them!

      Thanks much for coming by and letting me hear from you! :)

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      What a cute project. I am horrible with the whole sewing thing so maybe when I am in the market for a new bag I will just have you make one for me! :)

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      frogyfish:

      So glad that you enjoyed this hub. Thanks for letting me know you came by, too.

      Hope to see future projects from you... :)

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 6 years ago from Central United States of America

      Enjoyed your pursemaking and the videos too. The long one was quite a unique style. Those could perhaps decorate the denim purse according to your color scheme desired.

      Will bookmark your hub for future use. Thanks!

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Jo_Goldsmith11:

      Thanks kindly! Denim is definitely a memory maker--I'm still with your sister! As a matter of fact, I'm getting ready to publish a denim themed hub--stay tuned. :)

      These bags are fun to make and to use. So glad you enjoyed this hub! I appreciate your visit and that you let me know you came by! :)

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 6 years ago

      What a really neat idea! This sure brings back good memories! My sister was really in to denim *everything*. That and tie dye shirts! I voted up. I will save it and in case I ever have the time to make one, I will know how to. Awesome, interesting and useful. You have my vote! up, up and away! :) Take care & blessings! :)

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thank you very much. They are a lot of fun to make. Had hoped to pick these projects up again this month, but maybe later in the year. Appreciate your stopping by and highlighting the project with a comment!

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 6 years ago from Western New York

      Oh my goodness, this is adorable! I will have to show it to my mothers of preschoolers group- very clever!

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks very much! I am hoping to resume work on some of these before long. It would be great to see yours when you finish it.

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 6 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      What a great project - I look forward to making a bag like this one when I have a chance! Voted up and bookmarked!

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thank you kindly! My work was interrupted in the fall but I hope to get back to these projects before long. More hubs to come, hopefully!

    • WordPlay profile image

      Carla Chadwick 6 years ago from Georgia, y'all

      Absolutely adorable! I love the braided handle and outer pocket. This is a great tutorial. :-)

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks much for stopping by, for commenting, and for passing the hub on! It is still going to be a longer series, hopefully, but I was stopped just as I was getting a good start on new ones. More to come soon, I hope.

    • KenWu profile image

      KenWu 7 years ago from Malaysia

      I'm going to pass this to my sister and let her unleash her creative-ness! Thanks for this.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      Thank you kindly! These are such fun to create. Thanks for commenting too. Have more done and new ones started but a family emergency has prevented me from being able to finish the hubs for them.

    • Rhelena profile image

      Rhelena 7 years ago

      This is a great tutorial! It is the best denim bag I have seen so far...I especially love how you did the handles.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks much--both for stopping by and commenting. Number 2 is on its way to the finish line, and I've begun Number 3. They are a lot of fun to design and make.

    • atienza profile image

      atienza 7 years ago from Northern California

      Very well done. Should I ever want to make a denim skirt handbag this is the article I'll refer to. You were thorough in your instruction and showed pics of your work in progress, helpful if you need a visual guide (which I usually do, for hand crafted projects). Thanks :)

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      And they are a lot of fun to make and use--great conversation starters! :)

      Thanks much for stopping by and commenting.

    • rkhyclak profile image

      rkhyclak 7 years ago from Ohio

      Great idea, especially considering how cheaply you could find a denim skirt at Goodwill or a yardsale!