Sewing: My Purse from an Old Jacket

By Tiffany - Monday, January 07, 2013

One of my recent projects was creating a new purse. I wanted crossbody purse that was not too big and not too small; big enough to hold my phone and wallet.

Instead of going out and buying a new purse, I made one out of an old jacket I had. It was a pleather motorcycle jacket that I wore too death.

Details on how I made it (and the pattern) after the jump...

  • Thread
  • Fabric for exterior and lining (from jacket)
  • Zippers (from jacket)
  • Strap (from old belts or an old purse)
  • Strap hardware (from an old purse)

How I Made the Purse

I took a quick look on-line for inspiration and found this Roots 'Parisian saddle' bag that I really liked the shape of:

I got a few pieces of paper and started sketching. I cut it out and held it up to my body to see if it was the right size for me. I made my purse much smaller than their bag.

I loved the zippers on my jacket, so I cut out a pocket and top stitched it to the front of the purse.

The jacket also had a neat design on the sleaves, that I used for the back of the purse.

I searched a thrift store for some belts I could use for making a strap and I ended up finding a purse strap that was exactly the right length and colour for what I needed! I was going to add a liner, but I will see how it is without one first. 

Below is the finished purse. I will see how long it lasts and if it has any design flaws, which will help me the next time I make a purse.

What I Learned

I went without zipper extension fabric on the sides of the top zipper. I thought it would be fine because the zipper is so wide, but it just does not sit as well without it.

The pleather was easy to sew, but got chewed up by my sewing machine where it got thick (near the bottom corner). I added a little fabric glue to fix it and it seems fine. I have heard that some people will sew with parchment paper to stop this and I may try it if I sew with this type of fabric again.

The fabric is flimpsy, so the extra details on the back and the pocket on the front help to keep it's shape. If I were going with less detail, I would use a thicker fabric.

download .pdf

Recommended Readings

"Pattern Making for a Perfect Fit" by Steffani Linecum. It has a great chapter on purse pattern making with lots of pictures.

"Old suit = new bag" on Pinterest was also part of my inspiration.

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