Consider Using Upcycled Leather

No need to run out and buy leather — upcycled leather will do the trick. Cut up an old purse or find something at the thrift store. Don’t be put off by the zipper — this project can come together quickly, even if you’re new to sewing.

Step 1



Thread the Needle

Cut about 30” of thread and insert one end through the eye of the needle. Pull so that both ends are even and knot the end.

Step 2

Pin and Stitch the Zipper on One Side

Pin the zipper to the center of one of the 10” sides of the leather. The top side of the zipper and the pretty side of the leather should be facing each other.

Begin sewing the zipper to the leather. Insert the needle to the wrong side of the leather, about 1/4” away from the end of the zipper (unzip it if it makes it easier to sew). Make a simple straight stitch along the zipper, close to the teeth. Don’t worry if your stitches aren’t perfect.

When you reach the end, knot the thread about 1/4” on the outside of the other end of the zipper. Insert the needle through a bit of the zipper fabric and pull thread until there is a small loop remaining; then insert the needle through that small loop and pull. This makes a firm knot; repeat a couple more times.

Step 3

Sew Other Side and Secure Zipper

Pin the zipper to the other end of the leather in the same manner then sew it together.

Thread the needle again and at one end of the zipper, tack the two sides of the zipper fabric together with a few stitches, about 1/2” away from the end of the metal teeth.

Step 4

Mark and Stitch Up the Sides

On each side of the zipper, draw a straight line on the back side of the leather, starting about 1/2” outside of the ends of the metal zipper teeth.

Using the same thread, begin sewing down the side of the pouch, following the drawn line. The first few stitches may be tough because you’re stitching through multiple layers of leather; use the thimble to push the needle through if needed. When you reach the end, knot the thread in the same manner as you did previously.

Repeat the process on the other side.

Step 5

Trim Excess and Turn Right-Side Out

When both edges are sewn, trim the excess leather. Leave about 1/2” on each side. Then trim the corners on an angle, being careful not to get too close to the thread.

Flip the pouch right-side out through the zipper hole and arrange the corners so that they lay flat.