I wrote this post before I realized I had enough ideas for a continuing blog on upcycling It first appeared at my website Ars Arvole Music.
Upcycling a leather coat preceded the upcycling of t-shirts I mentioned a couple of months ago. With my new commute, I wanted easier access to my phone, coffee, and public transit passes than a backpack provided. Ethical and non-toxic sources for leather tote bags abound since I started following social enterprises, but tonle’s zero-waste practices inspired me to search for something made from upcycled leather. Through DoneGood, I found out about Looptworks, which makes bags from airplane seats, motorcycle jacket excess, and other industry scraps. Among the many upcycling creators on Etsy, OregonLynne is the one I contacted with a photo of the coat my mother bought when she was in college.
Before sending the coat, I asked about the possibility of a tote bag or carry-all with a few inches of depth across the bottom. From the picture above and a length estimate, Lynne responded positively. Through a birthday gift from my mother-in-law, I ordered the custom item and shipped the coat across the country.
Three weeks later, my bag arrived. I was excited to see how Oregon Lynne preserved many of the coat’s features: symmetrical rounded pockets, cloudy buttons, angled tips, visible stitching, and clean lines between rectangular patches. I love how the bag reminds me of the coat while reflecting elements of current designer bags.
Beyond the style, the bag functions as I had hoped. The size is ideal for my iPad and a folder of papers to grade in addition to my wallet and other essentials. The folding, wrapping, and stitching at the ends of the strap assure me it will not break as easily as the straps in some of my previous bags. A knot in the strap (which was the coat’s belt) makes it the perfect length for my height. The exterior pockets perfectly fit my travel mug and umbrella, and the interior pocket keeps my keys, phone, and charger from disappearing into the bottom of the bag.
Switching bags between work, evenings, and weekends has become unnecessary for me in the past few weeks. This item has solved the issues of a sling overburdened with my tablet, a backpack inappropriate for going out to dinner, and a burlap tote and burlap messenger bag shedding after a couple of years. Although I still have my eye on a small wallet/purse, I am very happy to carry my upcycled leather coat every day.
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