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Denim Purse with Drawstring Closure (from OLD JEANS)

My little 4-year-old Chloe, LOVES anything girly.  Or frilly.  Or sparkly.  When Elli (her 8 year old big sister) is at school, Chloe digs through her jewelry and fancy notebooks and markers and plays with them all she wants!  (I was the youngest in my family and remember many occasions sneaking into my big sisters’ stuff. So I sometimes pretend I don’t notice that Chloe is the same thing.  Poor Elli!)  The thing that Chloe especially loves playing with, is Elli’s purse.  Oooooh boy….it drives Elli crazy but Chloe loves finding coins and gum and any other little toy Elli stashes in there.  I know Chloe has a purse around here somewhere…..but I realized this girl NEEDS MORE PURSES! :)


And since I have had a bunch of denim scraps laying around here lately (from making the Cut-Off Jeans with Side Knots and the Turn Jeans into a Maxi Skirt tutorial), I realized those pieces would be great for turning into a simple little purse for Chloe.


Even though I could have kept it really simple and skipped any sort of closure, I decided to create a drawstring closure for Chloe’s new little Denim Purse.  That way, all her treasures will stay right inside!




And yep, the top edge of that purse is actually the hem line of an old pair of jeans.  And you guessed it…….the waistband became the purse strap.  It saves a lot of time using all of those existing seams, PLUS, denim is such a sturdy fabric!




Now keep in mind, if you skip the drawstring closure, this purse will come together in about 10 minutes.  But I really wanted to create a fun closure.  And this drawstring is perfect for little fingers!




The jeans that I used had a snap closure…….so I kept both snap pieces attached to the waistband, which creates the perfect detail!




Just think of all the extra treasures Chloe can stash inside her new purse, and keep everything secure beneath that drawstring closure!




This girl……I sure love everything about her!  Especially her determined nature.  And her fire.  But she really is such a sweet little chickie!




Do you have some old jeans you’d like to transform??


Okay, let’s do it!



  • Old pair of jeans
  • cotton fabric
  • cording
  • sewing supplies (here’s a list of my favorite sewing supplies, in case you need a few ideas)


***Check out my Sewing Terms 101 post, for additional help.



You’ll be using the very bottom hem of the jeans as the upper edge of the purse……so we’ll be measuring from the bottom up.  The height of your purse depends on your preference and how wide your pant legs are.  But just to give you an idea of my dimensions, the pant legs below are about 7 inches wide and I measured about 8 inches up from the bottom edge.



Turn one of the pant legs inside out and sew the raw edge together, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.



Then box out your corners (just like the Tote Bag tutorial here).  I measured about 1.25 inches from the point of both corners and sewed the corners just like the tote tutorial.  This will be the outer purse layer.



The other pant leg will be the inner purse layer.  It will fit inside much better if you make it slightly smaller.  So, instead of using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, use a 1/2 inch seam allowance.



Then box out the corners the same way….so that both are sewn the same way.



Then cut all 4 corners off, about 1/4 inch from the seam.



For the purse handle, cut the waistband off as close to the seam as possible.



Use a seam ripper and unpick the belt loops…or keep them.  The details you want to keep are up to you!



Now, position the waistband ends on both sides of the OUTER purse piece.  Decide how long your want your strap and adjust the handle as needed.  Pin in place.



Sew each end of the handle in place, leaving about an inch of space at the top of the purse (for sewing space later on).



Next, it’s time to sew the drawstring portion of the blog.


First of all, measure the width of pant leg opening.



Then, use that number to figure out the dimensions of the 2 fabric pieces you’ll need.  For the fabric HEIGHT measurement, divide the pant leg width and divide by 2.5….and then add 1.25 inches and 1.5 inches to that number.  And for the fabric WIDTH measurement, add 2 inches to the pant leg width.


For example — my pant leg was about 7 inches wide.  SO for the fabric height, I divided 7 by 2.5, which is 2.8.  Then added 1.25 and 1.5….which is 5.55 inches.  (But it doesn’t have to be super exact, so I bumped it to 5.5)  And for the fabric width, I added 2 inches to 7, which is 9 inches.  So, my fabric measurements are 5.5 x 9 inches.


You need 2 fabric pieces with those dimensions.




Place your two fabric pieces together (with right sides together) and sew the two HEIGHT edges together, with a 1 INCH SEAM ALLOWANCE.  Leave a 1.25 inch opening at the top of both sides.



