DIY time with Philip: Bag o’ leather

Growing up in cowboy country there was always plenty of quality leather work to admire, and the craft of manipulating leather is something that I have been interested for a long time. I’m not saying my work is quality, nor am I deeming it admirable. However, I had a good time making this bag out of scraps I got from a friend of a friend who makes leather shoes.

There isn’t much required to make a bag (photo 1):

* leather, any colors, amount depends on the size of the bag being made Britex has nice sized leather and vinyl remnants, and so does discount fabrics
* box blade or X-acto knife
* awl or punch of some sort
* needle & thread, to reinforce corners
* lining fabric (optional)

Begin by marking your bag pattern on the wrong side of the leather. I chose a simple rectangular pattern. Add approximately 1/2” around each piece for seam allowance. Cut the pieces out and do the same with the lining fabric (photo 2). When cutting the back/top/flap piece, make sure to add the depth of the bag into the measurement.

Then around the perimeter of each piece, punch holes about 1/4” from the edge (photo 3). Make two rows of holes along the top edge of each side piece, in order to finish the edges.

To make leather cord, start with a fairly large ovular or circular piece of leather and cut a 1/8” cord, in a spiral (photo 4). Before sewing the bag together, cut slits into the back piece, so a belt can be put through them, supporting the bag (photo 5).

With the right sides of the leather together, stitch the pieces, beginning with the front and sides, then the bottom, and finally, the back/top/flap (photo 6). Reinforce to corners by looping thread around the cords where they meet.

Now with the bag finished, turn the right side out and admire your leather craft (photo 7).

Written by: Philip Washington

For more DIY time with Philip, click here.