Hey y’all – tutorials two days in a row – what!? Yup, I had another one I wanted to share. Remember last month I got a hide from Leather Hide Store (sponsored)? Well, I had a bunch still after sewing the Luke Skywalker Belt, so I made a tote bag from it, and today I’m sharing the leather tote bag tutorial.
It’s the perfect size to hold my laptop and a couple library books when we head off to storytime. And after seeing a tote at a store with the edges left exposed and raw like this, I knew I wanted to make one.
Want to make your own? Here’s your cut list:
- 2 18″x2″ wide pieces for straps
- 2 14″ x 3.5″ wide pieces for the sides
- 1 30.5″ x 10″wide piece for the main part of the tote AND make sure it also has two bump out tabs that are 1/2″ x 2.5″ wide in the center – see diagram below. The tabs are important – make sure to add them.
A few tips on working with leather.
- One, since you will probably be leaving your edges unfinished, it is important to cut smoothly. Use sharp scissors and long strokes, or better yet a rotary cutter.
- Don’t pin. Pin marks will be permanent. Use clips to hold pieces together if necessary.
- Mark pattern pieces with pen or marker on the wrong side of the hide.
- Use leather needles and heavy duty thread
Start by folding your handles in half, wrong sides together. Leave 2″ on either end unstitched, and stitch the rest of the handle closed. If you really want these to be sturdy, add some cotton piping to the inside of these. I didn’t, with this leather I’m going to end up with a soft and slouchy bag and I wanted the handles to match.
Attach your handles approximately 1″ in from each side edge and 1 1/2″ down from the top edge on each short end of the main piece. Sew in a square to attach.
Lay the side pieces under the tabs with the hide wrong side up. You will have 1/2″ overhanging each end of the tab – this is supposed to be like this. Stitch across the tabs to secure the side pieces.
Fold up the extra 1/2″ on each side piece, and lay it on top of the edge of the main piece. It helps to make a mark 1/2″ in from the edge of the main piece to line the edge of the side piece up with so that you’re sure there is a 1/2″ overlap between the two pieces. Sew down the center of the overlap.
Repeat with each side of the tote.
This is what the bottom corners look like.
And this is the finished tote.
Ready to head to the library (or anywhere else) in style.
And if you don’t have leather to work with, this technique will work with any non-fray material – pleather, vinyl, etc. You could probably even do a bias tape finish on regular fabric edges before starting to sew and that would work too. And could be really cute.