Sewing: Purse 2.0

By Tiffany - Friday, April 19, 2013

Well, my first purse from an old jacket didn't last too long. It was only a couple of months before the pleather started to tear and the layers separated in some places. But, I expected it to, as that is why it no longer worked as a jacket. The good news is that I got to make a new purse.

Behold! Purse 2.0!

This time I made the purse using an old leather jacket.


  • Thread (polyester will work)
  • Leather (from jacket)
  • Zippers (from old jacket/old purse)
  • Strap (from old purse)
  • Strap hardware (bought d-rings and used metal snaps)
This is the leather jacket I found at a second hand store. Would you believe it hardly cost anything because it was missing a button?!

How I Made the Purse

I generally followed what I did before for the original purse that I had made with a few changes.

This time, I had enough room to use one of the front side pockets without having to top-stitch it on a larger piece. I have a nice pocket that is already lined.

I had a leather sewing needle for my sewing machine and used regular polyester thread. My sewing machine was able to sew through 3 layers with no problems and started skipping stitches when I did more. I suspect I could take my sewing machine to a sewing machine repair shop to have the tension adjusted (as it used to be able to do 4 layers without problem before I took it in for maintenance). But, I don't think I'll be sewing more leather by machine any time soon (it's hard work!).

I was able to reuse the zipper and strap from the first purse. 

To allow the zipper function properly (it did not like working on a curve), I added two zipper flaps on each side. There are two straight, rectangular flaps on each side of the zipper. And then there are two curved pieces that match up with the top opening of the purse. I also top-stitched the opening and along the zipper to make the leather sit properly.

Unlike the first purse, I used larger d-rings and used metal snaps as rivets to hold the leather over the d-ring (thanks to my husband for helping me install them!). I also hand-stitched with an awl next to the d-ring to keep it in place.

After all of that, I was too tired to bother with a lining. But, it seems fine without it.

What I Learned

Next time I use leather to make a purse, I'm definitely going to use an established pattern or copy an existing purse. I think there are a few tricks with sewing leather that those types of patterns will account for.

One nice thing about sewing leather is that you don't have to finish all the seams. On the inside, I simply trimmed the excess seam allowances. The leather won't fray like fabric.

It was hard work, but I think it was worth it. I'm sure that this purse will last much longer than the last one.

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  1. What a gorgeous purse! I never thought to turn old leather items into purses and while it still looks a bit harder than I can tackle, I'm definitely inspired!