Making your own tote is simpler than you may think! Since the material is a little thicker than normal fabric, you have to sew a little slower, but overall, it's actually pretty easy!
Want to make your own? Here's how:
First, pick out your leather, I'd definitely recommend samples first, so you know exactly what the color looks like. The Leather Hide Store has a large selection in the remnant section, so I started there.
1. Draw your template on a piece of paper with a ruler and pencil. (I tape a few pieces of 11x17 printer paper together). Cut it out, fold and confirm the scale and dimensions are to your liking. (Inside lines on drawing above represent the sew line, 1/2" seam allowance (3-1/2" sections fold on top of 6" section to form the bottom)).
2. Either trace your template or redraw on the backside of your leather with a pencil. Measure twice and cut once!! I used Lemon Meringue leather.
3. Cut out your pattern.
4. For both top sections, I used pinking shears for a zig zag line. Ours were pretty dull, David helped me cut it out (I'd definitely recommend ones that are sharp!)
5. Once you've cut out your shape, cut a 45 in the innermost center section, .5" in (there are 4 total) I also notched the outer corners in the center section (there are 4 total), so that there would be less material when sewing.
6. Start sewing your bag. Grab the 2 outermost corners on the right (or left, wherever you'd like to start) (right side inside) and hold together - sew straight down the side (15 1/2")
7. Next, sew the bottom. Grab the end - pull the two 45s out so that the end is flat.
8. Smooth the leather, line it up and sew across the end. Repeat on the other end.
Flip the bag so the right side is out and start on the straps!
8. Cut 1-1/2" wide x 29" long pieces of leather (x2) for the straps. 3" at each end will be used to attach the strap to the bag. Next, cut 23" piece of 3/8" cording or smooth rope.
9. Wrap the cording (leaving 3" of leather at each end) in the leather and sew as closely to the edge of the rope with the zipper foot.
10. Trim the excess leather close to the line previously sewn.
11. Measure and mark your strap placement (mark with low tack tape - to avoid pulling up the leather)
12. Sew a box around the strap and an x across the middle for added durability. Carefully, remove the tape.
Finally, work on a tassel! If you don't want to tackle sewing your own bag - this is the perfect way to personalize your existing bag in just a few minutes!
13. Cut a piece of leather (mine is 9" wide x 5" tall) - using an xacto knife and metal ruler with cork backing, cut thin strips (I eyeballed it) scissors would work as well (leave about 1" at the top uncut)
*Note: I added a thin piece of cardboard, tag board at the bottom of the bag to keep it from looking too slouchy.
14. On the backside of the leather, place glue along the top - (I used Aleene's Turbo Tacky - it dries super fast) - Tightly roll it up.
16. If desired, add a trim around the top, securing with glue.
I wanted my tote to be large enough to be used for weekend trips, but small enough to carry around everyday.
Wouldn't this make the perfect Christmas gift?
Orange concrete wall was taken in front of a fountain that has been turned off for winter. Love the color!
A special thanks to David for taking these photos!!
Also, The Leather Hide Store is also giving away a $50 credit to one reader! Enter on the widget below! Open to US & Canada only, giveaway will be open for 1 week.
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This post is in collaboration with The Leather Hide Store - I was provided with materials for this project, all thoughts and content are 100% my own.