Easy bag update

It kind of goes without saying that I love the ethnic/tribal/handmade look. But there are times when I’m not in that kind of mood and need something a bit plainer. So yay for finding this $4* black leather bag at an opshop recently (I gave it a good polish and had to mend a few stitches here and there but it was otherwise in pretty good shape).DSC_3962It’s a handy size as it fits a book, water bottle, umbrella and other random paraphernalia that the modern lady who travels by public transport requires, and I’ve used it a fair bit as-is, which, after all was the aim of the exercise (I bought a plain black day bag because I didn’t have a plain black day bag!). But wouldn’t it be better if I could add something to jazz it up occasionally? Something that could be easily attached to give it more personality – and easily removed for when basic black is more appropriate? I idly considered keyrings with bobbly bits or tassels that tie around the straps – and then I thought, what about the straps themselves?

As it happens, I won a mochila bag a while ago that had a long, wide strap, woven to match the bag in brilliant colours and patterns. Unfortunately the strap length wasn’t right for me so I unpicked it and put it in my (ever-increasing) stash of DIY materials – turns out it looks great against black leather, but how to attach it as a temporary decoration? Easy…


I had some T-shirt yarn (ie strips from an old T-shirt) in my stash too, so all I did was cut two short lengths and sew them to the “wrong” side of the strap, positioning the ties so they could go around the bag straps where they join to the body of the bag.


(The ties look a little bit messy but I don’t want to trim them too short as it will make it hard to take them on and off. So I’ll just tuck the ends in and they won’t show so much.)


What do you think? Not bad for a few minutes’ stitching, hey? I like the idea of going to the office with a plain black bag, strap stowed away inside, then heading out for dinner after work with the more colourful version casually thrown over my arm.

If you wanted to do something similar, you could recreate it with just about any longish piece of fabric, preferably fringed. As it’s only a decorative strap, the fabric doesn’t even have to be sturdy, although keep in mind that if the fabric is very light then the strap will tend to slip off your shoulder while you’re carrying the bag. But that could be a cool look too! Also, if you want to make the strap even quicker to attach/detach, you may want to use a strips of velcro rather than T-shirt ties. I didn’t have any velcro (just about the only thing that isn’t in my stash?) so made do with what was to hand.

*It was actually kind of free, because I found a $10 note when I went back to my car after buying it!