Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sling Bags - Part 2 (The up-cycled leather version)

        This is part two of my sling bag/boho bag/hobo bag/bucket bag/whatever else you know to call it bag tutorial. If you missed part 1 you can catch up by looking here. All the nitty gritty of measurements and directions for sewing can be found in that post.. This tote bag I am going to show you today is quite possible my most favorite thing I have ever made for myself. I. love. it.


     It makes my eyeballs smile. Really.

        Let me explain a bit about this bag. It started out looking like this...

     ...a size 4, 100% leather skirt I found at a thrift store for $2. Yes, you read that correctly. A 100% REAL leather skirt for $2. Evidently the dear folks at the thrift store don't know how expensive leather is, nor do they recognize brand names terribly well. I was only too happy to oblige them in supplying the wanted $2 and dashing out with my prize. As it is highly unlikely I will be shrinking to a size 4 in the near future, I knew this skirt, was destined to be my new hand bag. Using the general measurements of the bags I showed you yesterday, I cut out my bag. I cut it flat to work around the existing seams. I was not about to spend hours deconstructing this thing!

     I also cut the straps an inch wider. As you remember from yesterday, you have to flip the bag through the straps to get the right sides out after sewing....leather is thicker than canvas, and I wanted to make sure it would fit through!
     My next step was to embellish the outside a bit. If you remember this post, you know how I once turned a vintage crochet table cloth into a skirt. I had saved the scraps from that project, and deemed them perfect to use now! The cut out is not a perfect one, but that doesn't bother me in the least.

     I used a glue stick to lightly press the design onto the bag, and hold it in place. You do not want to use pins when working with leather. They will poke holes that do not go away. Next, I sewed the design onto the bag. I worked very slowly and tried to keep all my seams hidden within the lines of the design. You can see on the back here how that looked. (I found those numbers written on the back of the leather, once I had removed the lining...not sure if it's a date or a pattern marking?)

      I also added a few more pieces of the crochet to back of the bag, cause you know, it's gotta look pretty from all sides.

     Next, I sewed the bag together. Instead of pins holding the pieces together, I used these office clips. They are quite handy to have around when sewing, I highly recommend having some on hand.

     When sewing on leather, it's absolutely necessary to have a leather needle on your machine. You will break needles and skip stitches if you don't. The other thing about leather, is, it won't want to slide under the pressure foot. The back side of leather is sort of hairy, and it grabs and sticks. I used a single sheet of tissue paper to sew over, so that the leather would feed through properly. I have no idea where I learned that, just a trick I picked up from somewhere. It works really well.

     When you get done, you can just tear it off and pick out the bits of paper. It only takes a second to do.

      I did the inside lining and pockets the same way I showed you yesterday. I attached the lining to the outside the same way as well. For the "handle" part, I sewed on a bit more crochet before putting it together.

     I think that it, and the ticking lining, add just the right touch.

      The other thing about leather, be careful with your fingernails, machine parts, and scissor tips. Leather scratches, and you don't want to mess up the finish. Which must be why I thought a scratchy fence post with rusty barb wire was the perfect photo setting. Yup, I'm a smart one.

    Not bad for $2 eh?

     The other thing that made this such a good deal, was, the leather was in perfect condition. There was not a scuff or a scratch anywhere on it! It was also thinner, workable leather, which, unless you have an industrial machine, is pretty important.

    I hope this helps you see how even a simple design like I showed you yesterday, can be translated into any style you wish. Feel free to ask questions if there is something I haven't been clear about...and as always, I love to see your versions!

Psalms 107:1   O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 


  1. What a fabulous idea! This bag is adorable. Thank you for sharing!
    Best Wishes and Blessings,

  2. WOW! It looks amazing, what a fantastic project! x

  3. thanks for linking up to Make it MOnday! I love a refashion project! I've shared your link on the Brassy Apple Fb page!

  4. So fancy bag! I love the crocheted embellisments on it!

  5. That is really really cool. I love that you repurposed the skirt. And I love the mix of leather and lace. I would totally carry that bag with pride :)

  6. Looks fabulous and it's a great recycle! Thanks for tissue paper tip too, will definitely use that in the future. If you're looking for another place to share your creative projects I have two different parties you could join ( Make it Great starts tonight and there's themed monthly party on now too. This project would fit in perefectly at both parties, hope to see you there!

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  8. Unique sling bag design. You can also buy more sling and cross side bags Leather Sling Bag here.