Then, finish off the raw edges of your seam edges by folding under 1/3 of an inch, then another 1/3 of an inch and then sew in place.  Repeat with all 4 inside seam edges.



Then, fold down the upper edge of your fabric (the end that has the openings at both side) a 1/2 inch, then another 3/4 inch…then pin in place.



Repeat folding down the rest of the upper edges the same way and pin it in place.



Then sew in place place, nice and close to the bottom folded edge.



Now, I actually realized that I should have left a 2 inch gap at the top of both side seams… you can go ahead and do that.  But it was actually a good guide to leave a 1.25 inch gap…..and then you can just use a seam ripper to pick out those few stitches.



Now, cut 2 pieces of cording that are about 2-3 inches longer than the circumference of your fabric opening.  Then, thread your two cord pieces through the casing you created, the same way as the Fishy Purse tutorial.



Tie knots in the ends of both pieces of cording.



Turn the INNER purse piece INSIDE OUT.  Then keep the fabric piece you just sewed RIGHT SIDE OUT and then overlap it around the upper opening of the jeans by 1.5 inches.  Pin in place.






Sew in place, 1/4 inch from the bottom edge of the fabric.



Then, slide inside the OUTER purse piece.



Even up the upper edges of both the inner and outer purse pieces.  Match up the sides as well and pin in place.



Sew around the top edges of the inner and outer purse pieces, about 3/4 inches from the top jean edge.  That way, the drawstring fabric will be able to sink down inside just a bit when you cinch it in.



And that’s it… cinch it right in!



Then fill that little purse right up……and enjoy!



Such a great way to use up those old jeans!



Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Marta says:

    Thanks for this tutorial. I’m a debutant in sew and I’ve a doubt: i don’t understand where is the second part of the jeans and how you sew the yellow part to the other part.

    Thanks a lot for your block!!

  2. Amie'lie says:

    Hello baby Chloé, tu as un bien joli sac, bravo Ashley !

  3. Jo skidmore says:

    Cute project for a cute girl! She’s growing up so quickly! I remember when she was born! Wwwwaaaahhh!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Love this so creative! You are amazing for taking the time to take great step by step pictures for all of us! I truly appreciate your time and creativity!

  5. Cucicucicoo: Ecological Living says:

    That is really adorable! That pop of color is fantastic! :) Lisa

  6. Anonymous says:

    Love your tutorial. My son will love this.

  7. Branka says:

    Thank you for another great tutorial! I love upcycling jeans. :)

  8. Maryse says:

    Ashley, you’re a genius! This is so cute and what a fun way to upcycle old jeans. I’m pinning this to make for my grand-daughter. Thanks for another great tutorial! BTW, you have the BEST little models! They seem to truly enjoy posing with your newest creations.

    1. Ashley says:

      They really are sweet kiddos! I think they just like to see what kind of thing I’ve made for them! Whenever I’m sewing they all ask, “is that for me?!?!” Haha!

      Good luck!

  9. Kim says:

    Love it! Great idea to use up the old jeans. I might leave a belt loop or two for the little charms and sanitizer to hang from.

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh, that’s a really cute idea!!

      Thanks Kim!

  10. Britta says:

    Love this idea! I think I’ll use my husband’s old jeans to make this a little bigger for a church bag for my daughter. Thanks!

    1. Ashley says:

      That would be awesome!! Too bad those huge 70s flared legs are out of style….then we could make huge over-niter bags! ;)

  11. Kylie says:

    Great tutorial! I would love to make these for my nieces.

    I am viewing your blog on my mobile which isnt very user friendly and the amount of ads unfortunately detracts from your actual post. Just an honest observation.

    1. Ashley says:

      Thanks for letting me know. The mobile view definitely has some kinks that I’m trying to iron out with my ad companies. When you make your website “mobile friendly” (which helps with load time, visibility, google searches, etc), it also requires weird ad placement. The ad companies want their ads to be seen…..but with the “mobile friendly” setup, it’s harder to see. So, they slap them right into the post. I’m really trying to figure out how to adjust the frequency (because it’s not an option for now) but hopefully the ad companies will get this worked out. But realistically, those ad companies are what keeps this site free for everyone reading…….so I can’t hate them either. Ha! Anyway, thanks for the input…..and I’ll keep trying to tweak things and find a better balance. :)


  12. Introverte Mama says:

    So sweet!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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