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Monday, June 29, 2015

A Denim Tote

It's been a while since I wrote anything, but I assure you all it's not because I haven't been working on anything. I started making this tote weeks ago, and finally got it finished early last week. And I'm really excited about this project, because I made the whole thing out of a pair of jeans!! Well actually it took two pairs by the time it was all said and done, but that's no big deal.

 But before showing you all how I made this, I've gotta warn ya, it's not perfect. My sewing skills are somewhere between So-So and Down Right Awful! Not to mention I was plagued with sewing machine malfunctions(precisely why it took me weeks to finish). And if it wasn't for my moms helpful assistance, I don't think I ever would have finished it. But here it is at last, my denim tote.

From the very beginning I envisioned this tote as a beach bag to take to the ocean this year, so I wanted it to be as big as possible for carrying my things. I picked out a pair of large jeans from our yard sale that didn't fit any of the guys in my family and laid out my plans.

I needed to cut the legs to lay out flat, to give me two big pieces of material to work with.

So here I have my two pieces over top of each other.

However, they were terribly uneven with each other so I needed to cut some off of the sides to align them right. I also needed to cut off the original hem you see here on the jeans, which would make it really hard to sew.

The sides more evenly aligned, I could begin the sewing.

I flipped both pieces over to sew inside out, and pinned along the longest sides. I actually first pinned the whole thing right side out, then my mom mentioned that it would be wise to turn it inside out to sew. Oops! Yeah I forgot that part.

The sides sewn and the forming bag turned right side out again. At this point I was thinking "Whoa! This thing is way too long!" So I just cut a little bit more off the bottom. And notice that I left the hem on there that used to be the cuff of the pant legs. That is now going to be the top of my tote.

For sewing up the bottom, I turned the bag inside out again and rolled up the bottom edge, then sewed straight across.

Giving the bottom of the bag nice, well rounded corners.

Then for the top I wanted a cuff like a pair of jeans, so I folded the top down a bit and sewed above the original hem. When I finished sewing this I was like "Eeeek!" My line was anything but straight. Maybe if I keep on learning to sew I'll get better at that(hopefully).

Well then it came down to the straps. That's where I really started having problems. I couldn't do my original plan and the only alternative, I was afraid, would look too junky. But like I just said, it was the only alternative, so that's what I went with.

To make good, long straps I needed to cut into a second pair of jeans, since there wasn't enough left of the first pair to make them.

I cut out two long strips and folded the sides in, one over the other.

It was only after I had already sewn them that I realized I shouldn't have left the raw edge out to fray.

I sewed the ends straight onto the bag, which didn't turn out so good. This is really the only thing that I wish could have turned out better(besides the crooked lines of my stitches). But I had forgotten to fold in the raw edges on the ends before I sewed the straps, and after it was sewn there wasn't anything to do about it because if I tried to fold it in now it wold be waaaay too thick. But like my dear sister Laryssa said, "It's rustic." And it's just a beach bag, and I'm not one to start all over again just for a little more perfection.

From here my tote was pretty much finished. But as I was working on it, I had gotten the idea to sew on a pocket. So I grabbed the once pair of long jeans, now reduced to a pair of really short, frayed shorts, and slowly picked off the pocket. Needless to say, that really took a while.

And then, just to make it even longer and more tedious, I sewed it on by hand.

But despite the hassle, the pocket was a huge success and added the perfect touch to my simple, handmade denim tote.

And now I'm ready to hit the beach!

Although it may not be perfect, the thing I love the most about this bag is that I made it out of a pair of jeans(Okay two jeans). It was just so much fun pulling out an ordinary pair of pants and figuring out how I was going to take it and make it something new and useful to me. I've already got a ton of other ideas floating through my head right now(mostly from my pinterest board) and will be back again to share more of my crafty adventures!

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