cross body


Upcycled Leather Jacket Purse

I've been craving a leather purse recently, but they're always too pricey for me, and I would feel too bad about buying a brand new leather purse when there are plenty of used leather things sitting at thrift stores just waiting for a new life.  While browsing through clothes at a Goodwill while I was out of town last week, I found a jacket that I was convinced would work perfectly for the type of bag I wanted to make.  My boyfriend thought it wouldn't be enough material, but he was wrong - he should know by now not to doubt me. :) So here is the jacket I bought.  A nice deep brown leather jacket.  $13.  Perfect. 

I've actually been lusting over a specific purse, so I thought to myself that it would be good to use that bag as a rough blueprint for the purse I was going to make.  Here is that purse:

The Lucky Brand Abbey Road messenger-type bag.  It's convertible.  You can use it as either a cross body bag or you could tuck the longer strap away and use it as a hand held bag with the smaller straps.

And it's $178.

So that was my mission, to make a similar bag with the jacket I got.

And I think I did a pretty damn good job of it for my first time working with leather this way.Front.  I used the existing pockets to my advantage.  You can never have too many pockets on your purse.The best part about making your own purse while using an inspiration is that you can put things where you want them.  In the original bag, the zipper was in the front and hidden by the folded over flaps, but I prefer the outer zipper to be on the back so it's more easily accessible to me.

Here's what it'd look like if I were to be holding it with the smaller straps.  I made the short straps just long enough so I could put it over my shoulder if I felt like it.  I believe the straps aren't long enough to do that with the original bag.Adjustable length straps.  Even though I'll probably only use one length every time I use it, at least I'll have the other option.And opened!  You can probably see some parts where I could have put it together better, but I wasn't sure how.  Example, the stitching along the top, on the lining.  It was to attach the top piece of leather with the straps.  It was kind of a "plan B" thing.  I originally wanted to attach it by folding the leather in and doing a nice top stitch across it, but I didn't cut the piece long enough and I didn't have enough left over to cut that shape again.  So thought I'd just leave it with the raw edge and do a nice decorative stitch over it so it wouldn't look too bad.  Good idea, not very good results.  My sewing machine didn't appreciate trying to do decorative stitches with thick-ish leather.  Oh well.  I just sucked it up and dealt with it.  I was getting too frustrated with it and didn't want to take it all out and try to redo it because it would poke too many holes in the leather and I was worried it would make it too weak there and possibly tear.Here's a close up of my little tag I made.  I have tags made out of ribbon, but I thought it wouldn't match the purse very well.  In the original bag they have their logo stamped out on leather.  Unfortunately, I don't own a leather stamping kit.  I decided to do the next best thing, which was to burn my name into the leather.  I don't know what happened to my wood burning tool, so I used my soldering iron to do this.  Very. Carefully.  You can't see it very well in this picture, but the letters are slightly recessed which makes it look very nice.  This is probably the part I'm most proud of.

And here's an action shot of it so you can see how big it is and where it sits on the body when worn.

Aside from a few little things, I love how it turned out.  I love that I was able to upcycle some leather and make a decent bag out of it, and I think I'm addicted now.  I'm already getting ready to make another upcycled leather bag for my boyfriend's mom.