Plain Purse to Hip Bag

Plain Purse to Hip Bag

I think we can all agree that “fanny packs” are immensely handy, especially for travel or while at a festival or fair. BUT, it’s also agreeable that they aren’t particularly attractive and have a punchline stigma attached to them. So, when I was meandering through the purse section of a local thrift store the other day, I had a touch of inspiration from an unsuspecting & odd little bag…

Small, flat leather purse at thrift store to be refashioned by Sadie Seasongoods /

Nice leather…but an odd-length strap.

The purse itself was not overly big, but was strangely flat- thus limiting what it could hold (think along the lines of an overgrown wallet). And then there was the handle/strap…which was too short to comfortably wear over the shoulder, and too long to hang from my hands. It reminded me of a saddlebag on a horse or bike. And that’s when I thought to myself, “This iss the perfect purse to refashion as a ‘hip bag’ “…also known as the fanny pack’s cooler cousin.

Small, flat leather purse from thrift store to be refashioned by Sadie Seasongoods /

Hmm…I have a plan for you!

My plan? To cut the leather strap…and turn it into two small, secured loops for a belt to slip through! The hands-free function of a fanny pack (aka, a hip bag) but in a smarter-looking (and interchangeable) package. This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience.

Repurposing a leather purse into a hip bag / travel bag / festival bag by Sadie Seasongoods /

Something along the lines of this…

Ok, so first, I simply used my heavy-duty craft scissors to snip the strap at the top, creating two roughly-equal flaps.

Turning a small purse into a fanny pack or hip bag by Sadie Seasongoods /

Step 1: done!

Next, I trimmed the flaps shorter using my wide belt as a go-by. Once they were trimmed and of equal length, I punched a hole through each flap- approximately 1” in from the raw edge.

Punching holes in thrifted purse straps to repurpose them into belt loops by Sadie Seasongoods /

My plan will make sense soon, I promise…

Then, I marked and punched coordinating holes on the bag of my leather purse. These holes just go through the pack panel and fabric lining (sorry for not thinking of taking a better photo, but it’ll make sense in a moment).

Punching holes in thrifted purse straps to repurpose them into belt loops by Sadie Seasongoods /

I really hope this works!

Now I just needed to secure my strap flaps to the back of the purse, thus creating permanent loops for slipping a belt through! Because I already have leather-working tools, I used simple/basic rapid rivets. They snap together with just your fingers, but then you secure them permanently with a rivet setter.

Refashion a thrift store leather purse into a DIY hip bag, fanny pack, festival bag by Sadie Seasongoods /

It worked! From purse strap to belt loops.

However, you could just as easily punch two holes and sew the flaps to the back of the purse, securely knotting inside. And if you don’t have a leather punch or hand punch kit, you could use an awl…or even a small nail with a piece of scrap wood underneath…it’s definitely possible to create this project without any leather-working tools whatsoever!

Anyway, when all was said and done, this is what I ended up with- it doesn’t even look that different, but instead of being a more traditional purse, it’s now a hands-free hip bag!

DIY hip bag from a repurposed thrift store purse by Sadie Seasongoods /

Ta-da! Perfect for hands-free enjoyment while traveling.

Whether you call it a hip bag, a hip pack, a travel bag, or a festival bag, I think this is the perfect reuse for such a strange little purse…a hip bag that is, ironically, hip!

Repurpose a thrift store leather purse into a DIY fanny pack hip bag by Sadie Seasongoods and modeled by Kate DiNatale Vintage /

Isn’t that cute?

Repurpose a thrift store leather purse into a DIY fanny pack hip bag by Sadie Seasongoods and modeled by Kate DiNatale Vintage /

Perfect for securing your belongings…

Repurpose a thrift store leather purse into a DIY fanny pack hip bag by Sadie Seasongoods and modeled by Kate DiNatale Vintage /

Function and style- love!

A special thanks to Kate DiNatale Vintage for providing the vintage clothing and model for my photoshoot! And if you’re looking for other handbag inspiration, please check out my full collection here!

Craft on!


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  1. Brilliant!

  2. Wow, how creative and useful too! You’re right, it looks so much better than the alternative, which is what I still wear to yard sales…Guilty! I know they don’t look good, but it’s useful. Haha, I tell myself since I lost a bunch of weight that it doesn’t look as bad. The only thing is…I feel like my pants are falling off. I need one of these hip bags!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says:

      Florence!! Girl, if you lost a bunch of weight then you DEFINITELY deserve to make a fun and fashionable hip bag! 😉 You need one so you can wear a belt, hahaha!

