Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bag-y Old Jeans

While going through my crafting stash… and what fun that is too! It’s been too long!… I came across a bag that I made, wow(!), maybe 12 years ago, to hold my weaving supplies (and which has since been appropriated for other craft carrying). My dad had made me a simple Navajo style weaving loom to experiment with and I self-taught myself a bit of weaving to go along with my other string focused obsessions. My dad was a crafter too. He always loved to try new projects and was constantly busy. He wasn’t into the textiles as much as I always have been, but he was still interested and supportive. He was also always up for a challenge.

After Brad and I left the military, we ended up at my parent’s house for almost a year. It wasn’t planned, but my mother had had a major stroke and my father needed our help caring for her. Fate was kind in this timing as we were in a unique point in our lives… before kids, between jobs, significant savings to live off of. Any other time, it would have been a hardship, but it was obviously meant to be. I’m glad we had the time with them too. Anyway, once I was reading a sewing magazine and pointed out a sewing table that looked handy… next thing you know, dad is out in the workshop, constructing a sewing desk for me that could weather WWIII! It’s heavy duty, 3 big drawers, thread holders, built in outlets, etc! I don’t have it with me now (it’s in storage) because it is too massive and heavy to move! I also have a couple of embroidery stands (one with a light) that he made for me. The weaving loom happened because I had a book with a photo and instructions! Next thing you know, I’m weaving :)  The loom, and my spinning wheel, are also in storage… packed away before Cairo because I was so busy with the kids and didn’t think I’d have time for them, and we didn’t have a chance to get to these things before this post. One day I hope to have time to teach myself a little more.

Here is one of the first bits of cloth I wove. I used cotton for the warp and plain ol’ commercial yarn for the weft - because this was a learning project, I didn’t want to invest costly materials, just in case I had to toss the whole thing(!) - but it turned out nicely. I used the weaving, and an old pair of favorite jeans, to make a carry-all.


It’s about 25” long, and 15-20” around. I haven’t measured it. It’s a good size to carry around a knitting or crochet project.



The basic ‘pattern’ is a rectangle of cloth, sewn into a tube, one end of this tube is sewn onto a circle of fabric to make the base of the bag, the top is folded over and laced with a cord to make a drawstring closure.

The rectangle part of my bag was made by attaching the weaving to a piece of old jeans. I aligned the top of the weaving with the waistline so I’d have the belt loops as decor and the pocket for a little bit of extra functionality. This meant I needed to sew more material to the top of these two pieces to have a place for the drawstring. I used part of the pants leg for a ready made ‘tube’. The bottom of the bag was a circle of the denim (cut across a seam of the jeans, which is what you see on the base in the middle photo), and the cord is braided strips of denim from the same pair of old jeans. 

The result is a handy, heavy-duty bag with the casual fun style of a favorite pair of jeans.

And what did I do with the other leg of the jeans? I made it into a funky little rag doll, of course!


She’s about 18” tall, she has a charm bracelet as a necklace, knotted denim strips for hair, a beaded bracelet sewn on (which is falling apart now, but it’s amazing to have lasted as long as it has), and clothes made out of some other rag I found (it may have been an old, old pillow case(?), salvaged buttons and other sewing box scraps. My niece might recognize the hairbow as it is the same one she put on the doll years ago!


This doll spent some time as a sewing area decoration, and then she became ‘Property of Honor’ as soon as Honor was big enough to start dragging her around. She’s held up pretty well – denim is tough stuff.

Jeans are incredibly versatile and useful, even after they cease to be jeans!


Anonymous said...

Those are so fabulous!

But I *love* the weaving on the bag. It's amazing that you did that yourself. That takes some serious talent. I could NEVER do something like that.

Love the bag! It's so very pretty and unique.

SeeThroughGreen said...

that is so cool! Im not too creative when it comes to extiles... but its pretty obveous that you are lol!! Jeans really are crazy strong and versatile eh? I have one pair from 4 years ago that still look like they could be worn!

Connie said...

I have always been thoroughly absorbed with textile crafts... string, thread, wool, fabric, you name it. Mostly self-taught, and random as all get out. My mom did not craft, my dad was more into wood crafts...I have some crafts (embroidery and carvings) made by my father's parents as inspiration too. I usually had books for teachers, although there have been mentors here and there. I had started to get somewhat organized with it all years ago, but then along came kids :)... a very worthy distraction! I am thrilled to have the chance to get back into my crafts again... there's so much more that I want to learn how to do!

Nicole said...

Wow! Looks like you are very talented and what a great hobby to have.

Mama Seoul said...

very cool! i love the doll, especially.

Connie said...

When I made the doll, I was going for, well, funky... odd proportions, crazy hair, etc. I mean, she's made of denim! It doesn't lend itself to darling china fairy doll cuteness, so I didn't even consider it. But her face turned out so sweet! I think she turned out charming... and Honor adores her :)

Limningedge said...

The weaving reminds me of a piece of Navajo weaving I brought back from the USA for my Mum a long while ago. She had it for a wall hanging until she passed away and now it is on my wall ... amazing designs they have.
ps Happy Easter to you and yours :-)

Hi! I'm Janola. said...

Connie-Wow! You are incredibly crafty! That bag is pretty awesome, and the doll is very quirky- she has personality. Myself, I enjoy knitting. I would love to learn to spin my own yarn. Someday, perhaps. Congrats on returning to your old hobbies.

Christine said...

That is very cool!