How to Make a Cute Leather Purse: DIY Heart Bag

Julie Willaert
by Julie Willaert
13 Materials
4 Hours

I found this piece of faux leather in the thrift store for under $1 so it seemed the perfect candidate for a tutorial on how to make a leather purse.

I turned it into a DIY crossbody bag with a contrast lining and an old chain belt for a strap. Leather upcycling is now a new hobby of mine!

Tools and materials:

  • Bonded leather or faux leather
  • Lining fabric
  • Chain or ready-made strap
  • 2 split rings (optional)
  • Paper for pattern
  • Masking tape
  • Heavyweight interfacing
  • Approx. 8 inch (20 cm) zipper
  • Pins
  • Fabric clips or clothes pegs
  • Hand sewing needle and thread (optional)
  • Leather needles
  • Sewing machine
Drawing heart shape

1. Heart shapes

Draw a heart shape on a piece of paper and cut it out.

Tape it to the wrong side of the leather and cut it out twice.

Heart shape

Iron the strongest interfacing you can find to the back of the leather pieces.

Measuring heart shape

2. Gusset

Measure around the edge of the heart shape.

Cut a strip from the leather, the length of the measurement plus seam allowance and 3 - 4 inches (8 - 10 cm) wide.

If your fabric isn't long enough to cut it in a single strip, cut two strips but remember to add the extra seam allowance to join them.

Iron interfacing to the back of the strip.

Creating zipper opening

3. Zipper opening

Lay the zipper towards one end of the wrong side of the gusset and mark about a quarter inch (1 cm) outside the start and end of the teeth.

I'm showing you how I did this using a sheet of paper because I lost the original footage.

Draw a triangle at each end, with the base at the mark and the point towards the other triangle. Connect the two points with a straight line.

Creating zipper opening

Cut along the line and the two sides of each triangle.

Fold the cut edges to the wrong side to make an opening for the zipper.

Strap loops

4. Strap loops

Cut two rectangles from the leather, each 4 inches by 2 inches (10 cm by 5 cm). Fold them in half lengthways with the right sides facing.

Sew along the long edges and turn them right side out.

Strap loops

Fold them double and hand sew them to each end of the slit you made for the zipper.

Creating lining

5. Lining

Cut out the lining, using the bag pieces as templates.

Make the opening for the zipper in the lining as you did for the outer bag, making sure it's in the same position on the gusset.


Pin and sew the gusset around the edge of the heart shaped pieces with the right sides together.

Attach the gusset to one piece first and sew it in place, then add the second piece.

Turn the lining right side out through the opening for the zipper.

Assembling the bag

6. Assemble the bag

Assemble the leather bag in the same way as you did the lining.

Use fabric clips or clothes pegs to hold the edges rather than pins, to avoid damaging the leather.

Assembling the bag

If you cut the gusset in two pieces, sew them to one side of the bag before joining them and trimming the excess fabric.

Turn the bag right side out.

Attaching the lining

7. Attach the lining

I hand sewed this section because I had an unexpected two hour train ride and it gave me something to do.

Insert the lining into the bag, matching the openings for the zipper.

Hand or machine sew the zipper tape through both layers around the edges of the opening.

Adding bag strap

8. Bag strap

For a cross body bag, you will need a chain or strap approximately 46 inches (115 cm) long.

Attach split rings to the leather loops and clip the strap to the rings, or knot the strap or chain directly on to the loops.

How to make a leather purse: DIY heart bag

How to make a leather purse: DIY heart bag

How to make a leather purse: DIY heart bag

You can of course make this bag in any shape. I like heart shapes so I went with that.

You can also remove the chain and carry it as a clutch bag.

Leather isn't the easiest fabric to sew, so you may want to make the bag in another fabric first, as a test run.

Anyway, I'm very happy with the outcome and I'd love to know what you think of it. Please leave me a comment below.

Next, check out my post on How to Make a Stunning Paper Bag Skirt From a Men’s Shirt.

Suggested materials:
  • Bonded leather or faux leather
  • Lining fabric
  • Chain or ready-made strap
See all materials

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