Handmade Handbags made from Recycled Leather Jackets

Rutherfordton, North Carolina · 139 Sales


Handmade Handbags made from Recycled Leather Jackets

Rutherfordton, North Carolina 139 Sales On Etsy since 2011

5 out of 5 stars

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Joyce Mercer

Contact shop owner

Joyce Mercer


Average item review
5 out of 5 stars

dand1957 on May 28, 2018

5 out of 5 stars

The handbag arrived almost miraculously promptly. It's lovely, just as advertised and pictured (though the picture couldn't convey how the buttery softness of the leather). Love it!


Melissa on Feb 2, 2018

5 out of 5 stars

My sister loved it! High quality! Very well made. Beautiful craftsmanship!

View all 75 reviews


Leather Handbags created from Upcycled Out of Date Leather Clothing.

I started sewing when I was about 10 years old, using a straight stitch sewing machine. I made doll clothes, after my grandmother's example, out of old clothes and any scrap of fabric I could find. I didn't have any patterns and just cut out what I thought would work. After a few years, I started making clothes for myself and my mother. I married my high school sweetheart when I was 18, just 3 days out of high school. I soon became pregnant and made my maternity clothes out of my old full 1950's skirts. I didn't know it by name then, but I was already into recycling and refashion.

When my children were small, I was a working "stay at home mom" doing dressmaking and alterations. It was hard work, but very rewarding when my clients were pleased with the clothing I had created for them.

After my sons were grown and my daugter was in high school, I made a few things out of flea market finds and did my first craft show in 1979. Boy, was I hooked. I was just so excited that people would buy anything I had created. I soon was into anything I could either paint or applique a strawberry on. My business name was "Strawberries & Things". After a year of doing shows by myself, my hubby left his job and we did craft shows for about 20 years up and down the east coast. I was always thrilled when someone would buy our things.

I started making handbags out of old leather jackets several years after I retired. My friends and family said "Why don't you sell them????" I didn't feel as though I wanted to get into full production and was absolutely estatic when I found out about etsy. Etsy allows me to work at my own pace. There are days when I work very hard creating and other days when I just may not do anything. I enjoy hanging out with my hubby. We spend a lot of time going thrifting and scouting out for coats, jackets, belts and anything useful.

I start out by staring at the coat or jacket for a while and then decide how I want to create each bag. I do not use patterns and just start cutting and peicing together. I don't have any fancy tools or a heavy duty sewing machine. I use an old Singer fom the 1950's and a Viking home sewing machine that is about 20 years old. Sometimes, it can be a struggle to sew through thicker leathers, but somehow I always manage.

Each handbag is created one at a time with a lot of love and care. I take extreme pride in my creations and spend a lot of time with detail. All of my bags are "One of a Kind" and are truly a piece of art. I am just as thrilled today, as I have always been, when some buys and loves one of my creations.

Shop members

  • Joyce Mercer

    Owner, Maker, Designer

    Retired, age 78, and loves creating things, especially out of thrift store items.

Shop policies

Last updated on October 9, 2015
I have spent a lot of time over the last 60 years in front of a sewing machine. I love creating "things" and feel very rewarded when a buyer purchases them. I take great pride in my workmanship and like to make the inside look as good as the outside. I serge or overcast all exposed seams and never leave threads untrimmed.

All of my Leather Bags are created from Vintage Leather and may have minor rubs or scratches. I do my best to cut around these, but may miss a few here and there. If the Leather is “weathered” or “very worn”, I will mention it in the description of the Handbag.

My home is non-smoking. I do have 2 cats that love to hang out with me in my sewing studio, so if allergies are a problem, please keep this in mind.


Never wash a Leather Bag, as it will drys out the Leather. Use a Leather Conditioner or Cleaner and wipe with a soft cloth. You may want to use a Leather Spray to help protect it from the weather. Do not spray the lining and never spray Suede. You can use a Suede Brush or Suede Spray on Suede. Always, remember to follow the manufacture’s directions on any spray or cleaner.

Accepted payment methods

  • Accepts Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits
Returns and exchanges
Happy customers are very important to me. If you are less than satisfied with your item, please contact me within 3 days of receiving your item!. You can then ship the item back and I will cheerfully issue a refund of the original price upon my receipt of the item. All shipping paid by the customer.
I accept Paypal and appreciate payment being made within 3 days of purchase. If you would like me to reserve a bag, I will be happy to work with you........just let me know.
I will ship one item to anywhere in the United States by Priority Mail with a tracking number. Larger items can be sent by UPS. I ship within 2 business days of receipt of payment unless otherwise stated.

I will ship internationally. Please note, International shipping does not have a tracking number and can take up to 6 weeks to arrive. Please contact me for an accurate international rate if one is not posted. All customs fees are the responsibility of the buyer.

I am not responsible for items lost in the mail.
Additional policies and FAQs
At the present time, I do not take custom orders. The beauty of being retired is not being under any pressure. Some days, I just like to enjoy being with my husband of 55 years and do not want to sew.

Please do convo me with suggestions.