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Re-imagine & Renovate: Faux Leather White Alligator Handbag

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One winter ago, we ran a series in which we experimented with some "Lush and Plush" fabrics, such as faux leather and fur, cuddly Minky fleece, and super soft flannel to create a number of beautifully rich home décor items and accessories. One of the favorite projects within the series, that went on to become one of our most popular projects ever, was our Trendy Faux Leather Handbag. For the original series, we created the bag in a rich wine-red faux calf leather with striking deep amber imitation tortoise shell handles. We decided to R&R it for Spring – lightening and brightening it but maintaining its super stylish lines. 

We love that fact that today's faux leathers come in so many amazing colors and textures and look unbelievably genuine. For today's Re-imagine & Renovate project, we chose a gorgeous pearl white faux alligator leather and paired it with bright faux tortoise shell handles that have a great touch of yellow. The lining is an elegant Paisley in Marsh from the Bexley Collection by P Kaufman. All from Fabric.com

This bag is surprisingly easy to make, but the finished result looks like it came from the trendiest boutique on Rodeo Drive. The trick is to make sure you're using the right tools for cutting, holding the pieces together, and sewing. If you're new to this substrate, check out our tutorial: Sewing with Faux Leather. It's the careful little accents, like double lines of topstitching, sleeves for the handles, and the pocket detailing on the inside that make this a wonderful finished project to give as a gift or keep for your very own! 

Our thanks to Fabric.com for sponsoring todays R&R project and providing another awesome faux leather (as well as the handles and lining). We've included links to the exact fabrics and handles we chose, but you'll want to browse their entire faux leather collection. You can follow our lead or create your own R&R spin.

To Re-imagine & Renovate your own Stylish Handbag, go to the original tutorial:

Trendy Faux Leather Handbag

The construction is the same as the original except for the interior pocket position. We placed the base of the pocket just 2" from the existing 2" line drawn along the bottom to create the corners markings -  rather than 4" above as listed in the current instructions. In other words, a total of 4" from the bottom raw edge of the lining panel not 6".   

Here is a photo of drawing the lines in position.

And here it is, from the wrong side, with the pocket stitched in position - again to show its position against the other drawn lines. 

Hints and Tips

As we always mention when it comes to finding fabric, If you love a fabric, get it while you can. Because, like fashionable apparel, popular fabrics come and go; at some point, even the most amazing fabrics are no longer in stores or online. You can check your favorite fabric source to find out if they have it in stock or can get it for you. Be sure to look at our Marketplace for our fave sources. You can also try Googling the fabric name along with the designer's name or the design house. Prints from older collections can also sometimes be found on Etsy or eBay. 

Looking for more information on blending, mixing and matching your fabrics? Check out these tutorials:

How to Mix & Match Designer Fabric Collections

How to Create A Fabric Palette

Tips for Mixing Prints

Mixing & Matching Colors, Patterns & Textures

Making the Right Fabric Choice


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild



Comments (7)

milpeg said:
milpeg's picture

Liz, finished my test purse while waiting for my alligator fabric.  It turned out beautiful.  Thanks for the marveloous tutorial.  On the color of the vinyl does yours have a peal rosey hue or undertone?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ milpeg - yes, you can kind of see that slight tint in our photos. It is very pretty.

milpeg said:
milpeg's picture

I am almost finish with my version. I am trying to deternine the distance from the top edge to intall the magnetic closure so I am stuck.  It has to be low enough to clear the 1/4 seam on top but not too much that looks ackward.  I chose to embroider on the plain white vinyl  while my fabric.com order arrives and is comming out beautiful.  Learned a lot with this tutorial topstitching.  Can I get some suggestions on the clasp placement distance?

MarciaFlorida said:
MarciaFlorida's picture

As we always mention when it comes to finding fabric, If you love a fabric,get it while you can.

Thanks for this reminder that buying fabric in anticipation of use is a very practical approach --- because I have thought will come back to purchase late, but by then it was gone.

Sewnknit said:
Sewnknit's picture

You come up with the coolest projects! I love your site. And what a cute bag. How did you know that I love bags?

mpistey said:
mpistey's picture

Another gorgeous project!  Last week I fell in love all over again with the black & white patent leather tote - I had to order that fabric, and now this!  I'll definitely be ordering the faux alligator and making this beautiful bag.  Great bag for the summer!