i was hanging out with a girlfriend of mine the other day and we were both coveting those beautiful leather tote bags we have been seeing around the internet lately. it is such a great bag for moms, students, or women who end up carrying their whole life in their person. this one from madewell is my favorite, but unfortunately i don't have $168 to spend on a purse right now. so, what does any thrift loving, crafty girl do? make her own! or in my case- make one for my friend! i first went to the only fabric store in town. they didn't sell leather and if they did, i doubt i could afford it. so i went to the thrift store and found a 70s old man leather jacket. it was butter soft leather but an overall awful jacket. but for $7 it was the right price for leather. i took it home and deconstructed every seam so the leather laid flat. i think the hardest part was to find the right tutorial on how to make a tote bag. i found this one by bijou lovely. it is such an easy tutorial that it really becomes fool proof.
so breaking it down. things i like about the project: easy tutorial. all it required was the leather from an old jacket and lining. second, the bag is reversible! i made this fabric a while ago by following directions to bleach napkins from the design sponge book. i was going to use it to upholster the loveseat i showed you earlier. in the end i wasn't crazy about it for the upholstery but knew it had a second life.
things that didn't go so well: the bag is a little bigger than i liked. i ended up sewing the sides in the make it a bit smaller. second, this old man was a smoker. the leather, like a person's skin or hair, holds the smell. i definitely recommend cleaning the leather before you begin to sew!
overall, it is a super fun, easy, cheap project and i hope my friend gets a lot of use out of it!