Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Salvaging the Goods - Fur and Leather

Before I could start sewing the purses I needed to salvage the goods. I had three jackets, two leather and one fur, for this refashion project. To begin the process, I cut into the leather and fur near the seams. I didn't want to spend too much time ripping them out.

The salvage process is a bit tedious but also educational. It allowed me to see the inner workings of the fur and leather jackets.

Let's start by looking at the leather jackets - (Heavy pictures)

The first leather jacket was lined with faux fur (not the best quality). I only wanted the leather and the hardware from it.

There were ribbons attached to the leather jacket and the faux fur lining at the shoulders and underarms to prevent the two from shifting and separating.

These two pieces were once the hood of the jacket. Here you can see where the manufacturer reinforced the hood at the front and neckline. The material used is a heavy interfacing.

Here is the body of the jacket. Notice the nice hardware.

Hardware salvaged for future use.

The second leather jacket (bomber) was insulated with padding. It was fused to the lining and leather.

The rabbit fur jacket -

I started salvaging by cutting into the middle of the lining. This was a messy process. DD was standing by with the vacuum as I cut. We both wore little surgical masks to protect our airways from floating and flying fur.

Inside the jacket was a fleece like layer of insulation.

Down to the skin.
Here you can see how the manufacturer stitched the pelts together. Also, they added darts to form and shape the jacket. Seam binding was sewn to stablize the seam.

After getting to the skin, I noticed that most of the body area of the jacket had thin spots or dry rotting. So most of it was unusable. I was only able to salvage the fur from the sleeves.

Now I can use some of the salvaged pieces. Here I'm measuring to see how I can cut the pieces of the purse. Using S2617-

Main body for fur purse

The body was cut 5/8 larger than the pattern pieces. I wanted a single main piece for the front and back. I traced the pattern onto the skin side; then cut each piece.

This is how the pieces will be stitched together. The strap is about two inches shorter than the pattern. Most of the jackets were in small sections. eg., the sleeves were in four or eight pieces. So it was a challenge finding section long enough for straps.

The leather purse: The strap is in two pieces. I'm going to try the reinforcement technique used on the hood.

I have both bags cut (fur, leather, interfacing, and padding) Next, I'll start sewing them together. Handling the leather was surprisingly easy. It cuts much like faux leather. Easy... The only challenge with the fur is the flying fur. Otherwise, easy...,

Caution -many projects underway. I will post as work is completed on each. But stay tuned.

Happy Sewing!


  1. Looking forward to seeing these bags made up! You're a real trooper for doing so much taking apart of old stuff.

  2. That fur lined leather coat looked way too nice to cut up. Still the new handbags look interesting.

  3. Now that's a challenge! Don't know if I'm up to that but really looking forward to seeing your finished projects!

  4. wow- intriguing! I need to spend some quality time thrift shopping for leather & fur coats.
    Thanks for sharing the interiors of these garments.

  5. Hi Cenneta! I'm new to your blog and I love it. Boy do we think alike. I made a purse last week with a piece of black leather and a some suede from a skirt I've have/had for a long time now. I will post it this weekend. The purse looks good so far.

  6. I have a purse addiction & what a great idea! I look forward to seeing the purses when they are done!

  7. Very interesting. I look forward to seeing your purses.

  8. What an awesome idea! I am a vegan and you would think I would have thought to do that with some old leather stuff I have in the back of the closet. Your bags are going to be wonderful! Can't wait to see. I have a bag in the works, just debating if it is going to be too large. I'm wondering if you are cutting the same one, I need to check the number.

  9. Love it! I've been hanging onto a leather coat of my husband's to refashion into something - I'm thinking a bag, too.



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