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  Between it being outdated and way too hot for our New Orleans climate, she found that she just did not wear it any more.  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Another outdated leather coat - saved from the back of a closet and given a new lease on life!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! :)