Vagabond Couture - Re-dyeing Leather

photo via
I've had a lifelong vagabond love affair.  No, not with their dirty, traveling lifestyle but with their worn leather bags!  Let me preface all this by saying that I am not a handbag person.  If I could shove everything into my jeans pockets, I would.

But a couple weeks ago I came across a purse style that I liked.  Really liked.  The only problem - it was from a line that was a couple years old and couldn't be purchased new (not that I could've afforded it new anyhow - holycows!).  So after a bit of searching, I found a used one on ebay!  But it was the wrong color.

The color was called "Straw", and it wasn't horrid.  Just not what I wanted.  I knew that I may not get another chance to own that style so I bought it - in the wrong color.  Then I went to Feibings Leather and bought the products I needed to dye the leather.  First, let me tell you that it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be but it wasn't instant gratification either.

I followed directions that I found online (here).  Deglazer first to remove the finish.  Then dark brown oil dye,  letting it dry over night between coats, then Resolene to seal it and Mink Oil to protect it.  I did two coats of the dye and even used a Q-Tip to get into the seams and crevices.  After the first coat, I text my husband and said, "I'm crying - the dye totally ruined the bag".  But I held my breath and applied a second coat the next day.

I'm the first to admit that I'm not a runway couture kind of girl but I love the vintage, worn look of how it turned out.
Hmmm... Vagabond Couture -who knew?!

Linking up with The Vintage Farmhouse


  1. great job with the how worn and weathered it looks.


  2. You did a fantastic job!

    LOVE this!

  3. Love how that turned out.Much nicer now you can really see the detail on that purse.I agree I hate carrying purses.They never design them right.

  4. WOW~ That looks GREAT! I love it-it completely changes the look of the whole bag! xo Diana

  5. What a transformation! It looks really great!

  6. WOW what a difference! I love the color & how it turned out. And those curtains/lace in the previous post made me drool with delight. I too am NOT a curtain kind of girl but, those I could sooooooo do. Thanks for sharing & enjoy your bag & pretty lace window coverings. Charlene

  7. GORGEOUS!!!! I love the darker leather!!!!! What a wonderful did good girl ~ hugs and love, Dawn

  8. A friend re-posted my post on her facebook page and this is one of the comments that she got. I thought it might be helpful for those who are planning a project like this...

    "The best way to keep and condition leather is by using PETROLEUM JELLY of all things! Yes, just grab a jar of Vaseline, smear it all over the leather, let sit for at least one day and then buff it off.

    This works on leather and patent l...eather (don't use on suede).

    If the leather you are working with is really stiff and dried out, cover the item with newspaper after coating with the PJ and let sit for a couple of days.
    p.s. for a high sheen, after buffing, re-buff with a shoe brush.

    I learned this trick when I used to have lots of horses and tack that needed to be kept clean and pliable."

  9. Nicely done, What a clever mind you have. Keep smiling and creating

  10. Wow Polly! It's stunning. Much better than the first or second photos. Has the look of an old loved and worn saddle bag. Love it! Aren't you glad you took the risk? ha xoRoberta

  11. OMG !! i LOVE it !! would never have thought to do that (and i love the bag too !)

  12. LOVE love LOVE your blog. I am mesmerized with all your ideas.

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  14. Wow!!!!!! nice colour ..perfect dye colour it is really great .. I like it thanks for sharing this blogs.

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  16. Don't know if you are still interested in this bag in a medium brown... I am about to list one on eBay, it's in excellent condition.


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