Recycled Jeans Car-Themed Tote
Rebecca Ualer took an internship in fashion design. She loves making wearable art, costumes and whimsical clothes. In this project, she makes an car-themed tote bag from an old pair of jeans.
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Project by Rebecca Ualer of Minneapolis, Minn.
Materials and Tools:
flexible fabric glue
silkscreen supplies and images *
heavy upholstery thread and needle
* Automotive-themed patches or iron-ons could also be substituted for this step.
1. Depending on opening size of the bag preferred, shop for the appropriate size of denim. For this project I prefer men's jeans, anything bigger than a 36-inch waist. For a smaller bag, check out the kids' selection.
2. Using a sharp seam ripper, rip out inseam and crotch (front up to just below zipper and back up to just below patch pockets).
3. With right sides out, carefully overlay right leg over left on both the front and back sides and stitch.
4. Determine personal preference of bag depth and cut off remaining pant legs. If a triangle opening remains, fill in with extra leg panel pieces.
5. Flip jeans inside out and sew bottom edge closed.
6. Stitch diagonally across corners to create gusset and bottom of bag.
7. Using a ball point pen, physically draw on the bag a 1-1/2-inch-wide "road." Make it one long road that twists and turns around the front, back, and bottom of the bag.
8. Select multiple locations along road edges to silkscreen road signs such as "One Way," "Cattle Crossing," "Stop," "Yield," etc. For a realistic look, select paint colors that correspond with the actual road sign colors. Allow paint to dry.
9. Using wide masking tape, mask off the area immediately next to the "road." This will facilitate "gravel" application (sand), create a clearly defined road, and keep the rest of the bag from getting messy.
10. Now that the road has been masked off, paint flexible fabric glue onto "roads." This will have to be done one side at a time. While the glue is still wet, dump sand on glue areas. Let dry. Shake off excess sand. Repeat on back and until all roads have been filled with sand. Remove and discard masking tape.
11. Determine length of shoulder strap required. This one is long, for a messenger bag look. Construct strap out of discarded denim pant legs. Stitch into top edge of waistband at both side seams.
12. Using upholstery thread and strong needle, sew real toy cars onto roads. This is easily done by wrapping thread around tires and stitching through sand/glue/fabric layer.
This one-of-a-kind handbag uses salvaged items including neckties, jeans, and silk flowers.