No Thanks
Let

Keep In Touch With MarthaStewart.com

Sign up and we'll send inspiration straight to you.

Martha Stewart takes your privacy seriously. To learn more, please read our Privacy Policy.

Project

Leather Handbag

Give an old leather jacket from the back of your coat closet new life by turning it into a stylish everyday tote.

Materials

  • Craft paper or paper bag
  • Scissors
  • Seam ripper or craft knife
  • Leather jacket
  • Sewing machine
  • Rotary cutter
  • Ruler
  • Double-sided tape
  • Ruler tape
  • Dremel Stylus drill
  • Awl for All lockstitch sewing tool
  • Black waxed twine
  • Painter's tape

Steps

  1. Step 1

    To create the pattern for the bag, with scissors, cut a 30-inch by 18-inch rectangle out of a piece of craft paper or a paper bag. Cut a 3-inch by 3-inch square out of each corner of the rectangle.

  2. Step 2

    With a seam ripper or craft knife, remove liner from leather jacket and discard. Remove sleeves and open inside seam in each to create a flat piece of leather. Finally, remove collar and detach front panels from the back panel.

  3. Step 3

    The back panel will serve as one piece of leather. To create a second piece, patch front panels and arm pieces together with a sewing machine to fit the pattern. Lay pattern on each piece and with a rotary cutter and a ruler, cut the pattern from the leather.

  4. Step 4

    Fold each piece of leather in half, wrong sides together, securing with double-sided tape. Lay one folded piece on top of the other, right sides together, and secure edges with double-sided tape.

  5. Step 5

    Apply ruler tape along bottom and side edges of leather. Using a Dremel Stylus drill fitted with a 5/64-inch bit, drill holes every 1/4 inch, leaving a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Do this on a surface that is safe to drill into such as a workbench or a scrap of wood.

  6. Step 6

    Remove ruler tape and sew sides and bottom together using an Awl for All fitted with black waxed twine, removing double-sided tape from between the leather pieces as you sew.

  7. Step 7

    To create flat bottom of bag, open each 3-inch by 3-inch square cutout at the bottom of the bag and bring bottom and side seams together. Secure with double-sided tape, apply ruler tape, and then drill and sew as in step 5 above. Flip bag right side out.

  8. Step 8

    To make handles, cut excess leather into 1 1/4-inch by 20-inch strips, piecing leather together with a sewing machine as needed. Using a binder clip, clip 3 strips together and braid.

  9. Step 9

    To attach handles, measure 2 1/2 inches in and down from top corners of bag and mark points. Secure ends of braided handle over marked points with double-sided tape, cover with painter's tape, and use Dremel Stylus fitted with 5/64-inch bit to drill holes through the end of the strap into the bag every 1/4 inch in a 1-inch by 1-inch square. Be sure to place a scrap of wood inside bag to prevent drilling through both sides of the bag. Do this on each side for each handle.

  10. Step 10

    Remove painter's tape and sew handles to bag with Awl for All.

Source
The Martha Stewart Show, February 2011

Reviews (13)

  • Violet100 3 Oct, 2013

    This is awesome and easy!
    Thanks

  • catlynnchris 19 Apr, 2013

    In the written instructions it states to use a 30x18 inch template. In the video it says to cut a 12x18 inch template. Can you please clarify which measurement is correct? Thank you!

  • Sriyani 20 Feb, 2012

    From where can I get the template for this leather bag? If you can please send. Thanks

  • ragsangle 14 Nov, 2011

    Wow..this was so easy to make...gave me the perfect excuse to dig out my old leather and suede sewing machine , I made a liner with inside pockets with zippers, a couple outside pockets and one pocket on each side [I did adjust the side seams to accommadate my cell phone and cheated with matching elastic]...great project and so easy!

  • carylanne 28 Mar, 2011

    It's so frustrating when you see a post of one of Martha's amazing ideas and you can't view the video or follow the steps. Please post the steps necessary. Thank you!

  • ojolie 27 Mar, 2011

    I am so glad some of you mentioned the "stuttering and buffering issues", because I too have these problems. Well, I'm not glad that you have problems, it's just good to know that I'm not the only frustrated one out here. This bag does look great, but I need a pattern. How can I fix the video problem? I can never watch her videos because of this. So sorry to have taken up all of this space.Thanks, all.

  • carnanny 27 Mar, 2011

    Doesn't load correctly... Impossible to follow. A great idea if printed instructions were available.

  • marybutler2004 26 Mar, 2011

    COULD YOU PLEASE POST STEP BY STEP PHOTOS AS I HAVE A $750 BIKER JACKET THAT I RECEIVED AND WOULD LIKE TO USE FOR THIS PROJECT. I TREASURE IT DEARLY AND FIND I CAN NOT PART WITH IT. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SUCH INSPIRING WAYS TO SAVE OUR TREASURES AND MEMORIES.

  • Maureenie 26 Mar, 2011

    could you put step by step photos in an article. the video does not play correctly so it's impossible to follow how to make the purse.

  • dragonswing 26 Mar, 2011

    Couldn't watch the whole video since both of them were constantly stuttering---it was far too annoying.

  • dragonswing 26 Mar, 2011

    Couldn't watch the whole video since they were constantly stuttering--got too annoying.

  • Djwill75 26 Mar, 2011

    this video does not load properly or play without a bunch of buffering issues--PLEASE FIX THE FEED!!!

  • thisoldspouse 26 Mar, 2011

    Some follow-along photos sure would be nice. It sure sounds like a great idea!