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.


Cute Black Clutch Wristlet Thing

In the days before my friends bachelorette party I searched high and low for a semi-cheap black clutch or wristlet or purse to carry around with me.  For some reason this task was impossible, so a few hours before I had to leave the house I had the bright idea to make my own.  I had everything I needed here anyway, or so I thought.  I had a zipper, I had a tupperware full of fabrics I could use as a liner, I had some length of chain that I could use for the strap, but low and behold, I didn't have any suitable black material.  After the quickest trip to the fabric store that I've ever done, I was ready to create. And here it is, my cute little black clutch/wristlet thing.

The one key feature I absolutely wanted was to have the chain connecting to the zipper in such a way that it couldn't accidentally zip open while I was dancing or something.  The only way it could unzip was if I took it off of my wrist and unzipped it myself.

While I was out, unfortunately the chain worked its way out from the little loop on the side, but I was able to rig it back together with the help of my friends keys.  Haven't had any problems with it since!

Here's a shot of the inside.

Before I made this, I figured it would end up being a little throw away clutch that I would use only for this occasion, put away somewhere and forget about its existence.  In the end I actually ended up liking this thing quite a bit and plan on using it more in the future.


That's hot. Seriously. Hot, fused plastic. Tote.

Man, I haven't posted in a loooong long time.. I had to brush the dust off of this thing before I started this post! Haha.  I apologize, I don't even have a real good reason, but I'll try to make it up to you with this post. I was trying to get myself out of this no crafting deal I had been having for a while by flipping through some of my old magazines for inspiration.. when I found just what I needed.

I saw this bag on the right, and I knew I had to make one.  That bag, from Keen Footwear is actually made from woven rice paper, but I decided to do mine with fused plastic.  I used a tutorial from the Etsy Labs on how to fuse the plastic bags.  After that I just made a basic tote.. with some woven details.  Here's what was created:

I apologize for the kind of crappy pictures, my nice camera is out of commision for the time being.  Anywho, that's the bag.

Here's the back of it.

Here's some detailing..

Some more details.

The insides.

The zipper..

I usually just kinda put in the zipper without thinking about it too much.. which resulted in some not-so-pretty zippers.. but I found this wonderful tutorial on how to install zippers so they look oh so pretty, so now I use it all the time!

And that's it!  I will probably be making more of these, it's a great way to recycle plastic bags.. You could also make some reuseable grocery totes with this technique.. I saw some that they were selling at target... way over-priced for me though, considering I can make some myself!