How to Upcycle Denim Jeans into Tote Bags| Workshop by Thrift For Good and Zaish Denim

Welcome back to my sustainable lifestyle blog!

Happy to share about denim tote bag upcycling workshop that I attended Saturday morning, yesterday, at Thrift For Good hosted by Zaish Denim in Times Square Center, Dubai.

Upcycling is the act of adding value to give a second life to end of life waste products to prevent them from landfill.

To attend this workshop, I loved that we either had to bring our damaged denim jeans or help Thrift For Good upcycle preloved denim jeans that are not in perfect condition to sell. It’s a great way to encourage people to fix or repurpose damaged clothes and also shop second hand. Upcycling denim jeans into tote bags is also perfect timing during Plastic Free July movement as this would eliminate the need of single-use plastic bags.

Shopping second hand denim jeans in my opinion is the most sustainable way because this guarantees that no virgin materials, energy or resources have been wasted and the environment is safe from potential waste pollution during this purchase. Not to mention, virgin denim production undergoes water-intensive process of growing cotton which is one of the biggest concerns with regards to wasting of resources. Thrifting denim also helps us repurpose and reuse clothes from landfill.

The best part about shopping at Thrift For Good specifically is that your purchase goes to a good cause; helping children around the world through charitable projects that Thrift For Good supports in partnership with Gulf For Good. In addition, there are other sustainable options to shop denim jeans besides thrifting.

During this denim tote bag upcycling workshop, I acquired new skills such as sewing basics, measuring, cutting and designing fabric. Art in some way too, getting creative with beautiful decor that was readily provided by Zaish Denim.

Denim Totebag Upcycling DIY Starter Pack

What you would need for upcycling your damaged denim jeans or preloved jeans; in this workshop from Thrift For Good is a big sharp pair of scissors for cutting your denim fabric, straight ruler and pen/pencil for accurate measurements, thread and sharp needle for sewing, hot gun glue and a fusible mending fabric for repair. Decor and embroidery can be optional but greatly advised if you are into art for beautiful patch work.

Denim Tote Bag Upcycling Steps
Visualize your tote bag design to guide you through upcycling process. Zaish Denim Instructors took us through the denim upcycling steps.

Step 1: Measuring and Cutting Denim Fabric

With your ruler and pencil, measure and cut your denim jeans to match your design. Don’t forget to cut a handle or get separate handle accessories to sew into your denim bag.

Step 2: Sewing
Flip your denim fabric inside out, join your cut denim pieces together and sew around the edges using your needle and thread carefully in a straight line for a clean outlook.

Get creative. There are no rules when it comes to art and creativity. Sprinkle in some decor of your choice onto your sewn denim tote bag glue or hot gun glue. For experts, you can sew in embroidery to any pattern of your liking; florals, animals, words or tag lines. Kids had lots of fun during this session!

Extra fabric with beautiful patterns can also play as great decor. Fabric that is eco-friendly or preloved is greatly advised.

Denim Upcycled Tote Bag Designs

Below are the final upcycled tote bags that we made from the denim jeans during the workshop. Sharing as a guide to some of the ways you can turn your denims into tote bags.

It can be as simple as this.

Or as decorative as this.


Thrift For Good is a second hand store in Dubai that donates 100% of their profits to charity projects helping children around the world in partnership with Gulf For Good. For full transparency, I currently work here as the Digital Content Creator and Online Store Manager.

Zaish Denim is a social enterprise that creates handcrafted, sustainable and ethical denim shirts and jackets. Creating unique and stunning articles of clothing are only the surface, the roots lie in providing artists and artisans with the recognition and the fair wage they deserve.


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