Recycled chic: DIY shoulder bag from an old pair of jeans

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The next time you have an old pair of jeans you're about to throw into the trash, think twice and turn them into a handy shoulder bag or purse.

This was the case a few weeks ago when my boyfriend wanted to get rid of a worn out pair of jeans. I quickly intervened and rescued them, turning them into a stylish shoulder bag with my mad sewing skills (thank you, middle school Home Ec.) which I now use as a purse or even as a reusable shopping bag. It's very sturdy (even more so after repairing the hole in the posterior area) and can perfectly fit my laptop.

I've seen these bags for sale in stores and online for upwards of $40. Why not save some dough while being green by making your own? Even if you don't have a pair of jeans lying around that you'd like to tear apart for this project, simply go to the thrift store and buy some for a few bucks. You'll have a fabulous new bag and the gratification of doing it yourself.

Following the instructions in the video below, I had stitched my way to success within a short period of time. Even if you don't own a sewing machine (like me), it's just simple stitching that you can do by hand. All you need is a pair of jeans, some sturdy thread (they make some specifically for use on denim), and a medium-sized needle. You can also add extra flair with fabric markers, sequins, or whatever your heart desires to make it uniquely yours.

As for the straps, I made mine from braided strips of denim I salvaged from the legs of the jeans: Cut six 3/4-inch strips from a leftover leg, sewed three of them together at one end, braided, sewed together the end of the braid, then did the same with the other three pieces. I then sewed them to the waistband of the jeans (see pictures).

Check out the video tutorial and get started!

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