Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tutorial: Old Pants, New Bag

I spend a lot of time copying other peoples' crafts and projects; it's a great way to learn different skills and it's much easier to work when you have a solid example to help you. I therefore consider it an intellectual victory when I develop a creative idea of my own. It is highly likely that someone else has already done this exact re-purposing project, but I don't care. I did this all on my own. I am a big girl.

Drew and I went to our friends' for dinner the other night. They recently got married and this was our first time seeing them since their wedding and move to a new apartment. We bought a bottle of wine, chosen entirely for it's cute label (and because it was a Riesling and that is the best), and because I didn't want to just fork over a bottle of naked wine, I turned to my fabric stash to come up with something to sew into a bag. I noticed a pair of pants that Drew said he didn't want anymore and I thought to myself, "If I use a leg from these pants, the job is half done!" And so I present to you this tutorial so that you can do the same.

Just so you know, the pictures for each step are above the instructions for that step. Picture first, followed by instructions. Got it? Good. Go!

Step 1: Lay out your pants nice and flat. Place your wine bottle on the pants to get an idea of how much you need to cut. I wanted to have a nice big cuff on the finished bag, so I cut a bit above the knee, as you can see in the photo above. Make sure you only cut through one leg, unless you are wanting to make two bags at once.

Step 2: Turn your cut piece inside out. Line up the edges that you cut, and sew across the pants using about a 1/2 inch seam allowance. This is going to be the bottom of the bag.

The next steps will have you box the corners of the bottom of the bag. The picture above is the result that we are going for, but I wanted to show you before I explain it, in the hopes that it will help the whole thing make sense. You might also want to read through all of steps 3 and 4 before you begin working on it. Here we go.

Step 3: Grab one of the corners of the bottom of the bag. Pinch it so that the seams on the bottom and the side lay on top of one another. I like to peek inside the bag to make sure the seams line up; the picture above is my awkward attempt to show you this perspective. See how the arrow points to the matched up seams?

Step 4: Once you have your corner adequately pinched and lined up, make it nice and flat. Take a ruler and make a mark on the seam of the bottom of the bag. The larger your measurement, the wider the inside of your bag will be. My wine bottle was about 3 inches wide, so I figured if I made my mark 1.5 inches away from the end of the seam, it would turn out about right. Then draw a line across the corner, perpendicular to the seam, like I did in the photo above.

If you want to make sure your corner is exact, you can measure along the hypotenuse of each right triangle created by the bottom seam, the line you drew, and the edge of the fabric. Enjoy that trip back to geometry class? If I confused you I apologize, just check out the photo above. Measure from the corner to the drawn line along the edge of the pants. I had 2 inches on both sides, so I knew I was good to go.

Sew all the way across the line you drew, and repeat this process to box the other corner.

Ta-da! Congratulations! You boxed your corners and the hardest part is over!

Step 5: Cut off the excess on your corners.

Step 6: Turn your bag inside out. It was at this point that I realized this color of pants turned into a bag that looks very much like the brown paper bags grocery stores use for wine and liquor purchases. How appropriate!

Step 7:  Turn down the cuff of the bag, insert the wine bottle, and tie it up with a ribbon. You are all done and ready to go!

Since I used men's pants, I probably could have fit two wine bottles into the wide bag, although I did like the baggy look. I imagine women's boot cut or skinny pants would fit one bottle more snugly. This whole project, including taking pictures, took less than 30 minutes, and maybe even less than that. So easy and so cute!

P.S. In case you are curious, the wine is called Junebug Riesling, we got it for $9.99 at Target, and it was delicious- light and refreshing with a hint of sweetness!


  1. So cute! Your instructions made me very confident to try this myself sometime. The pics were very helpful too, especially the on of the boxed corners before you described in words how to do it. Thanks!!

  2. So awesome! Love this and super easy! Can't wait to try!

  3. Very cute, Angie! And a great idea- well described. I will have to try this. I hadn't thought of using pants before, but I have made some wine holders from shirtsleeves- usually men's flannel or corduroy shirts, so that the cuff buttons around the neck of the bottle. And like your pants idea, you can do 2 bottles per garment:-) (You can also make the rest of the shirt into a pillow- with the button placket down the front.)

    1. Oh, great ideas Mrs. Hubbard! Now that I know how to use the sewing machine, I cringe at the idea of throwing away clothes that are simply worn out. We do donate a lot, but for the items that maybe don't work for giveaway, into the fabric stash they go!