Tuesday 15 July 2014

Leather Handbag Repairs...

Don't ditch it. Repair that old leather handbag ~ Threading My Way

Just how far do you go with repairing clothes and bags? When do you get to the point of - enough is enough? Time to throw something out.

I thought the leather bag in the photo above was beyond repair. Perhaps time to deconstruct it and add the various pieces to my stash.

It's a little hard to see, but the strap was literally hanging by a few threads. This bag, however, was a present, so for sentimental reasons, I really didn't want to let it go. I had nothing to lose. If the repairs didn't work, I could still salvage the zippers, leather and hardware.

I really should have repaired the bag earlier, before it had become so worn. It would have made the job a little easier. Oh well - too late for that. 

I used Clover clips to hold the pieces in place. You can't use pins with leather, because the pins leave holes. This strap would have been too bulky for pins anyway. Cindy put me onto Clover clips quite some time ago and they're now one of my must have sewing tools.

There was no way I was attempting to run the strap through my machine, so, using a large, sharp needle, I hand sewed the pieces together. I really didn't think it would work, so I didn't think carefully about the thread and just used ordinary cotton thread. 

Definitely not an example of fine sewing, but the repair works for me. The strap is held securely in place and the untidy repair is on the inside, so no-one sees it, besides me. At the first sign of the new threads not holding, I'll redo with a black upholstery thread or a thick nylon, such as I used in the iPhone case.

I'm pleased I decided not to ditch the bag. I won't be using it as my best bag, but for days when we end up at the beach, it's perfect. Ha ha.. I don't normally take a handbag with me when I go to the beach.

The next repair was on another leather handbag. I never had any thoughts of not mending this one, as it was a simple tear in an internal pocket.

Clover clips to the rescue again...

and a simple fell stitch to secure the pocket lining in place to the zipper, so no actual sewing through leather. Least, I think it's a fell stitch. I had to Google the correct term, although I appear to do it upside down to the images I found.

This is not the stitch I would normally use to hand sew a hem, but one which takes more of the fabric with each stitch. The pocket lining is rather thin, so to help prevent the problem occurring again, I thought it best to forego small stitches which can hardly be seen and attach the fabric with stitches which can hold the items placed in the pocket.

One finished pocket in only a couple of minutes. Black is so hard to photograph, so you'll have to take my word for it - the stitching is neat and tidy... LOL!!!

We're very lucky with our weather (and our beautiful beaches). Yes, it does get cold (cold by our standards, anyway), but on a sunny Winter's day, you can still stroll along the beach. There were lots of board riders in their wetsuits, out in the water that day. This is Palm Beach, an hour's drive from Sydney's CBD and the northernmost suburb of Australia's largest city.  

I'm pleased I decided to attempt both repairs. Neither will last forever, especially the first one, but for the time being at least, these two handbags have been saved and can once again be used.

... Pam


  1. Wow! I am super impressed that you even tried those repairs! I'm afraid I would have tossed it, BUT now I see that I should not!

  2. You're in Australia - that's why you did the fell stitch upside down!! ;)

    Nice repair jobs - I would have a leather bag repaired, but a cheapy vinyly one (which is what I have) would get tossed - it doesn't even have any nice hardware on it. Actually it *should* get tossed - there are holes forming in the bottom and it really has seen better days. I hate shopping for purses though - it's hard to find one that's exactly right! That's why it's a good idea to repair a favourite - you never know if you'll find another one that you like as much :)

  3. Great job on these bags, Pam! In this time when things most often do not hold up the way they should, it is good to see you are not so eager to just chuck things away but try to mend and reuse them for a while. I commend you!

  4. Great that you managed to save the bag! I have just 'refashioned' my favourite bag because I didn't fix it in time and the leather totally ripped :(

  5. I like those repairs - it's lways got to be worth trying to save something like that and it looks like you did a great job. Love the clips - I use them when I'm sewing bags too!

  6. Great repair jobs, Pam! Ripped liner happens to me often, because I carry so many things in my purse. I have tried super glue fix but that did not last. Maybe I should try hand stitching like you did next time. But what I really need is a tough bag that can take abuses ;)

  7. I'm glad you salvaged this bag! It is funny how when clothing or bags (or sheets-which I'm dealing with now), got rips or tears how I wold just throw it away. Now I at least make an attempt to fix it. It's fun to be be thrifty and good to be sentimental. :) Great job!

    1. It wasn't till I did my first refashion, that I realised just how much I could save.

  8. Sometimes it is just good to be able to get more life out of a treasured item even if it might not be for long :)

  9. Great job.

    I don't trust my hand stitching skills, and my sewing machine was never up to stitching leather, so when I had a similar thing happen, I took my leather bag to our local shoe repair/key maker/trophy shop (is it just me or does every town seem to have a shop with this unusual combination?). In any case, I figured if they fixed shoes that they could fix my leather bag. I was right. They sewed my strap back on (it, too, was hanging by a thread), it took about two minutes and cost about $6, and seems pretty permanent :)

  10. Great repairs! Your bags are virtually as good as new :)


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