Thursday, January 23, 2014

Upcycle: Child's Lined Tote-Bag from a Pair of Jeans

What's the perfect gift for a little guy or girl who loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse? Why, of course, it's a Mickey Mouse Tote bag! This low-cost project is made from a pair of jeans with lots of pockets to carry Mickey, Minnie, crayons, and books/coloring books inside. Use my easy directions and photos to create a tote for your "Clubhouse" fan!


A pair of jeans (I bought boys' size 7 jeans from a thrift store for $2.00.)
1/2 yard fabric for lining


Lay the jeans out flat on a smooth surface. Measure and cut the legs off to desired length.

Note: I used a coloring book to help determine the desired length, which was 13" for this tote.

After 1 leg is cut, fold the jeans together to cut the other for an accurate cut.

Remove the leg seam.

Use a seam ripper to carefully remove stitching in the crotch to make the front and back seams straight.

Remove the extra fabric, and turn under top fabric. Pin.

Using thread to match the existing thread, top-stitch two rows, continuing the seam to the bottom of the bag. On the inside, apply Fray-check to the raw edges to prevent raveling.

Note: I sewed each seam twice to make the seam look more like the original seam on the jeans.

Turn the bag to the wrong side. Pin and sew the bottom together with a 3/8" seam, matching centers. Sew the seam again to reinforce. Zigzag stitch or serge the raw edges.

Lay the bag on the folded lining fabric and cut 2 pieces of lining, allowing a seam allowance of 5/8". 

With right sides together, sew the lining sides and bottom together, leaving the top open. Finishing this seam is optional. Turn lining top under 3/8" and sew a straight stitch around the top of the lining.

To "box" the bottom of the bag, on wrong side of bag, fold the bag equally with the bottom seam in the middle. Measure approximately 1-1/2" in from the corner and pin. Sew straight across 2x. Repeat on other side.

"Box" the corners of the lining (see instructions above).

For straps, from 1 leg, cut 2 strips 13" long and 3" wide.

Note: I didn't use the seam when I cut the straps because the extra layers of fabric are difficult to sew through when attaching the straps to the bag.

Fold straps in half lengthwise with wrong sides together. Fold raw edges under approximately 3/8" and press. Edge-stitch the length of the straps on both sides. Finish the strap ends with a zigzag stitch or serge.

Evenly space the straps on the front and back of the bag and pin in place, allowing about 1" of the straps to be on the inside of bag. Sew the straps securely to the bag. 

Insert the lining in the bag and match centers and sides. Pleat any extra fullness on the sides and pin. Edge-stitch the lining to be bag.

For the handkerchief, cut a 9" square of fabric. Pick fabric square up in the middle and insert edges in pocket, making sure no raw edges show. Sew along upper pocket hem. Trim extra fabric and finish seam.

The bag is finished!

Back view
Front view

Daddy helps Lucas check out his new Mickey Mouse Tote!


  1. The beginning of this is also a great way to make a jean skirt out of old jeans. I've done it before! - Leslie

    1. Thanks for sharing, Leslie! I would love to see a picture of your jean skirt. I also have made other items out of jeans, and I plan to share them soon!