On one of my recent trips to Goodwill, I came across a beautiful midi length genuine leather skirt. The leather was in great condition a.k.a. makes me wanna rub my face on it soft, and it was a whopping… $4.49! Literally you cannot buy leather anything for under $5. Its’ only problems were that it was too big, and not really my style. How could I pass up this like new condition leather skirt though? I started to rack my brain for options: I could get it altered to better suit my body and style, there’s the option of reselling it, or I could completely dismantle it, and turn it into an amazing buttery-soft bucket bag. I’ll take option 3 please!
So I set forth with my ‘new’ skirt and sewing machine to bring y’all the best DIY of all time, this on trend leather bucket bag, complete with chain strap and O ring closure! I pulled inspiration from some of my current favorite bags; this Simon Miller bag , and this Yves Saint Laurent bag. Both well above my $5 budget. I have been dreaming of owning either of these bags for some time, but unwilling to shell out the hundreds of dollars they cost, I took matters into my own hands, literally. With these designs in mind, I was able to create my own unique bag inspired by these designers, but completely my own – and you can too, following the steps below! I’d say this a mid level project depending on the material used (sturdier fabric like leather I found to be more tedious to sew than cotton). However, it is a very simple design, and a great learning tool for that reason. If you are looking to work on your sewing skills…i.e. me, this DIY is for you. If I can do it, you can too!
- Tape measure or ruler
- Pen or marker
- Eyelet Tool (You can purchase this at any craft store)
- Sewing Machine
- Fabric for shell and liner. Any fabric you want! – I highly recommend checking out your local thrift store for fabric, or a second hand item of clothing to re-purpose.
- Thread that is the same color as your fabric
- Eyelets (I purchased the 3/8″)
- O ring (optional, but oh so cute!) – I re-purposed mine from a second hand bag I purchased from the Goodwill Outlet for $.20, but they can also be purchased at a craft store.
- Start by cutting your leather and liner fabric into two equal sized rectangles. I measured 25″ by 12″. If you’d like a smaller or larger bag just adjust measurements accordingly. Be aware to measure slightly larger than what you want your bag’s final dimensions to be so there is plenty of room for sewing your seams and hems! I added 1″ to the length of my bag so it will have a 24″ circumference when done.
- Fold the the leather rectangle in half length-wise inside-out so that the edges line up, and sew along the sides to create a tube. Repeat with your liner fabric. This is the sides of the bag.
- Then, cut your leather and liner into two equal sized circles. Their circumference should be the same length as the length of your rectangles, as these will be the bottom of the bag. In my case, the circumference of my circle was about 24.5″ to leave room for the seam.
- Take the liner circle and pin to the liner tube wrong side out, then sew along the path of your pins about 1/8″ inch from the edge to create that classic bucket bag shape.
- Repeat the above step with your leather, until you have two equal sized bags.
- Next, flip your liner bag right side out. Slip your leather bag into your liner bag, lining up the top edges of your liner and leather together. Fold down the top edge about a 1/2″, pin down the edges, and sew along your pin’s path to create your top hem, securing your liner onto the leather shell.
- Now flip your bucket bag right side out, and your bag’s structure is complete!
- Your bag is now ready for the final details! Cut four holes equally spaced apart about 1.5″ from the top hem of the bag. Your holes should be just large enough to slip your eyelet through. I used 3/8″ eyelet, so I made about 1/4″ cuts. If you’d like to add more eyelets then adjust spacing accordingly. (Tip: If you’re unsure how to use eyelets, the eyelet tool comes with very clear, simple directions!)
- Place your bag onto a hard surface such as concrete. Following the instructions provided on the eyelet tool, hammer your anvil until your eyelet is secure. Repeat on remaining eyelets.
- String your chain through the eyelets. Using a pair of pliers, conjoin the ends of your chain together, leaving the desired amount of chain to make your straps. The chain will act as your straps and drawstring.
- You can stop here, and have a super cute bag, or you can add this O ring closure which adds some great detail! Cut a small rectangular leather strip. Mine measured about 3″ by 2″. Again, leave about 1/2″ extra for the seam.
- Fold leather rectangular piece in half length-wise wrong side out, so that the edges are matched up, and sew along the edges to form a tube. Flip the tube right side out. You can stop here, or sew down the edges of each side length-wise to make the strip a bit more structured, but this if completely optional,
- Line up the end of your leather strip about a 1/2″ below the top hem of the bag, equal distance between two eyelets. Sew one end of the strip onto the bag. Then, loop your leather strip around the O ring, and sew the opposite end of the strip on top of your initial end’s seam to tightly secure the ring, and your bag is complete!
If you try making your own bucket bag please let me know, I’d love to see your own creations! The beauty in a DIY is making it unique to your own personal style, so always be creative, utilize your local thrift store, and have fun creating!