The purse I use pretty much daily is a deep bucket bag with no pockets whatsoever. I love the way it looks and still use it all the time, BUT it does get occasionally annoying to fish something out from the bottom (like keys), when I’ve got a bunch of stuff in there already.
So, as an alternative for days when I want something smaller and more manageable, I’m sharing this leather DIY drawstring bag, inspired by this — ever-popular Clare V purse that I also love. When you want to just run out the door with a few things (and be able to quickly find said things in your bag), this DIY purse idea is a great option. And because the silhouette is so simple and clean, you could use it year round with a more neutral leather, if something bright and pop-y isn’t your thing. Click through for the quick and easy sewing tutorial.
The dimensions for this project are for a medium size drawstring purse. But with a few tweaks in the measurements, you could turn these tiny and use it as a mini coin purse bag or makeup bag, etc. OR go the other way on the scale and make a full size purse. Just something to keep in mind while recreating this project. Here’s how to make your own…
Materials You’ll Need to Make a Leather Drawstring Purse
- one piece of leather (roughly 24 inches x 12 inches)
- fabric scissors
- sharp blade (or sharp scissors)
- marking tool
- sewing machine and thread to match your leather color
How to Make a Leather Drawstring Purse
Quick note, before getting started, you may need to change out the foot on your sewing machine to accommodate the leather.
1. Measure and cut the three pieces of leather you’ll need. The first piece of leather will be for the body of the bag and that should measure 18 inches by 9 inches. And then you’ll create two long strips from the remaining scrap – each 24 inches by 1.25 inches for the drawstrings.
2. Once everything is cut, take the larger piece (the body of the bag) and fold the leather in half so that the ‘wrong sides’ (meaning what will eventually be the interior of the bag) are facing out. See photo.
3. Then sew a straight line on both of the sides (about 1/4 inch in from the edges), leaving the top open. Backstitch at the beginning and end of each side. We left a raw edge at the top of the bag, so make sure to make a clean cut in step one.
4. Roughly 2 inches down from the top of the bag, make three 1 inch vertical slits, 1.25 inches apart on each side of the bag for the drawstrings. We found that a sharp blade (like an X-acto) was the easiest tool.
5. Now, you can make the drawstrings. Grab the remaining two pieces of leather that were cut in step one. Then, fold the fabric over (wrong sides together – right sides facing out) and sew a straight line using a 1/4 inch inseam for each piece of leather. As shown in photo.
6. Turn the bag right side out. String each drawstring through going opposite directions and knot the ends.
I love the green pop of color for summer, but a more neutral leather would be a great option for fall / winter and general year round use. You could even paint a design on the leather before sewing if you wanted something with more of a pattern. Kind of similar to what I did for the DIY lunch bag project, but with leather instead of canvas. All you’d need is textile paint and a paint brush. So easy!
Photography Amelia Lawrence
Sewing / modeling Emma Spear
What kind of bag do you carry everyday? Think you’d try a smaller drawstring purse like this one?