Show Off Saturday: A New Purse from Thrifted Handles!

Momma has a new purse! I love it so much. For the exterior I used laminated cotton fabric from The thing I love about laminated fabric is that it looks great (practically new) for so so long. Like forever.

The pattern is Ellen Luckett Baker’s free pleated tote tutorial. I’ve been wanting to try this pattern since I found it several years ago, and let me tell you… it does not disappoint!


I even used a tiny bit of fabric from Ellen’s Garden Collection to make the pockets, just because. 🙂

But the handles and hardware might be my favorite part. They look expensive, but guess what? They came from the thrift store! And you can watch me finding them. Check out the video I made below or on YouTube:

After you shop for the best handles and cut them off the old bag (see the video for that), you can use your thrifted handles for just about any purse or tote bag pattern.

These thrifted purse handles already had pretty silver rings attached. All I had to add were the green tabs and then I could sew them into the new bag following the tutorial. Here’s how I did it:

Cut 4” squares of fabric or faux leather (this is left over from my rockstar top). Adjust the width and length if necessary for your hardware.

Fold the edges to the middle, press, and then press in half again. I had to use a press cloth on the vegan leather.

Topstitch along both edges. I wiped a drop of oil across the bottom of my sewing machine foot to prevent sticking.

Then fold one tab through each ring and zig zag the ends together to secure. Easy!

So, what have you been sewing up this week? Did you make something with one of my free sewing tutorials or patterns? I would love to see! Tag me on Instagram @sewcanshe.

Happy Sewing!

Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂

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  1. I have a shelf of bits and pieces cut from old purses… chains, clips, handles, d rings you name it. Some really ugly old purses have lots of bits and pieces that are soooo much fun and such a deal cost wise.

  2. Genius idea! Pre-made handles are so expensive. I am going to take another look at the purses and bags I see at garage sales and thrift stores! Thanks for the great idea!

  3. Lori Michel says:

    Great little video…That is what I do to make my bags also….I look for "real" leather…I take apart what I need…and then I take the bag apart to use the leather parts to sew up those card pockets that can be used just for 1 or 2 cards…they type for gift cards….So glad you showed others how to look at thrift stores for other uses for items we may just overlook…Cannot wait for you do make one of what to look for at a yard sale……..

  4. Deedee driv erf says:

    Thank you so much for the inspiration! The video is great. I will be looking for handles on my next trip to the Goodwill.

  5. Karen Thurn says:

    I love to shop at thrift stores and yard sales so I really enjoyed watching your journey. I never thought of repurposing purse handles. Have you noticed how high thrift store prices have become?

  6. Lucy Brown says:

    Thanks, great idea to repurpose handles. I was actually just looking up how to make some yesterday, this would be easier. Oh, and cute new hairstyle you have. Have a great day!

  7. Hello, I really like this purse pattern!, but since you changed it up by adding a different strap with rings, can you give/show more detail on how you added them in once the purse is completed? Or maybe do a video to show how you do it? It would be so helpful to see it done if wanting to add a ring strap.

    1. The original pattern called for adding the straps after the bag body was done. So no real change, I just added the sewed on thrifted straps instead of new ones. 🙂

  8. Deb Werner says:

    I really like the look of your bag! I’ve been saving my old purse hardware for a while, so this is a perfect kick in the pants to get with it! Since her pattern doesn’t include any pockets and yours is wonderfully filled with them in all sizes could you, would you, pretty please, show us how you did your lining and pockets????

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