Monday, December 15, 2014

DIY Leather Tote + Tassel | Giveaway

Today I'm sharing another DIY Christmas gift idea - a leather tote! Thanks so much to The Leather Hide Store for providing the leather! I don't share a lot of non home decor related projects, but today, I'd like to introduce you to my second love - handbags. Over the years, I've developed a collection (second only to my chair collection, David just counted and we have around 28 .. yikes! Time to finish projects, figure out what we're keeping and sell the rest!)


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.

15. Add two piece of thin leather strips in the center for the ties (add extra glue there).

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Good Luck!
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. 


  1. love the royal red. thanks for the chance. you are so talented!

  2. super cute Sarah! The tassel I adore :) xoxo

  3. You did a great job of breaking down the instructions. I fell like even I could put this project together. Love the stone washed orange leather.

  4. Wow! What a great bag! Love the Hollywood Red leather! Thanks for the chance to win this giveaway!

  5. What a great giveaway! I'm loving the Arctic Gator embossed leather.

  6. So impressive, Sarah! And a great size too.

  7. The western tool chocolate is just gorgeous!

  8. Oh my goodness! You make a cute handbag! Love the color!

  9. Stone Wash Orange for me! War Eagle!

  10. I love the
    UL#14 DENVER GOLDEN TAN as well as the Green Ostrich. Having a hard time choosing.

  11. Love! You could slipcover the cardboard insert you used for structure with a cute fabric!

  12. I can't believe you made that yourself! I love anything red leather!

    x Lily

  13. I would love some Harvest Gold. I want to wrap myself in tan leather. That's normal right? The bag is adorable. You did an amazing job!

  14. Love the pink croco and it's an awesome bag!!!!!

  15. I'd pick Old Western Buckskin or Nevada Distress. I LOVE all their names! Now I'm itching to make a beautiful tote!--hope I win. :)

  16. Hello, I would love to get some of the OLD WESTERN BUCKSKIN. Thanks for a great giveaway!

  17. Love the Sea Mist colored leather.

  18. My color of leather would be earth tones. Thanks for the chance.

  19. Love the "Lemon Meringue" .. deep yellow color, very pretty. Thanks for the chance.

    ghalim at yahoo dot com

  20. Nancy Hilderbrand I love the black leather

  21. I love the black leathers....any of them!!

  22. The bag is fabulous and the choices of leather is stunning will definitely be trying this next year.

  23. True Burgundy would be my choice to work with. Such a deep, elegant color!

  24. I love the Colombian Chocolate.

  25. I like the Colombian chocolate leather.

  26. I'm in desperate need of a purse. Ruby red slipper would be perfect!

  27. oh the royal pink would be super cute!

  28. I'd pick Ruby Red Slipper, or Red Baron, or Red Distress, or... Well, one can never have too many red leather handbags.

  29. I love the aged copper distress #13 (remnant).

  30. I love this bag, but have never sewn on leather. I have a great machine that I've not used in years, so this would be fun to make. The leather I like is MIAMI KEY LIME.


Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts! I love hearing what you think! :)

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