Leather Bag & Tips for working with Leather

December 1, 2015

Hi all you lovely ladies out there! Life is so great at the moment and things are all a buzz here at the Sew to Grow HQ. (It's literally just a room in my house, but HQ sounds really special!) As we are inching our way closer to the Holiday season, I thought it would be fun to write up a few quick free project tutorials to help you with your gift making or personal gifting to yourself. Hey, who knows what we want better than ourselves... Am I right!!!

Today's blog post is all about working with leather to make this fun and simply stylish bag. Here's what you'll need:

 

- Sewing Machine in Good working order

- Size 90 Leather Needle

- Teflon/Non-Stick Glide Foot (MOST IMPORTANT!!)

- Strong Poloyester Thread like Rasant or Metler

- Magnetic Snap

- Quilt Binding Clips or Paper Clips

- Scissors or Ruler and Rotary cutter

- 1/4 Meter (1/3yard) Fusible Interfacing (Pellon)

- Fat 1/4 for Lining

- 1/2 Hide Goats or Sheepskin Leather (Send me an email if you would like any. New colors are coming in all the time.) Need at least a 10" x 22" piece or simply use regular fabric instead of leather.

Here is what you need to know about working with leather. Leather comes in a range of thinknesses and not all of them will work with your domestic sewing machine. Best to check and test a small piece before you push your machine to its upper limits. I hand select every single piece of Italian leather, so that I know it will work in your machine. You also want to make sure you are using the correct tools, like I mentioned above. Not using the proper needle, foot, or thread will lead to tension problems skipped stitches, and all sorts of nonsense. Ain't nobody got time for that!!! I have always found that leather is best cut using a ruler and rotary cutter. If you have neither of these, then you will just want to simply mark out your measurments and cut super straight with a sharp pair of scissors.

 

Also... Check it, Before you WRECK it. I say this in all my classes. Leather is not cheap, so you want to triple check before cutting or sewing on leather. Your needle will leave a permanent whole in the leather as you sew, which means unpicking isn't always the best option. Finally, I suggest using quilt binding clips or paper clips. Again, we don't want an permanent holes in our leather.

 

Ok, Lets get started. First up you will need to cut your fabric.

 

Leather

Cut 1: 10" X 22" 

Lining Fabric

Cut 1: 10" X 22" 

Interfacing

Cut 1: 10" X 22"

 

- Optional: You can round the top of your clutch like I have done by using a plate or rounded object to trace a semi circle. Then cut. 

 

 

Once Cut, you will want to fuse your interfacing onto the wrong side of your lining.

 

Next,  place magnetic snaps (following manufacturers instructions) 1.5" down on the right side of the lining and 3" up from the bottom on the right side of the leather, as shown below. I also choose to reinforce my snap with thick interfacing so that the snap doesn't pull through the fabric when I open and close it. 

 

Optional: You may want to add a tab or a handles to the side. Simply cut a narrow strip of leather 1/2" X 2", fold in half (wrong sides together), and sew 5" down on the right side of the main leather.

 After the snaps are in, fold up the bottom 9" towards the top, as shown below. You are going to stitch both long sides on the leather and on the lining. However, leave a 3" opening in the side of the lining to be able to turn your bag right side out at the end. also notice how I used clips instead of pins. :) (Seam allowance 3/8" or 1cm)

Once the sides are sewn, you can choose to square the corners. This is totally up to you, but this step allows your bag to sit up straight. Lay the bag flat with the side seam allowance flattened, making a triangle on the bottom corner of the bag, as shown. Sew across at 1", backstitching at the beginning and the end. Finally cut off the triangle and leave a 1/4" seam allowance. (Tip: check you did it correctly before you cut) Square both bottom corners of the lining and repeat for leather.

 Next, turn the leather right side facing out and place the leather bag into your lining with right sides together, as shown. You are now going to sew across the front, pivot at the sides, sew up and over the flap and back to where you began. You can see where I stitched from the picture below. (Seam allowance 3/8" or 1cm)

Final step. Clip corners and clip into the side seam allowances to allow the bag to lay nice and flat when you turn right side out. I even like to clip into the top curve (but don't clip your stitches) so that the flap will lay nicely. 

 

Turn right side out through the hole in the lining. Stitch up the hole and push the lining into the inside of the bag. Press with a pressing cloth to get everything to lay flat. Last step is to Topstitch around the flap, as shown below, to creat a finished look. I also created a little tassle to finish mine off, but you could attach handles or leave as is. 

Above is another option using a small piece of leather and joining a 9" X 10" piece of fabric to give it a contrast look.

I really hope you all enjoyed todays little holiday quick tutorial. I think giving handmade is simply the best, don't you?

 

If you would like more tips and further details on working with leather why not try my Urban Outlook Tote Pattern. This is the next step up on your leather sewing adventure and has two pages of detailed instruction on working with this lusterous material!

 

Check it out!

 

 

Be sure to let me know what you think of today's post and if you have any other great little projects that you plan to make for prezzies this Christmas. Also be sure to look back at previous posts like the Waterlouge Gift and Coconut Sugar Scrub which would also make great Secret Santa Gifts. 

 

May you and your family have a blessed and Merry Christmas!

 

Happy Sewing and Lots of Love,

 

Lindsey Rae

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