Friday, May 9, 2014

Bag Lady

Today my handbag carried a couple of wardrobe handles, some door knobs, a binder holding- receipts-color samples and bench-top finish brochures, also my cellphone, a roll of doggy poo bags, my purse, reading glasses, sunglasses a tape-measure, mini-iPad, a boy-scout style utility knife, rubber gloves and a make-up compact.

Since I've morphed into a building site foreman (woman) my day-to-day teeny trendy Vespa shoulder bag had to go.
For the duration of my renovation I need something sturdy (I've already ripped the lining of the Vespa by stuffing too much into the pockets).
It also needs to be big enough for a binder, some tools, tape measure, bits and pieces of random metal and timber, but with handy external pockets for smaller items such as car-keys, lip balm and phone (that will likely get mashed by all of the above).

I used to wear a tool-belt, but the landscapers that worked on our deck teased me mercilessly. After I went shopping in a trade tool supplier and saw the kind of calendars they hung on the walls, I totally 'got it' and stopped wearing that thing immediately - practical as it was.

This is NOT a look I want to be associated with
 So after a couple of hours light sewing and seam ripping I have something practical and modest and I only get teased when I need to unzip the fly to remove larger items:

This is such an easy bag to make:

Cut a pair of old jeans off just below the crotch and open up the inside leg seams. Open the front seam to just below the bottom of the fly and the back seam almost to the back yolk.  Fold these pieces over to flatten out both the back and front then top stitch them in place. Trim off the excess fabric on the inside - bind or zigzag it first if you want to stop fraying.

I used a leg off-cut to cut out an oval for the bag bottom, I used heavy stiffening (i.e. cut up plastic meat trays from the butcher) to give the bottom some support. If you do this make sure your stiffening is smaller than the fabric oval by your seam allowance measurement. This way your machine wont choke trying to sew three layers of denim plus a chunk of stiff plastic.

The easy way out is to just sew front and back together at the bottom and forget a base altogether - it looks just as good.  For me it just wasn't as sturdy for carrying lumpy heavy random stuff.

Oh and I almost forgot the straps: I used some scraps of garment leather I had lying about, but old belts (especially using the buckles as a feature) work well too. Again just be mindful theyre not too thick because again your sewing machine just might choke. If you don't have old belts laying about check out the local Op-Shop.

I love making stuff out of old jeans - when this renovation's done with, I'm going to pull out some more denims and get creative - maybe the Pinkster could do with a little jeans bag of her own and another denim cap..

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  1. This is such a great idea, shame I'm WAY to lazy to make it! Made me laugh!

    1. You would blitz it girl, the hardest part is sewing the handles on - which I forgot to mention

  2. Fantastic idea! Love the idea of re-purposed clothing and a bag is a brilliant concept.

    1. Thanks so much! - did you check out the link to the cap? That is my pride and joy :0)

  3. Love your new work bag. Had to laugh about undoing the zip! Looks great. I'll have to have a go at this one when an old pair comes up xx I made some library bags at the start of the year.

    1. Thanks Alicia, I like the library bag idea a lot.If you have small scraps denim baker boy caps are cute too. Check the link at the end of the post and you'll see mine - I can even offer a crude but fully operational pattern for that one. x