Working Out An Idea — Denim Bag Edition

I’ve been thinking about making a denim bag for a few weeks now. The design has been morphing in my head. I’ve made some sketches and keep changing how I want to approach this.

Last week I made a quick trip to the fabric store and bought some denim since I don’t have any old jeans on hand. And tonight I decided to start cutting and make a prototype bag.

A few nights ago I made a couple of pieced panels that will go into the bag. I used the same Brandon Mably fabrics that I used in the curvy pieced bag I made recently. I sewed the strips onto a paper foundation in a wonky fashion.

These strips will be a horizontal panel in the denim bag body.

I went back and forth on what I was going to use to give this bag some body. I thought I might use fusible fleece, but decided tonight that it would be too thick with the denim and would be a real nightmare to put the bag together.

So I decided that I would use some Shapeflex that I had on hand to give the pieced panels some oomph. I cut the Shapeflex to the same size as the panels and adhered it to the back of the piece. Then I top stitched along each seam line.

I wanted to attach the handles differently than I do with my Frankenbags. Here’s how the handles will go in. This is all just pinned now. I cut the handles six inches longer than the handles for my Frankenbags to accommodate the handle placement.

I made the bottom section of this panel by sewing together three vertical pieces of denim. I pressed the seams open and top stitched on both sides.

I got ahead of myself and sewed that seam between the pieced panel and the strip at the top of the bag before I had the handles made and in place. So I decided the best thing to do was to completely rip out the seams and start over and place the handles correctly.

Not my favorite activity.

The proportions of this bag aren’t looking quite right to me. I’ll look more closely at it tomorrow and may cut that top piece a little taller. I cut these strips to around 2 3/4 inches. I will play with some different sizes and see what works. The pieced panel may be a little too narrow as well. But I’ll know for sure when it’s all put together. It’s hard to know before you see it finished.

I’m considering this to be a prototype and anticipate that it won’t be exactly what I had in mind. I always like to get something actually made and then adjust where necessary to make future bags look and function correctly.

I’ll probably fuse another larger piece of Shapeflex to the bag panels to give them a little stability and to hold it all together. I’ve also wanted to try using some fusible interfacing on the lining of a bag, so I’ll do that with this bag as well to see how it works.

Maybe I’ll actually end up with something that I’ll be able to use.

After an absolutely gorgeous weekend, it poured rain almost all day today. My poor dogs were so bored with being office dogs.

We did actually have a brief break in the rain this afternoon so we stepped way for our usual two mile walk. We had pretty good luck but did get wet during the last half mile.

And then the boys took another snooze.

I have a busy work week coming up. So many meetings and a big fundraising campaign starting on Thursday. Better get some sleep!

6 Replies to “Working Out An Idea — Denim Bag Edition”

  1. Looks great – I can’t wait to see the finished version! If the shapeflex works, would you foundation piece the print fabrics directly onto that, rather than use paper only to take it out? I have done a similar thing on fusible foam batting to make coffee cosy’s and it worked great as long as I was careful with my ironing! Cheers, Rachel

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The only problem with using the shapeflex as the foundation would be pressing as you go along. It has that adhesive. Not sure how well I would handle that. I’ll have to give it some thought.

      The paper I’m using was packing material in packages from Amazon. It tears REALLY easily so it’s not a pain to use.



    1. I had this Shapeflex on hand but don’t remember what I used it for. It might have been purchased for a blue batik bag that has been sitting unfinished since before I bought my Bernina… I was waiting for a better machine that could sew nicely through thick layers. Might need to pull that out and finish it!



  2. I love your idea of a denim Frankenbag! I love denim! I get mine from yard sales, thrift stores, and friends…who are usually happy to support my creative adventures!

    I might try something like this…I call this my picnic blanket since it goes everywhere with me and gets thrown on the ground constantly! And gets washed often, which makes it look even better surprisingly…perfect for a working tote! I love that this technique is self finishing so literally the back and front as once, so no liner needed, but could certainly add inside pockets somehow…

    It’s quite heavy which I really like, but could certainly add batting or bosal if more shape is wanted…and do some fun fabrics and funky shapes! so just thought I’d share…I make some fun pot holders out of the leftover Jean pockets…very fun gifts!

    I don’t know if responding to your emails is appropriate…I couldn’t send pics on your blog as far as I could tell?

    Anyway, I so enjoy your art and pups! We found out recently that our 10-1/2 year old border collie has HSA (a crazy aggressive cancer) but our daughter did super research and got her on a menagerie of supplements and she’s still with us (8 weeks longer!) thank goodness! We’ll take every precious day we can get❤️💔

    Hugs and Stitches, Laura Kelly Sent from Laura’s iPad


    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you sent photos, I can’t receive them through response to my blog email. Please send them to me at

      So sorry to hear about your dog. There are so many terrible cancers out there these days. Rico’s mom died of cancer at age five. It makes me so sad to think about it. And a friend’s dog had a leg amputated a couple months ago because of cancer… but she’s doing well so far.

      I’m always happy to hear from my blog readers! Don’t be shy!



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