Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you wanted to DIY a product because you could not find it in retail? And even if you did find it, the design was just a mass-production that lacked individuality?
There's a reason why personalised handmade leather products are in high demand. Handmade leather accessories, such as bags, belts, wallets and bracelets, are becoming increasingly popular due to their individuality.
If you're a leathercrafting enthusiast and willing to get hands-on with your designs, the creative opportunities available to you are endless. This article will go through an intensive DIY that you can follow to make yourself a customised leather tote bag.
This leather bag DIY will walk you through all the steps necessary in the process, from creating paper templates and designs to choosing base leather. Don't worry if you're a beginner and have no prior experience at leathercrafting. This beginner-friendly DIY will help you get started, and by the end of it, you'll walk away with a customised handmade leather bag that's reflective of your personality.
Materials Needed For This Leather DIY
Before we get started with this tutorial, it's vital to pick out a suitable base leather for your bag.
There are plenty of different types of leathers - top grain, corrected grain, genuine leather, nubuck, and suede. They are all different splits from hides used to make various types of textured leather, but when it comes to bags, whole grain is the way to go.
Known for its strength and durability, full-grain leather is premium quality leather that's easy to stitch into. So pick out a full-grain leather in the colour of your choice, and you're good to go.
Regardless of whether you're a beginner or a seasoned leather craftsman, the first and foremost thing that you should do is set up a clutter-free workstation with all the supplies and tools readily available at your disposal. Doing this helps minimise the distractions and allows for a more effective and wholesome leathercrafting experience.
For this leather DIY project, here is a list of tools and supplies that you should gather -
- Approx 6 square feet of full-grain leather in the colour of your choice
- Upholstery thread in the colour of your choice
- Rotary cutter and cutting mat
- Large and small rulers
- 1/4″ double-sided mounting tape
- 1 yard of fabric for the liner
- Leather sewing needles
- Glover's needle
- Double-sided mounting tape
Step By Step Process Of Making A DIY Leather Tote Bag
Start off by using a pen to mark out exactly where you want to cut your base leather. These cuts will be made using a rotary cutter, so make sure to use a ruler for reference so that your dimensions are spot on. These are the dimensions you'll have to follow in this DIY.
- Body- 1 piece at 30″ width x 18″ length
- Straps- 4 pieces at 3/4″ width x 30″ length
- Liner- 1 piece at 1 1/4″ width x 35″ length
After cutting the required pieces, put together the straps. Use double-sided mounting tape to hold the pieces together. To prevent your stitching needle from getting gummed up with glue, place the tape in the middle of the leather strap.
Once you've sewed the straps together, proceed to work on the body of the tote bag. Fold the body piece in half and make sure to not stitch the side seams all the way down because the corners need to be sewn together. As a reference, you may want to stop the seam at 11 1/2″ from what will be the top of the bag.
Using a 3/8″ seam allowance, stitch both sides together, stopping at the point you've previously marked. At this stage, you'll be able to open up the ends of your bag to form a semi-triangular shape towards the bottom of your bag. Use this reference to sew a seam across the bag, crossing over the sides where the seams end. As per the dimensions used in this tutorial, the seam was set in to be about 2". Fasten each end of your stitches and trim away the excess leather leaving about a 3/8″ seam allowance.
Follow this same procedure for the other side of the bag.
Once you've sewn both corners, attach the straps to the main body of your tote bag. You can use mounting tape to attach them to the outside of the bag. As a reference, you can place the straps 5″ in from each side of the bag and the ends at 3″ from the top of your bag.
With your leather tote bag now starting to take shape, it's time to complete the stitching. Start from about 1" from the top of the bag for the first stitch and continue onwards until you meet the side stitches. Leave ample room to the tail of the thread when you cut it loose, as you need to tie with the inside of the bag.
Once the body is complete, you can now move on to the liner. Use a reference dimension of 1 1/4″ of leather and fold it in half. Stitch a seam of 3/8″ towards the end of the bag.
Stitch the liner together, following precisely the exact instructions as you sewed the main body of the bag. The next step is to attach the liner to the body of the leather bag. Use a mounting tape to get the two pieces flush with each other and then stitch another seam along the top of the bag to attach the liner.
Once you reach the point where the side seams of the bag and the liner meet, pull the body of the bag through to complete the stitching.
And there you've got it. Your very own leather tote bag stitched by your very own hands. You can now proudly flaunt it among your friends the next time you step out of the house.
Having given all the steps in detail, we truly don’t intend to overwhelm you with all the information. To make your experience as pleasant and frictionless as possible, here’s a leather crafting course - a complete package, we’d say, to make your own Leather tote bag today.
With 9 colours to choose from, the kit contains everything you need to start making your leather tote bag today -
- Pre-cut and pre-punched leather pieces ready to use
- A pot of homemade wax and a soft cloth
- Metal hardware of your choice
- Needle and thread
- Unique 'Made by' card
- Instruction booklet
- Video Link to instruction video
Offered by Craft Courses, the leathercrafting courses will not only introduce you to elegant art but also help you perfect it.
Leathercrafting is experiential. With easy to follow instructions and apt resources, this will help you out if you face a roadblock.
There's so much more depth to leathercrafting than what meets the eye. To experience the true essence of leathercrafting, you must allow yourself to be completely engrossed in it. You need to minimise external distractions to achieve a state of mental bliss. We, at Artisans, help you achieve just that.
We provide you with numerous DIY resources and articles to get you started and have
created a one-stop solution for all your leathercrafting-related needs. If you're looking to indulge in other DIYs, you might as well consider our DIY leathercraft beginners kit. It consists of all the tools you need to complete your leather crafting projects and is the perfect starting resource for enthusiasts.
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