Dilly ‘Bag Lady’


Traditional aboriginal dillybags

Take, if you must, this little bag of dreams, Unloose the cord, and they will wrap you round.

William Butler Yeats

I am a gypsy. I havent’ had a home for a long time. Call me a homeless person – I just throw everything in a bag and I’m good to go.

Taylor Kinney


My first ever Denim Dillybag that sold the very moment it was displayed. Made from jeans donated by Patrick from Melton Sustainable Living Group.

Sometime ago, RUDE Girl attended a local festival to showcase refashioning.  I had made a few items to sell.  And what sold first up, as I was putting it out for display, was a denim dillybag that I had made from recycled jeans.  The lovely lady jumped on it because it was unique and cheaply priced.  I knew at that moment that I had under priced the bag.  What I did determine however,  was that if I ever wanted to sell this style of bag again, I could definitely charge double the price.

I was really pleased this lovely lady was happy and that she was walking around the festival with it strapped across her body [photo above]

I think I first came across the word dillybag when my mother made a version of one for me.  It was a little drawstring bag.  It was to hold my handkerchief and maybe a lipstick.  I was going out to an evening gathering at a school friend’s place.  Unfortunately, I was totally overdressed in a homemade long evening dress, matching dillybag and long velvet cape with a hood!  I was very embarrassed, as it was a very casual family get together. 

As a result of this experience you can probably understand why I am no longer a overdresser, preferring the far left of the fashion style spectrum.  It’s scavenger style all the way for me these days.  However, I can come across as under dressed these days.  That’s fine by me.

Therefore as a result of this scarring teenage experience, I have never forgotten about dillybags because I felt like such a dill.  I did learn never again to trust my mother and her friend’s fashion sense.

I have recently made two more dillybags.  I made them for a couple of lovely Facebook friends on my closed [not accepting more members at the current time] group Bowerbirds Journal.


Julianne’s Dillybag made from a pair of recycled size 5 toddler’s jeans. Lined with recycled retro fabric from a house coat rescued from landfill. Recycled strap and hand crocheted hearts.


Maretta’s Dillybag made from recycled men’s jeans donated by Patrick from Melton Sustainable Living Group. Lined with a vintage linen tea towel printed with the Australian flag. Hand crocheted flowers and recycled strap from a vintage skirt. Fringing from roman blinds dumped at landfill.

This video was created for Maretta as a gift to accompany her denim dillybag.


Beat The Man, and like Patrick, from the local sustainable living group, donate your jeans within your own community.  Give to local artisans and make your donations more visually meaningful.


9 thoughts on “Dilly ‘Bag Lady’

    • Thank you rabidlittlehippy for your comment. I always appreciate them. Yes, love ready made when refashioning/upcycling. It saves so much time, and you do feel clever cheating in the nicest possible way.


      • I too love the cheat parts. I turned a doona cover into a dress for my daughter and repurposed the decorative buttons into buttons on the dress to save having to do buttonholes (the absolute worst part of my sewing) and I recently turned a friends old dressing gown into one for my daughter and kept the pockets etc ready to go as well. Saves so much time as well! 😀


    • Thank you Bunny. These denim dillybags are great for when you go to flea markets, garage sales etc because you can string them across your body and have your hands free for rummaging.


    • Thank you Agy for your comment. I am glad you know about dillybags now. And yes, the fringe is the highlight of this bag. It was not easy to remove from the roman blinds. It had been glued on them, not sewn!


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