Hip Bag / Anti Theft Purse Made from a Thrift Store Handbag

Hip Bag / Anti Theft Purse Made from a Thrift Store Handbag

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 a small purse at a thrift store. I could easily transform it into a hip bag or anti theft purse…

Small purse at thrift store to be upcycled into hip bag or bum bag for traveling purse by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

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 is the perfect purse to refashion as a hip bag”…also known as the fanny pack’s cooler cousin.

Refashioning a small purse into an anti theft purse by turning it into a hip bag by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

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.

Refashioning a Small Purse into a Hip Bag

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

Creating a hip bag or bum bag from a small purse at the thrift store by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

This is what it’ll look like from the front, purposefully using this turquoise belt to make it easier to see.

Hip Bag or hip pouch made from a small purse to become anti theft purse by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

Next, I trimmed the flaps shorter using my wide turquoise belt as a stand in for the widest belt I could imagine wearing. Once they were trimmed and of equal length, I punched a hole through each flap using my leather punch – approximately 1” in from the raw edge.

Using leather hole punch to create belt loops on hip bag by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

Then, I marked and punched coordinating holes on the back of the actual bag portion of my small purse.

These holes just go through the pack panel and fabric lining- so the front lining and leather panel remained intact. Sorry for not thinking of taking a better photo, but it’ll make sense in a moment.

Cut the straps of a small purse to create anti theft purse or best traveling purse by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

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.

Securing loops made from straps of small purse to become hip bag or traveling purse by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

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!

Rivets used to secure belt loops on hip bag or bum bag to use as anti theft purse by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

Hip Bag or Anti Theft Purse to Use for Safe Traveling

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 / anti theft purse!

Bum bag or hip bag to use as best travel purse or anti theft purse while traveling by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

Whether you call it a hip bag, hip pouch, bum bag, or traveling purse, I think this is the perfect reuse for this kind of small purse…a hip bag that is, ironically, hip!

Hip bag or hip pouch to wear on belt and use as anti theft purse by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

Can you tell that my friend, Kate DiNatale Vintage, and I had fun with our little photo shoot? 

Best travel purse or anti theft purse is a hip bag that is worn on a belt by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

And, let’s face it – an anti theft purse is the best travel purse you can “carry” with you on trips, especially overseas. Using this hip bag would also be ideal for hands free shopping at flea markets and outdoor fairs, as well!

Hip bag to use as anti theft purse or traveling purse by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

And if you’re interested in other upcycling ideas for refashioning purses from the thrift store, then you may enjoy this reusable grocery bag project of mine, as well!

How to repurpose a framed cross stitch or counted cross stitch into a reusable shopping bag or burlap bag by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

Craft on!


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PIN ME!How to make a hip bag or bum bag to use as anti theft purse for traveling by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com


  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. 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 project..it 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. 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!

  26. Diane Reid says

    Fantastic! Just what I was looking for when I go on a Quilt store hop or when I go to our Creative Sewing and Needlework festival. Leaves my hands free to touch fabric LOL or just for carrying a drink and not worrying about my purse slipping off my shoulder or having to find a spot to put my purse down to get my wallet. Great tutorial!


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