Think twice before you throw out your old jeans – upcycle them into something useful instead

Organiser made with old jeans

Have an old pair of jeans or two lying around? We’ve come up with two clever ways to upcycle them into a stylish storage idea and a fashionable denim tote bag.

To make the jeans pocket organiser – an easy-peasy make – you will need:

✤ Five pairs of old jeans
✤ 62 x 80cm blue
cotton fabric
✤ Two 56cm dowels
✤ Tape measure
✤ Baker’s twine
✤ Sewing machine
✤ Matching sewing threads
✤ Scissors

1 Fold over the two long sides of the blue cotton fabric by 1cm, then 1cm again, and press. Fold 1cm, then 2.5cm, at the two short edges, then stitch along to create channels to hold the wooden dowels.

2 Cut around the back pockets from the jeans. Position the pockets on to the backing fabric in three rows and measure from the top edge to ensure they are all level. Pin in place. Machine-stitch down the sides and along the bottom of each pocket to secure.

3 Thread a length of twine through the top of the fabric channel and tie the ends together to make a hanger. Slide the wooden dowels into the top and bottom channels and hang on a wall.

Tote made with old jeans

To make denim tote bag using old jeans – a slightly more tricky make – you will need:

1. Fold the two strap pieces in half lengthways, right sides facing, and pin. Machine-stitch along the pinned edge of each strap and trim the seam allowance.

Attach a safety pin to the end of one of the straps and gradually push through to turn right side out. Repeat with the other strap and press.

2. Position the pocket on the right side of one of your denim pieces, so that the top of your pocket is approximately 15cm down from one short edge. Pin and machine-stitch down each side and along the lower edge.

3. Place the two outer pieces together, with right sides facing, making sure the pocket is the right way up. Pin the sides and lower edges together.

4. Using a ruler and pen, draw 4cm squares to each of the lower two corners, and cut out. Machine-stitch the lower edges together, press the seam open and top stitch close to both sides of the seam.

5. Place the two pieces back together, right sides facing, pin and machine-stitch along the two side edges. Press the seams open.

6. At each lower corner, bring the side and lower seams together, pin and stitch along the raw edges to box the corners. Trim the seam allowances and turn right side out.

7. Repeat from Step 2 to assemble the lining, leaving a 10cm gap at the lower edge for turning through. Leave the lining with the wrong side out.

8. On the top front edge of the outer bag, mark 7cm in from each side seam, turn the bag over and repeat on the back of the bag.

9. Place the outside edge of each of the strap ends at the marked points, with the raw edges aligned at the top. Pin and tack the straps in position, taking care not to twist
the straps.

10. Place the outer bag into the lining so that right sides are facing, with the straps enclosed between the layers.

11. Align the side seams, pin and machine-stitch around the top edge. Pull the outer bag and straps through the gap at the bottom of the bag and turn the bag right side out. Hand-stitch the gap closed.

12. Push the lining into the outer bag and press.