Make Your Own Leather Fringe Bag

by Beth Huntington ; Updated October 17, 2017

Learn how to make your own upcycled leather fringe bag out of an old coat.

Ok, so maybe listening to Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stones in the studio influenced this week’s project just a little bit. But I totally loved channeling my inner hippie to make this easy leather fringe bag.

About a year ago, this huge leather coat found it’s way into my stash after a bag sale at my local thrift shop.

But the leather was a bit stiff for a coat, the buttons were hard to button, and it simply needed a new life.

If you’re thinking you can’t sew leather on your regular machine, there is no reason to be afraid. Just make sure you are using a leather needle (110/18) and your machine will do just fine. I promise. Now, let’s get started.

First cut out the lining.

Then cut four 17 1/2″ x 14 ” pieces. Two from the leather coat and two from fabric for the lining.

If you’d like an inside pocket for your phone and keys, cut a 7″ x 9″ piece of fabric.

On the top long edge of the pocket piece, fold over a quarter inch and press, then fold over another 3/4 of an inch, press and stitch.

Press under a half inch along the other three sides of the pocket.

Position your pocket on the right side of one of the lining panels. I placed mine 4″ from the top edge. Pin and sew the sides and the bottom of the pocket. Use your phone to determine the inside seam if you’d like to create a separate section for your phone.

Place the right sides of your lining fabric together, pin and sew the side seams.

Sew 2 or 3 inches on the bottom outside edges of your lining. It is very important to leave the bottom open. You will use this opening later.

Clip the corners.

Cut eight 4 1/4 x 13 inch strips of leather for the fringe.

Use a rotary cutter to cut 1/4 inch fringe on each leather strip. Leave the top edge of each strip intact.

Pin one fringe strip to the bottom of the right side of one leather panel.

Sew across the top of the leather strip.

Pin and sew the second leather fringe strip above the first, overlapping the bottom edge a quarter of an inch.

Repeat with the third and fourth fringe strips.

Sew the next four fringe strips to the right side of the other leather panel. Place the two panels right sides together with the fringe on the inside.

Sew the two sides and the bottom together with a half inch seam allowance. Be sure to sew slowly and keep all the fringe from getting into the seam.

I used the leather belt that came with the coat for the straps. I simply cut it in half and it was the perfect size.

Turn the leather bag right side out and slide it into the lining piece keeping the right sides together.

Sandwich the straps between the lining and the leather bag.

Pin the ends of the straps into position.

Sew a half inch seam along the top edges of the lining and the leather bag. Slow your machine down when you get to the straps.

Open up the bottom edge of your lining and pull the leather bag through the opening.

Open it up all the way and lay it out flat.

Pin and sew the bottom edge of the lining.

Push the lining into the leather bag.

Topstitch around the top edge of the bag so the lining will be flat and neat inside the bag.

Now you too can channel your inner hippie when carrying your 21st century laptop.

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About the Author

Beth Huntington is founder and designer of “The Renegade Seamstress”, a blog known for its simple, stylish and straightforward photo refashion tutorials. She wants to inspire even the most inexperienced sewists to try this environmentally friendly and economical way to transform thrift store finds into fashionable pieces of clothing that can be worn anywhere.