Upcycled Jeans Bags

This week's clothes upcycle is a couple of super easy jeans bags.
I've seen these bags all over the place but never made one myself - so thought it was about time to try one out!

I used this lovely tutorial from Sugar Bee Crafts.
The only thing I changed on my second bag - the pink one - was to box out the bottom corners of the bag so it didn't sag open quite so much.

All you need is a pair of jeans shorts (or cut off jeans) and some 
co-ordinating fabric. Making the bag only takes about half an hour!

I made the blue jeans bag first.

Then the pink one.

Pretty cute bags don't you think?

To see what else I've been making with clothes for my challenge this year - go here.


An Easter Mug Rug - from jeans and scraps.

This was a super simple project using up part of an old pair of jeans and some of my scraps.

I didn't really plan the project - but here's how it took shape.

I cut 2 pieces of denim fabric from a leg of a left over pair of jeans.

I added a rectangle from an old t-shirt for the batting in the middle of the mug rug. My rectangles were 30 x 20 cm (12 x 8").

I then got out the scraps of fabric with fusible webbing on - I always save the left over parts of this after my applique projects - these were mostly scraps from making these pencil cases.

I cut out basic rabbit silhouettes - sometimes I had to cut the body, head or ears separately to get them out of the scraps I had left.
I arranged these on one of the denim rectangles and peeled the back paper off them.

I ironed the bunnies into place with a damp cloth,

Then stitched around the edges to secure them using the applique setting on my machine.

Next, I pinned then stitched the 2 denim pieces together - right sides facing outwards with the t-shirt batting in between. I stitched all the way around the outside to hold the layers together and trimmed the edges to neaten them up.

Next came the problem of quilting through the 3 layers. I didn't want to stitch through the bunnies, so how was I to quilt in between them?

Here's where I decided to experiment. I've not done much quilting, but have heard of and seen a little 'free motion quilting' which, I understand to be, free style stitching in any design you like. 
This seemed the perfect answer for my little bunny mug rug. Unfortunately I don't have a walking foot and have never tried free motion quilting before. After a little Google searching, I decided to just jump in and try stitching in swirls with my regular sewing foot!

It seems to have turned out OK- and it was fun to just swirl around in the gaps!

Next came the binding. I found a long strip of pink gingham in my pink scrap box and cut it to about 5 cm wide (2") and as long as I had - which fortunately happened to be longer than the 4 sides of the mug rug.
Then I ironed it in half, then the edges to the centre and in half again:

Leaving me with my own long strip of binding.

I then attached the binding using this tutorial. I still need a lot of practice with binding - mine still doesn't look that neat yet!

 And there you have one finished Easter Bunny Mug Rug from jeans and scraps!

As for my experiment with free motion quilting, my elder daughter came home from school and saw my mug rug. She looked at the swirls of stitching between the bunny rabbits and asked if it was a mistake!

She likes order and patterns - random is not to her liking!

What do you think?
Does it just look like a random mess - or can I call it artistic swirls? It is a bit puckered in places I admit, but I quite like the overall look of it!

For the free downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

If you liked this project - you may like one of my many other sewing tutorials - for all levels and abilities.
Take a look through them here:


Make your own fabric Rememberall

Do you have trouble getting your kids to remember things? Things to take to school, things to remember to hand in at school? I've tried several ways to help them remember things - notes, checklists and door hangers. Nothing seems to be effective for very long, so I'm always up for trying a new idea!

This is my latest plan to help my kids remember things - their very own Rememberall.

Both of my girls read all the Harry Potter books, saw the movies and are big fans, so that's why I thought this idea might work with them.  If you aren't familiar with the Harry Potter series - a Rememberall is a glass ball that contains smoke that turns red when the owner has forgotten something, and once that thing is remembered it returns to a clear ball.

Well this is a fabric version - a small ball-like pocket that is reversible - red on one side and furry grey on the other.  I chose fun fabrics from my scraps boxes that might stand out and catch the attention of my girls!

I added a little velcro to the top of the pocket so you could put a note in it to remind them of what is is exactly that they have to remember!!

The ball-pocket has a loop that means it can be attached to their school bag, or pencil case and also removed and transferred easily too. 

So for example when they have to remember to hand their homework in that day at school, I can attach this to their bag handle or zip with the red side out. Once they've remembered and handed their homework in, they can turn the pocket inside out so the furry side is showing.
Great plan hey? Hope it works!

So here's how to make your very own Rememberall

 - if you think it might help your kids remember things!

Any fabric will work with this project - the brighter the better to grab your kid's attention!

First cut 2 circles from each coloured fabric you choose. The size isn't important - so long as all your circles are the same, and it's big enough for you to work with. You will also need a little cord for hanging the ball and 2 small pieces of velcro.

First of all pin the velcro pieces to each circle. You want one hook and one loop piece on each colour so that the reds will close together and the grey will.
Stitch the velcro on securely. I generally stitch around each piece twice for strength as they get pulled a lot.

Stitch your cord loop to any circle at the top above the velcro.

Next put your circles together. You will need one grey and one red piece, right sides together. Pin around the edges of each mixed circle, leaving a gap of around   4 cm (1.5") to turn the circles out.

Stitch around the edges,

then turn right sides out.

Pin the two circles together with the same colour facing.
Make sure you tuck in both openings.
Then stitch around, leaving an opening where the velcro is at the top.

That's it! Your Rememberall is finished and ready for use!

This is when nothing needs to be remembered.

Then this way round when something has to be remembered!

You can always write the details on a note and pop it in the pocket!

I wonder if this Rememberall will work?

How do you help your kids remember things?


What can I make from a pair of jeans? This week's clothes upcycle.

For this week's clothes upcycle for my challenge, I chose a pair of jeans and a black and white stripy top.

The jeans had cute sparkly back pockets

 - so I made a pencil case using one of those, with the tutorial I produced a couple of weeks ago for funky pencil cases from jeans!

I also unpicked the zip from the jeans and used that to make a triangle pouch - following again my own tutorial.

I also made a fabric basket, using part of one of the jeans legs.

And a small tissue pouch using the bottom hem of the jeans!

And finally an elephant keychain stuffed with some of the scraps, again, using my own tutorial.

I still have a couple of pockets, the waistband, seams and some of the fabric left over.

So plenty more projects possible there!

Not bad from just one pair of jeans and a top.

To see what else I've made from clothes for my challenge this year so far - go here.

And for lots more of my free sewing tutorials (over 100 of them),

I would love it if you followed me on Facebook too - where I share plenty of upcycling ideas and projects.