Introduction: How to Make a Hip/Thigh Bag Out of a Thrift Store Purse

About: I love to make everything! I love doing arts and crafts and working on cosplay in my free time and exploring with new things! I also love to post how-to instructions, so I hope you find my instructions useful!…

Want a cool costume part but don't want to pay big bucks for it? Or perhaps you don't mind spending money but you want it more personal? Look no further! Make a bag that goes on your thigh and hip for easy storage and transport in just a few hours with just a few bucks!

Step 1: Things You Need

- Thrift store purse (I got mine for under 6 dollars, it had a strap with it)
- Nylon strap (you can also use old belts if you have the proper tools to make holes in the leather (soldering gun, something like that))
- Thread
- Sewing needle
- Scissors
- 2 adjustable clips
- Lighter
- Tape (optional)

If you want to make your bag seem more worn, you need these things as well!

- Sand paper
- Low-grade sand block
- Black spray paint
- Recycled cardboard/newspaper/paper
- Aluminum foil
- Tape
- An open area (outside)

Total time: ~a week (depending on what type of fabric; it will not take long to dismantle and sew the pieces, took me about an hour and a half, but spray painting can take a few days before it dries completely)

Step 2: Dismantling Your Bag and Sizing It to Your Waist

1. If you have a strap attached to your bag, this is the time to cut away one of the straps connected to the bag (luckily, mine was already torn, so the job was basically done already!) If you bag doesn't have a strap, you can use a belt/another strap and just move on to the second step after attaching one end of your strap to the side of the bag)

2. Once the strap it cut, leaving one of the straps connected to the bag, remove all of the accessories until the strap is empty. Stretch it out flat.

3. Place the bag against your hip where you want it to be and wrap the strap around your waist, holding it where it connects back to the bag. The second image shows where the strap went around my waist (marked by the pen) and then where I will cut it (marked by the scissors). If you are using the adjustable clips, you need some extra room to attach them on. (plus my cat is there to help, the cat is optional, but if you need some assistance, they are great at helping ;) )

4. Cut the strap where you feel comfortable. I cut it a few inches away from my waist length to make sure it was big enough, and to have the ability to adjust it to be larger/smaller if needed. DO NOT attach the clips just yet, instead, after you cut the strap, sew it onto the other side of the purse, as pictured in image four. By now, it should look like a regular, normal purse with a simple strap. (Before you sew, make sure that your strap is straight! You don't want it to be bent, it would be uncomfortable and look messy!)

Step 3: Attaching the Clips

1. Now that your bag is sewed on and nice... it's time to cut it up again! Figure out a good place to attach your clip. You may like it to be in different places, so just slip on the bag over your waist and try and visualize a good spot. Once you've done that, the strap with one cut, making sure to leave at least a few inches on both sides.

2. Use the lighter to burn the edges you've just cut. Of course, this is optional, but if you have straps like mine, they will fray and possibly come undone. By burning the ends carefully with a lighter, the plastic from the straps hardens over the edge and prevents fraying.

3. Attach the clips, making sure the straps are straight and flat, loop them in the designated places and sew. Do the same thing with both sides, but make sure to attach the adjustable portion of the clip carefully, you may want to try it out before sewing the end so it won't come undone (DO NOT sew the strap directly to the adjustable clip! As seen in the photos, sew a small bit to the end after it has gone through the clip. If you sew it to the clip directly, it will not be adjustable!).

4. Put it around your waist and adjust it a few times, just play around with it and make sure it's comfortable!

Step 4: Making the Thigh Strap

1. Take the excess strap you cut off from the bag and wrap it around your thigh (if you don't have enough, you can get some more or make some from another material... luckily, mine was just big enough to fit!)

2. Attach the second pair of adjustable clips to this strap the same way you did with the one around your waist, then put it on and make sure it fits! Make sure it isn't to tight, it may not feel bad right now, but if you wear it for extended periods of time, it will cut off blood circulation and cause more pain than is necessary!

Step 5: Attaching the Thigh Strap to the Bag

1. Put the bag around your waist and clip it on. Clip on the thigh strap and position them how you like. Make sure the clips are in areas that are comfortable for you, and make sure the bag is lined up comfortably.

2. Hold the thigh strap in place and carefully take it off. You can use tape to help keep the back of the bag and strap in place, it's much easier than using pins in this situation.

3. Sew the strap onto the bag! If you bag has pockets like mine, make sure to sew as close to the back as possible, so you'll probably have to put your hand in the bag and sew it like that (you don't want to accidentally sew one of the pockets closed!). The last two pictures are how I sewed it- of course you can sew it however you feel comfortable, but I did mine in a sort of square-zig zag pattern and it works pretty well. Also be cautious about the material you are using. I had a nylon strap with a faux leather bag so the needle went in fairly smoothly. If you use real leather/belts it will be much more difficult! Remember to use a thimble to help you if you need it.

Step 6: Clip It on and Feel It Out!

Clip on your bag and make sure it feels good! Walk around and do some poses, make sure it's comfortable. If not, you can easily undo the stitches and try again. Remember not to get angry or upset- mistakes happen! And it's okay, if need to, you can set it down and come back after a while to work more on it. It doesn't have to be perfect, either! Love what you created, even if it doesn't look like the ones on Google!

If you're done, you may stop here! If you'd like to paint it to look worn (for steampunk/apocalypse/fun) follow the next steps.

Step 7: Painting Your Bag

Ah, the fun part: Customizing!

1. Lay out your cardboard/newspaper/paper somewhere outside and put your bag on it. Wrap up the ends of the strap you just attached (unless you want to paint those as well) with aluminum foil and tape down whatever you want to remain the same colour. My bag was dark brown to begin with, so painting it black made only a bit of difference. Depending on what colour your bag is, you can choose whichever spray paint to use. If you have a black bag, using brown paint may work.

2. Once your bag is wrapped, sand over it with the sandpaper. I used grain P120 just because that's what I had, but any grain will work well. You don't have to sand the entire bag either, I just sanded over it quickly.

3. Pull all of your tools away and spray on just one coat. Before you spray, you may want to use one of the pieces of cardboard/paper to test out how to spray it. Shake the spray can for about a minute, then hold it at different lengths. You want it to be close enough to get paint, but not too close to where the paint is drippy and runny. Once you've found your ideal length (mine was about a foot and a half) you are ready to spray your bag! Do it lightly and make sure to get all sides- but not the inside.

4. Let it dry for about 15-30 minutes depending on your paint, then flip it over and repeat the step on the back.

Step 8: Finishing Touches

1. Once your bag has been painted (with just one coat on both sides- if you'd like, you can do more, but I think it looks more worn/used with just one) and completely 100% dried (Warning! This may take a few days. Mine had a type of plastic over it, so when I painted it it was still sticky hours after. Using a hair dryer can speed up the process a little, but I had mine on for a good 20 minutes and it seemed to have done nothing. Now, a few days later, it is drying well, the stickiness is fading, just hang it up somewhere where it can dry for an extended period of time. Though it is still technically "wet" the paint should not come off, it never came off when I touched it, it was just sticky), lightly sand over it with the low-grain sanding block. If you don't have one of those, sandpaper will work as well.

2. Add on any other things you want. If you're making a steampunk bag, get some fake gears and glue them on! If it's more of an apocalypse bag, tear it a bit, make it look messy! You can add fake blood, buttons, more pouches, even patches to make your bag your own. Then wear it around as a costume or just for fun!

Feel free to leave a picture of the bag you made in the comments, I would love to see it!

(also I plan on attaching more belts/accessories once I have them. When I get them, I will add onto this tutorial!)