Brown leather shoulder bag

Years ago I made a leather bag. This was well before I planned to blog my crafting activities so I don’t have many photos, but I wanted to share what I do have anyways!

I found almost an entire hide at a charity shop with just a small square missing. I wish it had been black, but if you buy secondhand only (I don’t buy new leather) then you get what you get. The colour is very dark brown, like dark chocolate. The leather is fairly thick so it looked suitable to use for a bag.

I made the pattern for the bag myself. The body of the bag is made of just one big piece of leather with two small bits to hide the zipper ends, four circular pieces to reinforce the corners, and a long strip for the strap.

At the time I only had a light weight domestic sewing machine and realised I could not sew this leather with it, so I looked online how to hand stitch leather. I used Hemline strong linen thread (in black) and used an awl and two needles to create a saddle stitch. Here’s a picture of adding the zipper:

I found out that using an awl you don’t remove any of the material so adding the thickness of the thread dozens of times makes the leather warp (into a ‘dome’ shape at the opening of the bag where I attached the zipper). If I could redo this I would cut the edges where the zipper goes into a very shallow concave shape to correct for this warping (assuming this will work).

I had initially planned to add a decorative piece to the side of the bag I would wear on my ‘outside’ but decided to skip it because a) hand stitching took AGES, and b) I was worried that the stitching would allow water in and I live in England, so yeah. This is the design I had in mind for decoration (the photo is of pyramid studs on top of a piece of paper to see what it would look like; I would have attached the pyramids to a piece of the same leather as I used for the bag itself):

I created four circles and took away a small piece so the resulting cone shape would fit over the corners of the bag (I used metal domes for decorative purposes and they will also reinforce the corner reinforcement, ha!):

Top view:

I ended up getting a ‘heavy duty’ domestic sewing machine a year or so later and used it to stitch a matching strap. This stitching is obviously different from what I used for the bag itself but I did not want to do any more hand stitching on thick leather again (it’s slow going and hard on the fingers). I used hardware made for sail boats to go through the big eyelets I placed in the top corners of the bag. I used an old curtain with floral print to create the lining and added one inside, zippered pocket.

And this is what it looks like when I wear the bag (I also made the fabric bag):

By Alex

I have been crafting since early childhood and currently do mostly sewing and illustration. 'Almalauha' is the project I started to showcase my sewing/fashion hobby, at least that was the plan. But because I like a million different arts/crafts things, I'm just going to share most of the creative things I do on this blog.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *