Norse purse

Finished black leather Norse-style purse with a pen for scale

Finished black leather Norse-style purse with a pen for scale

While for my female clothing, I don’t wear a leather belt with a buckle; for the male garb I’m making I will…which means I can have it actually support stuff – like a purse.

Reproduction photo found from Pinterest for inspiration

With that in mind, I made up a purse for carrying some of my stuff when I do opt to wear the male garb.

Although black leather is incorrect, it was what I had on hand for this first version, and I wasn’t up for going out to buy more leather for a first round.  Plus, I’ve opted for black a few other times just because I like it, so I’m ok with the colour of the leather (and how it was treated…etc..).

The main body of the purse is embossed leather from Tandy, while the trim is either sheep or goat, garment-weight leather (super soft and thin; it’s lovely stuff). The purse is lined in purple linen, and I’ve embroidered a red L on the inside just in case it ever gets mixed up with someone else’s.  Parts of the purse are re-enforced with glued-on canvas – in areas where I wanted more structure, weight, or to support the function (like the buckle area)

Belt and purse mounts from Birka suggesting the shape

The ‘buckle’ is made with a length of leather which passes through a hole in the flap, which is framed with a metal bead-frame kind of element. I looked on a bunch of websites and in a few stores to find something more like what I’ve seen elsewhere, and this was the closest I could find. I like the look of it, but it’s not quite as bling-y as I would like. I’d also like to cap off the closure end at some point, but I’m not sure how yet. The ‘buckle’ is riveted on (this is hidden under the flap) while the belt hanger and closure strap are sewn on.

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Changes I’d make

If I were to make this again, I think I’d make some changes. First off, now that I know I like the shape/size, I’d probably use brown leather to be a bit more authentic. I’d also probably make the gusset a bit larger for a slightly deeper purse. Maybe. Maybe not.

I didn’t do much in the way of research for this purse, so if I were to make another, I might spend more time researching the purse style; I mostly just wanted something to complete my menswear outfit.

When I turned the purse inside out to glue it, I liked the look of the hidden seams. I’d probably do it that way if I were to make another instead, and thus get to skip a lot of the trimming. I’d also probably do the hole for the buckle by facing and turning the hole for the lining, rather than just stitching around the exterior.

On the strap and belt strap I’d like to have a more finished look as well, though I’m not entirely sure how to go about that. I’d also put another piece of leather or canvas behind the rivets – or use shorter rivets – the ones I used seem a bit too long, though they’re the shortest rivets I have. I’d also keep my eyes out for more accurate hardware. (And I realized after the fact that I should have oriented my hardware to a diamond shape instead of a square…)

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