There are two different basic handbag styles that you can make from your old denim jeans. The first handbag style is the "booty bag," which has the seat pockets of the jeans on the outside of the bag. The second handbag style is the denim tote bag.
The "booty bag" is a cinch to make because you can simply cut off the legs and use the existing front and back sides of your jeans as the sides of your bag. Use fabric scissors to cut your jeans a few inches below the back pockets but above the crotch seams, which are extremely difficult to sew through. Allow enough fabric so you'll be able to sew the bottom together. After you cut the jeans, set aside the legs for other craft projects. Turn the remaining piece inside out. Sew the bottom edges together. When you turn the piece right side out, you should have a pouch with the open waistband at the top.
Now add handles and embellishments so the pouch becomes a handbag. You can use any fabric for handles, making sure you securely stitch them onto both sides of the jean pouch. Jazz up your bag by adding a lining, a zipper or fastening device and decorative embellishments [source: Jay].
If you prefer a pocket-free purse, you can opt for the sleeker tote bag design. Use the legs that you set aside from the previous handbag design or cut pocket-free pieces from your pant leg. Using the hem of the pants as the top, turn the piece inside out and sew the cut edges together. That way, you only have to sew together one side instead of three sides. Turn the piece right side out and sew handles on to the open hem at the top. Decorate the outside of the tote bag with buttons, brooches or other items to suit your mood [source: Martha Stewart].
Now that you have a handle on handbags, read on to keep your cool in the kitchen with recycled denim potholders.