If you want a foldover leather clutch you could buy this unlined one for $150. You could also buy one of the many available on Etsy. Or you could easily make your own. Mine is made with leather from a mini-skirt I bought at one of my favorite San Francisco thrift stores for $1. It was perfect for this restyling project.

Materials:
Leather
Lining fabric
Metal zipper (12 inches)
Sewing machine
Bulldog clips and pins
Scissors

Methods:
1. Cut out the following:

Two 12 by 12 inch pieces of leather
Two 2.5 by 1.5 pieces of leather
One 10 by 3/8 inch piece of leather (optional)
Two 12 by 12 inch pieces of lining fabric

DIY leather clutch tutorial
2. Fold under the short edges of one of the small leather pieces by about 3/8 of an inch. Place over one end of the zipper, encasing it, and clip in place. Repeat with the other leather piece and other end of the zipper.
DIY leather clutch tutorial

DIY leather clutch tutorial

3. Sew the small leather pieces to the ends of the zipper, then trim the edges of the leather where it’s wider than the zipper.

DIY leather clutch tutorial

4. Place one of the 12 by 12 pieces of leather face-up, and line up the zipper face down along one edge. Place a piece of lining fabric face-down on top of the zipper. Clip the three layers together. Make sure you have it right: Leather right side up, zipper right side down, lining right side down.

DIY leather clutch tutorial

DIY leather clutch tutorial

5. With your zipper foot on your machine, sew along the top edge of your layers. When you open it up it should look like this:

DIY leather clutch tutorial

6. With the sewn pieces open as above, place the zipper face down on the unsewn piece of leather. Place your other lining piece face down on top of these layers. Hold the layers together with clips, and sew along the edge as in the last step.

DIY leather clutch tutorial

7. It should look like the picture below on the left when you turn everything right-side-out. Topstitch around the zipper opening.

DIY leather clutch tutorial

8. Bring the two pieces of leather right-sides together, and hold together with clips. Pin the two lining pieces right-sides together. Make sure the zipper seams and ends are folded so they point into the lining side. Open the zipper at least half-way and leave it open.

DIY leather clutch tutorial

9. With a 3/8-inch seam allowance, stitch around the edges of the leather and lining fabric. Leave  an opening in the bottom of the lining of about 5 inches. Clip the corners of the leather and lining.

DIY leather clutch tutorial

DIY leather clutch tutorial

10. Reach through the lining opening you left, and pull the leather through it, turning everything right-side-out. Slip-stitch the lining closed.

DIY leather clutch tutorial

DIY lined leather clutch tutorial

DIY lined leather clutch tutorial

11. Optional: Add a zipper pull. With scissors, notch the ends of the 3/8 by 10 inch piece of leather and tie it through the zipper tab.

DIY lined foldover leather clutch tutorial

Load it up with your stuff, and you’re ready to go!
DIY lined leather clutch tutorial

Although I lined my clutch, you could easily leave yours unlined, making this an even simpler project. Just follow steps 1-3 as written, sew the zipper to the large leather pieces, open the zipper, sew the leather right sides together, and turn right-side-out. Done!

Looking for more DIY projects? Check out my DIY Projects and Tutorials page!

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  • http://twitter.com/oohhyun prettiest princess. (@oohhyun)

    which thrift stores would you recommend in SF? i have a lot of free time in the city because of my commute and i’d love to hit up some good thrift stores! :)

    • http://transientexpression.wordpress.com/ Rachel

      The Out of the Closet stores are really good, especially the one in SOMA and the Castro/Hayes Valley. You can also find some good stuff at the Goodwill on Fillmore, and though they jack the prices way up at the Goodwill in the Haight, there is some great vintage there. I also recommend Thrift Town, in the Mission, and Mission Thrift. Clothes Contact and Painted Bird are both excellent for vintage, and of course there is always the row of vintage stores in the Haight and the chains like Crossroads and Buffalo Exchange. I only consider the places like Out of the Closet and Goodwill technically thrift stores, but I figured I’d mention the others in case you don’t know about them :-)

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  • http://visuallove.tumblr.com eu

    Thanks! great tutorial really easy to follow!

