Ultimate Guide to Recycled Pants Crafts

Recycled Pants Bags

Designer handbags are expensive -- face it, not everyone can or wants to spend hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars on something that's basically a fancy tote bag. Seriously, a fabric grocery sack will do the same job. But of course, it won't be as stylish. For those of you who do care about personal style and the environment, here's a solution for you -- try your hand at creating an original handbag out of an old pair of pants.

Recycled pants bags have been around for years. Countless young girls can be spotted daily sporting denim purses. But old blue jeans aren't the only material that can be used to make pants bags. And this project is simple, so even a beginner can create something worth carrying.

In order to make a pants bag, you will need a pair of pants (or more, if you're being super creative), a sewing machine, matching thread and a pair of scissors.

To create the purse, start by cutting off the pant legs directly across the crotch area. Turn the pants inside out, and then sew up the area you just cut, leaving the waistband open. Make sure to leave a half-inch (1.3 cm) seam allowance. You can cut strips from the leg area of the pants to make the straps for the bag, or you can use fabric from another pair of pants for the straps. Sew the straps about 2 inches (5 cm) from the top of the pants, so the straps are sewn tightly into the bag. When you have the straps sewn the way you want, turn your bag right side out and enjoy the masterpiece you have created [source: Daniels].

To add some personality or flare, you can decorate your bag. The options for decorating are almost limitless. You can attach glitter, patches, decals or decorative pins to the bag itself. You could embroider a pattern on the bag or straps. Or you could use ribbon, yarn or strings intertwined around the straps of the bag. Getting creative gives the bag a signature look, and distinguishes it as a one-of-a-kind.

Whether you're looking for unique decor, a way to spice up spring-cleaning or want to hit the town in style, recycled pants crafts will get the job done for you. Just remember that outgrowing a pair of pants doesn't have to be dreadful, especially when the recycling can be so much fun.

For more recycled crafts ideas and projects, check out the links on the following page.

Related HowStuffWorks Links


  • Daniels, Donna. "Make Cloth Bags from Recycled Clothes." Associated Content. 3/6/09. (Accessed 4/5/09) http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1525489/make_cloth_bags.html
  • DIY Network. "Crafts: Clothing." (Accessed 4/5/09)http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/cr_clothing/
  • Pattern Review. "Sewing Tips and Techniques." (Accessed 4/5/09) http://sewing.patternreview.com/cgi-bin/review/readallreviews.pl?ReviewType=t
  • Rollins, Gray. "Learn How To Make A Pillow." All Free Crafts. 2008. (Accessed 4/5/09) http://www.allfreecrafts.com/sewing/pillow.shtml
  • Sewing. "Sewing Tips." (Accessed 4/5/09)http://www.sewing.com/site/techniques.aspx
  • Thrifty Fun. "Recycled Clothing Crafts." 11/22/06. (Accessed 4/5/09) http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf693151.tip.html
  • World Wide Visions. "Sewing." (Accessed 4/5/09)http://www.wwvisions.com/craftbb/sewing.html