Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Recent Custom Job - Upcycling a Leather Coat into a Bag

I always love to accept custom jobs.  This is what upcycling is all about!  Last week, a client approached me with a beautiful leather jacket that had classic 80's styling and a fox fur collar.  Between it being outdated and way too hot for our New Orleans climate, she found that she just did not wear it anymore.  Ever.  And it was a shame because it was in such beautiful condition!  So - she was ready to give it a new life and do some upcycling.  Here are a few shots of the coat... BEFORE:

Before - front

Before - back

Before - front detail

So now you can see what we were dealing with! :)

She did not really have too many specifications about a bag style she wanted... just that the bag be smaller in size (she is a petite woman) and that the pockets somehow be salvaged and used creatively on the panels of the bag.   She tried on a few of my current bags and I got a feel for what worked with her frame and her style.  

She also definitely wanted to save the fur to "do something with it."  So... off I went with my new treasure in hand to get started on my new project!

First - time to deconstruct the coat, detach the fur, and salvage the usable parts:

remove the lining and shoulder pads

carefully detach the fur

still being careful!

OK- The fur is removed from the jacket.  Here's what I have to work with now:

Detached the fur from the coat

Another view

Still thinking about what to do...  What a beautiful fur!

removed the waistband and cuffs

Just the leather here - look how nice it is!
 I can use those pockets!  And lots to work with thanks to that generous 80's styling!

I'll figure out what to do with this later...
 Next I get lost in designing and constructing the bag.  The fun part for me!  Almost done:

And... voila!  The finished product: a tote!

I was able to work a piece of the lining that had the client's monogram on it into the interior pocket!
Another outdated leather coat - saved from the back of a closet and given a new lease on life!  Hooray for upcycling!

Now... what to do with that fur?! :)  Stay tuned...
Upcycled Bags Handmade in New Orleans


  1. Tres chic! I love the texture of that leather, and it looks great as a simple tote!

  2. You did a great job here! I just wanna ask what did you do with the fur? It still looked so nice. I hope that you were able to create something extraordinary out of it as well. :')

    Joel Salmon

    1. Thanks, Joel! It was a really fun project. I actually ran into the client recently and she told me she carries the bag all the time now, which always makes me feel good too! As for the fur - we decided to not cut it up, but rather to use it as more of a scarf. I had left enough leather bits on either side to turn them under and create a leather backing. So now on those occasional chilly days she can simply throw it over her shoulders as a scarf/shawl and not be dragged down by an overwhelming jacket. Much better! :)