  • http://a-hearts.blogspot.com/ Aley

    OMG this is awesome! Thank you so much this clutch looks similar to the one’s from American Apparel…

    xoxo aley

    a-hearts.blogspot.com

  • Sofya Gollan

    This has to be the best clutch tute i’ve seen on the net so far. Brilliant! Thanks. Sofya

  • Cheryl C.

    Found a large size black leather skirt and I’m gonna try my hand at this! I love bags and this is also a great gift idea:). Wish me luck… Thank for the pattern you are awesome!

  • http://crafterlifebyme.blogspot.com Isabella

    I made a list of Clutch tutorials on my blog <3
    You're in it, hope thats okay :)
    http://crafterlifebyme.blogspot.com/2012/02/lot-of.html

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  • Zazie from France

    Merci ! Super tuto !

  • Lisadeak

    I loved your directions, photos and tutorial! So clear and easy to follow! very inspiring…thank you so much!

    • admin

      Lisadeak, you’re welcome! Glad you liked it :-)

  • Alyssa C.

    This is the best tutorial I’ve found on this kind of clutch and I love that you included a lining!  <3  Thanks for sharing; it gives me an excuse to go thrifting!

    • admin

      So glad you found it helpful, Alyssa!

  • Jolaon

    Never ever need an excuse to thrift shop, but love to have a project in mind when I do.  The clutch is awesome.  Can’t wait to find myself an old leather piece to re-model.  Thanks for an excellent tutorial.

  • Marie

    Great tutorial!! The ends by the zipper were quite bulky…any idea how to decrease this? Maybe make the bag one inch wider on each side?

  • admin

    Hi Marie,
    Hmm, for zipper ends that are too bulky, you could encase less of the zipper length in the leather end pieces, or use a lighter-weight fabric for that part. You could use a cotton that matches the zipper, instead. Hope those ideas help!

  • Charity

    Where did you find the zipper with the nice big hole in the pull? I’ve been buying YKK brass teeth zippers but the pull doesn’t allow for a lobster clip to be attached. Love the one you show here! Thanks!

    • admin

      Charity, I think I bought that zipper at a secondhand craft supply place (probably SCRAP). Maybe you could attach a large jump ring to your zipper pull, and then attach the lobster clip to that?
      Sorry that I can’t be more helpful!

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  • Jeanne

    http://instagram.com/p/WUOFwCjaor/
    First time I’ve worked with leather! I found this lovely oxblood remnant at the fabric store n immediately thought of this post, grabbed a $2 gold zipper n used an old mustard top for the lining. I am so proud of how it turned out! so simple n so chic I love it Thank You!!
    -Jeanne
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/jeannebeanietings?page=1

  • Eloise

    Great tutorial!!! I’m a bit confused about zippers though!! Is this what they call an open ended zipper or a closed one? And can you get this type of zipper in lots of different lengths it do you have to cut them down!!! Thanks xxx

    • Rachel

      Eloise, I think I used an open-ended/separating zipper because that’s what I had, but I sewed the ends together so they no longer separated. If you’re buying a zipper for this project, buy a closed-ended one. They do come in lots of different lengths, so you should be able to find one in the size you need. Hope that helps!

  • coop

    did you use a special leather foot and leather needle to make this? or do you think a regular sewing machine setup would do? great bag!! thanks!

    • Rachel

      Coop, yes, I did. I used a non-stick Teflon foot and a leather needle. I’d definitely recommend a leather needle, but you could get away with a regular foot. If your foot sticks to the leather, you can use a layer of tissue paper to keep it from sticking. Thanks, and good luck!

  • Lebo

    I have pieces of leather all over the place and i’m going to try this soon as I can!!!! thank you

    • Rachel

      Lebo, so glad you like it!

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