Up-Cycling Workshop by @ItsSewSimple


Last week, I organised an Up Cycling workshop for under 15 year-olds. I have been given 10 pairs of old jeans to work with. I have set about thinking of ideas and decided on making bags.

As you can see from the pictures, the jeans are highly-embellished with top stitching and pocket decoration. Using dot and cross paper, I made a paper pattern from an old bag I had at home and started to cut-up the jeans.

I opened up the jeans from the inside leg seam with a un-picker. You would be surprised how much fabric goes into one leg! I used the hem as the top of one side of the bag and placed the pattern over the top edge using the pocket as detail. I made sure the pocket was not too close to the hem, as this would be too thick to sew through.


One of the pair of jeans had a strap detail with little metal d-rings and hooks. So, I cut these off and kept them to one side to use for the straps later. Once I had cut out these parts away, I over locked the seam edges with red thread to match the pocket embroidery. I had to be really careful when overlocking, as some parts of the bag were very thick. I am making a simple tote bag; it was very quick and easy to sew together, especially as I used finished edges for the top part of the bag.

I then attached the belt loops to the top, so as to attach the straps. @ItsSewSimple! I will use this as an example for the students. Students are even more creative and I they had the chance to think of their own parts/ideas to use. The embroidery machine was also available, so students added their names and/or a picture to their bags. I  also made several paper patterns, so they could all work individually; we also used freeze paper to create a stencil on their bags.

Here are some images of the students’ finished work.




This September, @ItsSewSimple will be exhibiting at The Hand Made Fair at the Hampton Court Palace. The Handmade Fair brings together inspiring craft making with Kirstie Allsopp’s best designers and artisans, teaching and selling craft products and beautifully designed handmade wares. You can see my work on their website, click the shopping link on: www.thehandmadefair.com