Friday, 13 September 2013

Bags. Recycling Denim Jeans.

I've been missing because my sewing has been mostly mending and alterations, which in my opinion, are only very distantly related to sewing, in a third cousin twice removed that you would rather not run in to at the family reunion sort of way.

As well as a distinct and unusual feeling of virtue, this left me with rather a lot of size 8 boy trouser legs, mainly denim. ( My son's girth does not grow at the same rate as his length, so I have an end of winter trouser/jeans to shorts session). I am blaming Em of Tumbleweeds in the wind for the problem I had in throwing these legs away. It was this post on making bags to store yarn in that did it, don't hers look terrific? Her bags, I gather, are each made from 2 grown-up jeans legs, giving considerably more yarn capacity than the legs I had, but it just so happens that a single leg of boy size 8 or 9 jeans cut off at 11 yr old knee level is a perfectly sized piece for a sock knitting bag.



I made two of these, one for me and one to give away. These are lined with an outgrown patterned denim skirt from my daughters

My sock knitting bag construction: Starting with the available leg-
1.  Cut out lining - rectangle about 10cm longer than the available jeans leg, and a width that = the circumference of the available+ seam allowance  (Alternately use two legs to make the bag, one longer than the other)
2. Sew long sides of lining together
3.Sew buttonholes at desired level of lining- I sewed these 5cm from the top. ( I hand worked mine in an eyelet for my own amusement)
4. Sew lining and leg together at one end (right sides together).
5. Sew bottom of jeans leg closed (right sides together)
6. Flatten out the seam from 5 , opening seam allowance, and sew corners across, to make a bottom than sits flat. I sewed my corners 3cm from the end of the seam
7. Sew the bottom of the lining across Leaving a gap in the middle to turn the bag
8 . Turn the bag, and sew gap closed from the right side
9. Arrange the bag lining to sit inside the bag, and topstitch the joining seam at the top to make a casing.
10. Edgestitch the top folded edge
11. Thread a cord or ribbon (I used grosgrain ribbon) through the casing, add fabric loop or cord tie if desired (I used a Chinese tie closure)


  I have found that 2 layers of denim is remarkably impervious to knitting needle ends, which is not the case for any of my other sock-knitting bags, except maybe this other new one, which is leather.


I made a smaller zipped bag as well, to store needles, stitch markers and other knitting paraphernalia, but seem to have lost this bag already. When I find it I will attach a clip to it, and a D ring to the larger bag, so that it has less tendency to wander.
This is a practice run for my plan to make myself a leather handbag.

The leather is a "second" chromed cow hide from Packers Tannery at Narangba, and unfortunately was just on the borderline of too-thick-to-sew for my hand cranked Singer - this meant that I could sew 2 layers of leather by machine, but not 3 or 4, which means that certain sections of my bags are glued but not sewn, or glued and painfully hand-sewn, and that I will be picking out a thinner leather for my handbag.

Unfortunately, I had not used up all the denim legs with the knitting bag session, and now that I saw them as useful for something other than knee-patching, they were strongly resistant to being put in the bin.

I made another bag.


This one is to keep my electronic gear in whilst traveling. It is based on Kindle size + a paperback in case the Kindle battery runs out. (We do some remote camping and I do not like to be without reading material). Once again it is two layers of denim - one being a split open leg, and the other being another outgrown patterned denim skirt, with another leather trial for the wrist strap. The external pocket is envelope style, with the short ends of the top flap sewn down, and the middle fastened with a button and loop. It is intended for cords, USB and memory cards.

I am quite happy with it, as a useful item, but it has a rather happy-hands-at-home appearance that I would not like in a proper handbag.
I am wondering if this handbag project is a bit too difficult for my skill level at this type of sewing. I know Sharon has made a smart  leather hand bag, and I like this leather one of Melissa's, but am not sure how many I will need to make before I get to this level of finish. Once you get past a drawstring bag or tote,bag sewing is far more difficult than it looks!
Maybe I should make a few t shirts instead...


Gail said...

Good luck with making a leather bag. I suspect the hardest part is getting your presser foot and needle through the thicknesses. Apart from that nothing you couldn't handle!

a little sewing said...

I really like the denims and how you used them - cute bag!

Sharon said...

Great sock knitting bags,and your smaller bag for the stitch paraphernalia sounds perfect, I need to figure that one out. Now you have made a gorgeous leather jacket so I feel that you have a lot more experience in leather making than I do, my bag was made in a workshop at the ASG Convention, you never know they might have a workshop for leather at the Convention in Sydney next year!

opportunityknits said...

Love how sturdy and cool your bags look. A knitter can never have too many knitting bags ... I found this out this morning when I was hunting high and low for one and couldn't find any spare ones :)

Anonymous said...

I'm taking the leather bag class on Craftsy. Good so far. But also - working on bags for the four-pack collections. Check out -- they seemed to have very helpful info when I was considering making an amy butler bag. As I recall, interfacings are hugely important in bag-making.

EmSewCrazy said...

Ooh I didn't think of how they would keep the knitting needles from poking through! Great idea!! Super cute with the drawstring too!
I hope you figure things out with the leather...