Thursday, July 11, 2013

Blue Jean Buttercup

I’m a big purse kind of gal. My ‘purses’ are more like tote bags. When I find a nice big bag filled with pockets, I carry it forever. Sadly, I’ve been this way most of my purse carrying life.

So I can’t blame the twins.

My purse contains all of the essentials; wallet, phone, nail clippers, gum, toothbrush and toothpaste, a crochet project, a Kindle, planner, notebook, pens, cars and trucks, sippy cups, snacks, two diapers, wipes….wait! I think I may be able to blame the boys for some of the load.

I keep a grab and go bag inside of the big purse. This contains the true necessities; wallet, chap stick, phone, and keys. Usually I just pull this bag out and leave the big heifer in the car.

I have been thinking about trying to leave my baggage at home. This means I need a smaller purse.

And this is July Refashion Month.

I set out to sew a purse, with the “Use what you have” mantra ringing in my ears.

My folder of projects I want to sew someday had the perfect bag; The Buttercup Bag from Made By Rae. This pattern has been sitting in the folder for years (like three years!), taunting me.

I was intimidated by this pattern. It looked complicated. Not the pattern, but all of the finished bags floating around the web. I had myself convinced that a naptime sewer like myself didn’t have the skills to make such a beautiful bag. Heck, I have never sewn a pleat.

Then I reminded myself of the awesome bag I made last fall….and carried through three seasons. (I will show you this beauty when I find pictures.) I can do this.

So I decided I was just going to try it.

With a pair of jeans. (Because if I messed the bag up, it wouldn’t be a total waste of fabric…) Everything else came from my stash.

Here’s the finished product:

Upcycled Jeans Become Summer Handbag

This was my first time working with piping. And sewing pleats. (I decided at the last minute to add piping.)

The main bag body was cut from a pair of jeans in my denim stash. The purse upper (stripes) and lining came from fat quarters hanging out in my fabric bin.

I lined the purse upper with heavy interfacing so it would resemble the structure of the denim.

Refashioning Torn Jeans into Buttercup Bag

I wanted to feature the bright striped fabric a little more, so I changed up the straps. I cut a piece of denim and the striped fabric 2 inches by 20 inches. Then I sewed them together. The straps were looking a tad short for my taste so I added a loop and D-ring to each side. This gave me a couple more inches of strap length.

The pattern suggested a cute little button detail. I had to skip this step because naptime was coming to an end, but I may add it on in the future.

My favorite part of the bag is the inside.

Pretty Flower Purse Lining

It’s hard to tell in the photo, but this fabric is absolutely beautiful! Aqua and pink dahlias on a white background.

I added a flap to the pocket from the striped material. I also inserted a loop on one side seam, and a key holder on the other.

Featuring Loop, Hook, and Pocket Flap

Overall, I am so pleased with this bag. The pattern was very easy to follow. I highly recommend this pattern.

I do wish I had checked back at Made by Rae before cutting the pattern. She suggests enlarging the pattern by 130% for a bigger bag. This bag is on the smaller side (for me anyways). Maybe next time…

I think the outside needs a little more pizazz. Maybe paint, embroidery, or applique. For now I’m just going to live with it, I may find it doesn’t need a thing.

Do you have a project on your list that intimidates you? I cannot believe I let this one sat around so long!

Are you a BIG bag girl? If you like big bags, check out Nelesc’s denim bag. I am adding this bag to my list.


  1. lovely. I am a big bag girl too, and I've been planning on making a new one for a few months now, but never get around to do so. There are always more important or tempting projects ahead.

    1. I think I am going to try making a bigger bag soon. I am just not ready to convert! :)
      I'm with you on the list of tempting projects. I tend to get crafter ADD. Too many projects, not enough time....

  2. I completely get you with the big purse deal. I just downsized and oddly find myself packing up a tote to bring with me along side my purse... ??? haha. I think the purse is darling and you did an amazing job! Love the little key loop!

    1. Thank you! The key loop was such a simple addition, yet makes life a little easier.

  3. This one is amazing and very very pretty. You better hurry up with an Etsy shop ;)

    1. Thank you, I smile each time I open it (the lining fabric is so pretty).
      I know, I am not sure why I keep fiddling around with the etsy shop. I think I am just going to hit "open" and work out the details afterwards. (My perfectionist personality has hindered me here!) Thank you for the encouragement!!!!

  4. Theresa! You are the sweetest! Thank you so much for mentioning my bag and your bag is so cool!!! I need to downsize as well and I probably need to make smaller bags like these to do that. And kudos to you for doing piping! Piping and zippers, are two things that scare me. You did a great job!

    1. No problem, your bag is awesome, and deserves a shout out!
      The piping wasn't as difficult as I had told myself it was going to be. I hate that I get myself worked up over such easy skills.