A Denim Bag from a long time ago

A Denim Bag from a long time ago

This post is prompted because Linda at Chloe’s place is currently agonising over how much she should embellish a bag she is making from the top of a pair of denim jeans. It reminded me of this.

When I was in my early 20’s I went backpacking. I was already addicted to stitching and had two pairs of jeans one to wear and one spare. There always seems to be a lot of waiting about when travelling on the cheap. Waiting for trains, busses, meeting up with people, sitting in hostels and the like and I would pull out the jeans I was not wearing and embroider them. Both pairs ended up totally covered in stitching right to the ankles.

A couple of years after this roaming about phase I settled a bit on a commune – yep my ex-hippy status is showing through, but it was at this stage I chopped off the legs. These lengths from the legs became other items and the top section of the jeans became the top band of a layered skirt. I am sure everyone remembers how people would take an old pair of jeans and add three gathered flounces of fabric to make it a skirt. Well the top part of these jeans had three flounces were added.

Then later again I chopped off the flounces and turned the top section into a bag. I know I used this bag as an art student but that is beside the point somewhere along the way it has lost its strap. I don’t know what happened to the other pair of jeans. The legs became part of a waistcoat at one stage, and I think bits ended up as cushions too somewhere along the way. I have moved about a lot in the years between. I moved from one side of the country to another 5 times and from Australia to live in the UK for while then back to Australia I think in one of the moves I shed the other items along the way but somehow this bag survived.

As you can see its covered in embroidery – I don’t know why I did not embroider the pockets. I think I felt everyone was embroidering pockets and I wanted to be different. I am really not sure. Anyway the whole garment – when it was still a pair of jeans ended up more or less covered right down the legs. The bits of fabric were from ties and somewhere along the line I came across some velvet that is over the back section. There are also sections of beading in between chain stitch swirls and even a patch of French and bullion knots. The cottons I used were standard embroidery floss split into three strands. Floss was easy to obtain when I was traveling. It is a thing of its time in a many ways but I must admit that apart from its story one of the reasons I keep it now is that I am amazed at the waistline!

Anyway to get back to Linda’s question of how much a denim bag can be embellished I obviously think that there can never be too much. Denim is remarkably easy to embroider. It looks as if it is too thick but worn jeans are really easy to stitch through.

Now that I have seen and been reminded of this, I want to make a recycled denim bag. I really want to make one not just a little bit gosh that’s a good idea response but I really, really, really, really want to drop everything and start one! I am not going to because I am juggling a few things right now and I don’t need to start a project! That’s my sensible self trying to be assertive but by childish self is going to sulk and stamp my foot as there is not enough hours in the day. Linda always does this to me, and its worse now she keeps a blog. How dare she put ideas into my head again. Humph! I have to get ready for work…perhaps the urge will pass by 5 tonight. Do you think so?


  1. How funny to find a jean bag!! My dd saw a picture of me from 1974 with a jean bag completely done over and was curious about it. In her 12 yo mind, the 1970’s had to look like Saturday Night Fever! She really cannot imagine having a “culture” and a counter.

    She is upset that I no longer had it. She wants it. Again a lack of understanding of “shedding” belongings of an old life.

    Thank you for sharing yours.

    Miss Mary

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