  3. Turned out really nice!!

  4. Juliet Luiks says:

    Love it. I no longer have to embarrass my kids with the usefulness of a hands-free bag. (Not that I really listened to them.)

  5. Kathy A. says:

    Great idea; it’s neutral enough for a guy to use, too! Would be great for carrying just what you need when yard saling/flea marketing this summer!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says:

      Yes!! It’s the perfect size to just hold your phone, cash, cards/ID, keys, and a lip balm. LOL, the latter is a must-have item for me, so I always assume everyone else needs it, too! 😉

  6. I so could have used one of these Hip hip bags last weekend during Celtic Days. By the end of the day I was ready to throw my satchel across the park from it constantly falling off my shoulders. Very clever idea!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says:

      Ohhhh, this would be PERFECT for a Renn Faire festival…especially if you found a more weathered/worn leather purse. Thank you so much!!

  7. This is such a great idea!! I love it.

  8. I love this really has a fun, modern look!

  9. That is a most beautiful dress you have on in the pic of your purse you made. Did you make the dress. And your purse is wonderful also. Keep up the good work.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says:

      Thanks, Elizabeth! One of my dearest friends owns a vintage clothing shop and I selected this one for her to wear during the photo shoot. I love it, too!

  10. Shay Moore says:

    Very clever, and functional also !

  11. Very cool idea Sarah! I can definitely see wearing something like this. It is so much nicer than those fanny packs.

  12. You’ve not only created something classy, useful and trendy you’ve probably set off a whole new style! I love it and I would definitely wear it before I would don a fanny pack (being 62 years old and wearing a fanny pack is TOO consistent with all the jokes about them :)) I will keep my eyes open in Thrift shops for just a bag. I’ve seen many lovely leather ones that are just as you say – a funny shape or size with the wrong length of strap. Thank you for the inspiration!

  13. Fonda Rush says:

    Brilliant remake of a useful item! This is a wonderful creation, and so many people could use one of these.

  14. Love it! What a chic alternative to the fp 😉 Thanks for sharing @Vintage Charm!

  15. Fiona on “Burn Notice” wore one a lot. Cute! Looks like a Fossil bag?

    • Sadie Seasongoods says:

      Oh, cool- I had no idea! It wasn’t a Fossil bag- in fact, there were no markings/labels expect for a leather-stamped grizzly bear head under the flap.

  16. That is super cute! And I love your dress (:

    • Sadie Seasongoods says:

      Thanks, Gina! It’s not my dress- my friend, Kate DiNatale Vintage, modeled a dress from her shop for the photo shoot! And it sold shortly after my post went live, haha!

  17. Even I can do this!! I have way too many handbags sitting around waiting for Good Will. Maybe I can reprpose and garage sale them. Thanks!

  18. Look how practical you are! What a handy hands free bag to keep handy! Thanks so much for sharing at Celebrate Your Story!

  19. So clever and chic too. So much better than the fanny pack! Thank you for sharing at Snickerdoodle.

  20. diyadulation says:

    This is such a fabulous idea! I usually use a cross-body bag but this would be a lot more convenient. Thanks for sharing your tutorial with us at Merry Monday this week!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says:

      Thanks so much! Yeah, this would give you other options, as well- I like the cross-body bag for travel, too! Anything to feel more secure. 🙂

  21. What a clever idea and it is more safer to bring your bag this way! Thank you for sharing at Sweet Inspiration Link Party 🙂

  22. You are one clever chicka! We would have so much fun thrifting and upcycling together I think.

    (BTW- Thanks for linking to the Waste Not Wednesday Linky Party)

  23. Sarah this is the most stylish bum-bag (excuse the expression – that’s what we call them in Australia) I’ve ever seen! I’ll be featuring your bag at this week’s party. xx

  24. Phyllis says:

    I really like I might make the bag from scratch to match a denim outfit

  25. I’m so impressed with the simplicity of this tutorial! It looks so great and is going to be perfect for the farmer’s market I was planning on getting to tomorrow morning. I just stumbled on your site from AllFreeSewing and I am hooked! I run a little DIY fashion blog too! I’m so excited to “meet” you!


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