Thursday, December 31, 2009

Leather Purse

I was very busy this Christmas sewing all of my Christmas presents. The one project that I spent most of my time and energy on making is a leather purse for my mother. I have never sewn with leather before and had to do some online research on how to handle leather properly when sewing. It was still quite a challenge and not everything turned out as perfectly as I wanted it to. Even with a leather needle my sewing machine sometimes just stalled and wouldn’t make a single stitch on thicker layers, which left me doing quite a lot of hand stitching during which I bent about three needles and pierced several holes into my fingertips. In the end the project turned out fine and I think my mother really likes her new purse.

As a base pattern I used the Diana bag pattern from BurdaStyle, but made the pieces a bit smaller. I had used the pattern earlier this year to make a bag for my little step sister. 

Because I didn’t have enough money to buy new leather I used my roommate's old leather coat, which she used to wear during college (and No! I swear I didn’t secretly steal it from her in the middle of the night – she wanted to throw it out because it had gotten too old and I wanted to make a leather purse, so it all came together beautifully).

I took the coat apart and salvaged the good pieces and made sure to apply a lot of leather treatment to each piece I was using. Since the individual coat pieces weren’t big enough, I had to work with the stitching lines in the coat as design details of the bag.

The lining of the purse is new. I bought a very bright reddish-pink luxurious lining.

Inside there is a zipper, a pen holder and a little pocket for a cell phone. For the penholder I repurposed an original bound buttonhole from the coat and for the cell phone pouch I used one of the side coat pockets.


Because I wanted the strap to be adjustable I used a belt buckle and had my local shoemaker punch holes in one strap with his cool little leather hole punch (I want one!). I also bought magnetic buttons to sew on so that the flap can be closed over the bag.

And here is my mum showing off her new bag on Christmas Day:

I was thinking of putting together a little tutorial on some of the stages of making this bag or on little tricks I learned on how to sew with leather. Would anyone be interested?


  1. Gosh, this looks só professionally made. What a great result!

  2. I'd love to read a tutorial on how you made this bag. It's beautiful - your Mum must have been so happy with this lovely gift.

  3. I would love a tutorial. What a great refashion idea.

  4. Wow! That is really clever and a very beautiful result. Well done!

  5. Great job- very professional. I would *love* for you to share the things you learned. Leather is my next big hurdle to get over and you advice would be so helpful!

  6. This purse looks great!
    I’m sewing a lot of leather bags, and always use leather from old clothes. It’s cheaper; it’s softer, so easier to sew. And older leather looks even better to me.
    The thickest place in the bag is usually the place where you attach handle. My trick is to use some rivets, buckles, clinchers etc and use leather glue for the places where you need to put extra backing. Design bags without sharp corners; Choose right leather: if it is very slippery in the upside and thick and soft in the wrong side, I doubt that it’s possible to sew a lot of layers with ordinary sewing machine.

  7. Awesome bag and a tutorial would be a great idea.

  8. I love it!!! It's awesome! You do beautiful work, your Mom must be very proud..


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