E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
You cannot make a silk purse of a sows car. You cannot make a horn of a pigs tail. A sows ear may somewhat resemble a purse, and a curied pigs tail may somewhat resemble a twisted horn, but a sows ear cannot be made into a silk purse, nor a pigs tail into a cows horn.