I've seen blogs where clever folks have made handbags out of an old pair of jeans, and thought "I'll do that one day", as you do! Today, however, I decided to locate some instructions, and here is a link to Karen Weisman's fantastically clear set of videos to take you through the process step by slow and careful step:-)
So, find out an old pair of jeans, or buy a cheap second hand pair at a car boot sale or charity shop, grab your heavy duty scissors, your sewing machine, some strong thread and needles designed for denim or thick fabrics, and away you go! You can recycle an old skirt or dress to make the lining, or leave it unlines if it's just a general tote bag for shopping. I'd line it and put the zip in if you're going to use it as a handbag though.
You'll see that Karen has utilised extra pockets from the jeans and sewn them inside one of the bags, which is fine, but I think I'd rather use some of the dress/skirt fabric, as it's lighter in weight. You can measure your mobile phone and make a pocket to fit it - I'd make a simple flap to come down over it, too, fastened with a small piece of velcro. The number of times I've had to hunt at the bottom of my bag because my phone's slipped out of the pocket when I've put my bag down doesn't bear thinking about, so, if I'm making a bag, it's going to be practical!
I'd also sew on a smal horizontal strip of fabric which I'd catch down every inch or so, then there's somewhere to slip a couple of pens safely, too. If you make the strip out of elastic, you could use it to hold down a lipstick or two as well - there's no end to the clever things you could do.
I'm definitely going to give this a try - I'll show you the results when it's done, but, meanwhile, why not have a look at these short clips - you might feel inspired:-)
Make a Jeans Handbag: eHow.com