A little leather coin purse

Here’s a confession. My purse is held together with a hairband. I keep meaning to do something about it. The purse is pretty perfect for my needs, with just the right number of pockets and zips. It holds my cards, notes, receipts and pennies. All that I need. Only problem is that the twiddly fastener thingy, that’s meant to keep it tight closed, snapped off soon after I bought it. Now I use a hairband, which is also handy as an emergency hair tie.

Why do I put up with it? It is a Boden purse, which cost me £2 from a charity shop, a few years ago. No great shakes. I’m sure I must get a few looks from the cashiers, as I fumble to remove the hair band, when I pay for anything. I really don’t care. It works for me.

The reason I still soldier on with it is that I’d like to design my own. I don’t like the design of the card area. Potentially, the cards could fall out the top. I’ve thought about the features that make for a perfect purse and I’d like to sew it. I just needed to find the right materials to make it.

This holiday, my brother gave me a couple of bags filled with leather off cuts. Factory discards. Not big enough for them to use, but perfect for a home crafter like me. Different colours, thicknesses and texture effects.

I’ve not worked with leather before. I researched and found that I needed a different needle for my sewing machine. Also longer stitches and a way of pinning the layers together without using pins. Once you make a hole in leather, it stays a hole.  I used my old hand cranked Singer sewing machine, as I’ve read that they’re good with leather.

I needed a straightforward project. I’m not ready to make my all singing, all dancing purse yet, so I settled for a simple coin purse. Fortunately, I had the small zip in my cupboard, which worked well with one of the pieces of leather.

I lined the purse with a remnant of beetle fabric, which added a degree of complexity. I probably didn’t need anything extra when learning a new skill, but that’s me. It needed a lining, so I went for it.

I added tabs at each end of the zip, to give it a neater finish. The Singer coped effortlessly sewing over the extra bulk of the leather and the zip at the same time. They really do deserve their reputation as a work horse for home sewing.

Final touch is a leather tassel. I used my glue gun to stick it together.

So one coin purse finished. It’s not perfect. Not bad for a first try. I will use it. More importantly, I’ve learnt a lot along the way.

I know working with leather is not everyone’s choice. I did pause, but I reckon that this leather counts as a waste product. Potentially destined to be thrown. I have a couple of friends that will only eat meat if it’s roadkill. Waste not, want not, is their mantra.

It may take me a bit of time to work out how to make my purse. I’m going to try and make a pencil case next for one of the children, to practise. In the meantime, I’m going to feel quite pleased, with myself, bringing out my little purse at the till, next time I go shopping.

26 thoughts on “A little leather coin purse

  • Monday 10 February, 2020 at 2:43 am

    Wow – good job, Cheryl. Nice detail. 🙂

    • Monday 10 February, 2020 at 11:23 am

      Thank you, Lisa. I made some mistakes, but they are all good learning points.

  • Monday 10 February, 2020 at 4:20 am

    It looks great! And learning new sewing skills, a win-win!

    • Monday 10 February, 2020 at 11:25 am

      Thank you, Elizabeth. Learning a new skill is always fun, isn’t? Not perfect, but I’m pleased.

  • Monday 10 February, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    This is gorgeous and I love the little tassel – you are so clever!


    • Monday 10 February, 2020 at 3:35 pm

      Thank you, Catherine. Definitely a work in progress with my skill level, but I’m pretty pleased with it.

  • Monday 10 February, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    I love your little coin purse, it’s very sweet. I have never, ever, found a purse that truly suits my needs and is the right size. I guess it would be a good idea to design one. Your post has brought to my memory a little story. I hope you don’t mind me sharing. When I was young, my nan had an old leather settee she no longer needed (I’m thinking, knowing my Nan’s circumstances it wasn’t real leather.) She put it in the garden and told me and my cousins we could do what we liked with it before she put it on the bonfire. So we had so much fun cutting it up and making purses and bags. They were sewn by hand and probably totally rubbish, but it was a memorable experience. x

    • Monday 10 February, 2020 at 3:40 pm

      That is a brilliant story. I’m really glad you shared it. Your nan sounds wonderful and I wonder if she realised how much fun you would have with it. It just goes to show you, that you never know when you are going to inspire a child towards creativity. What a gift!

      • Tuesday 11 February, 2020 at 12:28 am

        My Nan was amazing x

        • Friday 14 February, 2020 at 2:59 pm


  • Monday 10 February, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    That purse looks pretty good to me! It’s so cute and I love the little tassel x #MMBC

    • Friday 14 February, 2020 at 3:04 pm

      I’m not sure if I should make the tassel smaller.

  • Monday 10 February, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    I’m so impressed you’re making a purse – Wow! #MMBC

    • Friday 14 February, 2020 at 3:03 pm

      Thanks Carol. Something kind of satisfying in making it.

  • Monday 10 February, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    I love it! Good for you!

    • Friday 14 February, 2020 at 3:03 pm

      Thanks Laura. It’s not a bad first try.

  • Monday 10 February, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    I love your little coin purse. My purse is a little one that I bought in the late 1990s and it’s also now held together by a hairband, but I’ve not found anything that’s just the right thing to replace it. I keep meaning to try and make my own version of it too. That lining fabric that you used is so pretty.

    • Friday 14 February, 2020 at 3:02 pm

      I’m not alone! Hairbands are amazing. I’ve looked for a new one, but can’t justify paying over the odds when I can make it myself. Plus it’s more fun for me. Hairbands in the meantime!

  • Tuesday 11 February, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    Love this. I have been toying with the idea of sewing leather, but wondered if my basic entry level machine would manage to get through it! #MMBC

    • Friday 14 February, 2020 at 2:58 pm

      I haven’t tried it, but I’m pretty sure my Janome would not handle the bulk of the leather and zips as well as my Singer. It will all depend on the thickness, and maybe a walking foot will help. Worth a try.

  • Sunday 23 February, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    Well done Cheryl your new coin purse looks fab. I love the beetle fabric inside. I can imagine leather being quite awkward to work with.
    Craig bought me a purse for one of my 40th bday pressies. My old one was years old! x

    • Monday 2 March, 2020 at 10:40 am

      It is awkward to work with, partly because you can’t use pins or tacking to hold it in place temporarily. I do have a solution for my next project. Learning all the time.

  • Wednesday 26 February, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    This is very clever! I was recently given a new purse for Christmas as mine had a zip that wouldn’t do up & I’d been walking around like that for ages! #MMBC

    • Monday 2 March, 2020 at 10:31 am

      Amazing how we put up with something for longer than we ever intended.

  • Saturday 30 May, 2020 at 9:06 am

    Brilliant! I really admire anyone who can sew, especially something new and a bit of a challenge. I have no patience at all and always get frustrated with the sewing machine. A couple of years ago I switched to just using a coin purse and I’ve never looked back. Most of the time I only need one bank card and some change, then throw in my driving license for good measure. It definitely helps to keep my handbag lighter!

    • Saturday 6 June, 2020 at 10:17 am

      I know what you mean about a big purse. I have loyalty cards, etc in there just in case, but I know I will never use. Silly to cart them around.

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