DIY PROJECT | Two Tone Leather Purse

November 13, 2015

DIY Project | Leather Purse w Zip Tabs

This two tone leather purse DIY project is a variation on the basic recycled leather zip purse I did a few months back. But this purse differs slightly with the addition of contrast fabric tabs at each of the zip. I think they work to give a much more polished and neater look. They also help the zip sit a lot flatter and the corners more square. For these reasons this is probably my favorite style of all the purse’s I have tried. Aided by the fact that I love these contrasting color combinations! Read on for detailed step by step instructions and images.

DIY PROJECT | Recycled Leather Zip Purse With Zip Tabs - Makes For Neater Zip
DIY PROJECT | Recycled Leather Zip Purse With Zip Tabs - Makes For Neater Zip

Here’s how I did it

What you’ll need:

  • Old leather garments – jacket or a skirt
  • Colorful zips
  • Leather or denim sewing machine needle
  • Contrast cotton
  • Plain fabric (non stretch)
  • Iron

Step 1| Buy some old leather garments

This is my favorite part….the hunt for the leather via all the second hand stores I can find! I love good thrift shop expedition and they are definitely the cheapest place to buy old leather garments. Look for beautiful soft leather skirts and jackets in both suede and smooth leather. Make sure the leather is not too thin as you want a little structure and strength but not too tough either as you need to be able to get your sewing machine through it without much trouble. I bought a selection of leather so I could play around and see what worked best and this way I had a good selection of colors for my two tone look.

Step 2| Cut out the purse

Cut out two pieces of leather in the size that you want, allow for a 1cm seam allowance and make sure they are exactly the same size. A rotary cutter is good for this but scissors are fine too. DIY PROJECT | Recycled Leather Zip Purse With Zip Tabs - Makes For Neater Zip

Step 3| Make the fabric tabs

Making the tabs is pretty simple, all you need to do is cut out a 4cm wide and 3cm high piece of your chosen fabric. Make sure it is non stretch. Then using an iron, press the piece of fabric in half. This gives a clear halfway line.DIY PROJECT | Recycled Leather Zip Purse With Zip Tabs - Makes For Neater ZipNow fold and press the fabric so it looks like this…… DIY PROJECT | Recycled Leather Zip Purse With Zip Tabs - Makes For Neater Zipand fold and press it in half like this……..DIY PROJECT | Recycled Leather Zip Purse With Zip Tabs - Makes For Neater Zip

Step 4| Trim the zip up to the stopper

Trim the excess material “tail” off the zip at the top end. Just above the metal stoppers. DIY PROJECT | Recycled Leather Zip Purse With Zip Tabs - Makes For Neater Zip

Step 5| Attach the fabric zip tabs

Pin the fabric tab (stay to one side as you will use the other half for the second tab at the other end of the zip) to the end of the zip like this. Make sure the zip is sandwiched inside the folded over fabric.DIY PROJECT | Recycled Leather Zip Purse With Zip Tabs - Makes For Neater ZipNow sew the fabric tab to the zip, staying as close to the edge as possible. Trim to the same width as the zip.DIY PROJECT | Recycled Leather Zip Purse With Zip Tabs - Makes For Neater Zip

Step 6 | Trim zip to correct length

Now lay the zip on top of one of the leather pieces for a measuring guide and trim the zip allowing 1cm each side for seam allowance.DIY PROJECT | Recycled Leather Zip Purse With Alternative ZipThen attach the fabric tab to the other end of the zip. Follow the same process as before. DIY PROJECT | Recycled Leather Zip Purse With Alternative Zip DIY PROJECT | Recycled Leather Zip Purse With Alternative Zip

Step 7 | Attach zip to leather pieces

Place the zip face down on right side of one of the leather pieces like so…..DIY PROJECT | Recycled Leather Zip Purse With Alternative ZipUsing a zipper foot and a leather or denim neddle, sew along the length of the zip.DIY PROJECT | Recycled Leather Zip Purse With Alternative ZipNow attach the other side of the zip. Place upside down zip onto the right side of the remaining piece of leather and sew as before.DIY PROJECT | Recycled Leather Zip Purse With Alternative Zip

Step 8 | Sew sides & bottom of purse

The final step is to sew up the purse. Pin the sides of the purse together and sew close to but not over the fabric tabs.  (p.s. sorry for bad light in these two photos)DIY PROJECT | Recycled Leather Zip Purse With Zip Tabs - Makes For Neater ZipSew both sides first then the bottom.DIY PROJECT | Recycled Leather Zip Purse With Zip Tabs - Makes For Neater ZipNow trim the corners and turn the purse in the correct way. Making sure you push the corners out properly, they may need a little coxing and then your all done.DIY PROJECT | Recycled Leather Zip Purse With Zip Tabs - Makes For Neater Zip DIY PROJECT | Recycled Leather Zip Purse With Zip Tabs - Makes For Neater ZipHe strikes again!!! He’s never far away…..always popping up in the middle of a photo shoot!!DIY Project | Leather Purse w Zip Tabs

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11 Comments

  • Reply Anne November 14, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    I’m loving the bright zippers contrasting with the neutral leather! I’ve got a post on Craft Gossip scheduled for tomorrow afternoon that features your tutorial: http://sewing.craftgossip.com/?p=85385 –Anne

    • Reply Alana November 14, 2015 at 8:23 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Anne and thanks so much for the sharing!! I can’t wait to check it out. Alana

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  • Reply Marian Weber April 8, 2016 at 3:35 am

    Oh how I love these two tone leather purse. This tutorial you made is super great. I have never been able to figure out how to put the zippers in. You have explained this brilliantly.Now I can make these beautiful purses. My grown daughter hates to use a full pocketbook so she just carries clutches. I know she will love this, it is so colorful. I will have to make granddaughter one also so she does not take moms. My 7 year old granddaughter is crazy about purses. I do not have any leather items so can I use leather fabric? Thanks for tutorial.

    • Reply Alana April 8, 2016 at 10:39 am

      Thanks Marian, appreciate you taking the time to comment. I’m glad the zip part was helpful and you can totally use a leather fabric or any other strong fabric. Hope your daughter and granddaughter enjoy them. I have another purse/clutch tutorial you may like here

  • Reply merrell February 14, 2017 at 3:37 am

    unzip the zipper before you sew the bottom together or you can’t
    turn it right side out

    • Reply Alana February 14, 2017 at 3:51 pm

      Yes definitely a must!! 🙂

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