Let me warn you – this post contains a LOT of pictures.
I always love to see what other creative people make, but what I love even more is seeing how they actually did it. Making-of posts are probably my favourites.Projecting the same onto you and assuming you like to see lots of bad pictures of unfinished stuff, I wrote up this post about how I made the leather bag from two thrifted leather coats.
Since we can’t get enough of her, here’s another before pic of this creepy beauty:
Before I started, I cleaned the leather. Generally, it was in quite a good condition, but there was a bit of build up of dust and dirt in the seams and on the patch pockets.
I simply cleaned the soiled areas with a damp, soapy cloth (not rubbing too hard). Make sure you don’t use any aggressive soaps when treating leather. This really worked well and I got rid off all stains.
I cut out the two front and back panels first (two rectangles) which I then quilted. I should have used some backing, but somehow I didn’t think of that. It worked anyway, but I guess the quilting would’ve looked a bit more ‘three-dimnesional’.
Anyhow, I used my dot and cross paper to get perfectly parallel lines. The paper is great since the dots/crosses are exactly 2cm/4cm apart. The paper was also really helpful dealing with the sticky leather. Sewing over the paper solved the problem of not having a teflon presser foot. The paper could be easily removed after sewing since it is really thin.After I quilted the front and back panels, I cut out the bottom panel and sewed it all together. I glued the seam allowance to the bottom panel and then topstitched along the seams with my edge stitch foot.
You can see that I recycled the leather by some weird seamlines which I couldn’t avoid to include when I cut out the panels. But you barely can notice it on the fnished bag.
I cut out a big rectangle from some old curtain fabric and glued it onto the bag panel to give it a bit of support.
I cut out the upper facing and inserted the magnetic bag clasp. You can order these online, they’re quite inexpensive.
I applied piping to the panels before sewing in the side panels. I sewed one of the patch pockets onto the front panel with my sewing machine. I should’ve topstitched by hand since it looked a bit messy.Next, I made the straps. The drawstring wasn’t quite thick enough, that’s why the straps are quite soft.All these layers of leather plus the cord did not fit under my machine (although I used the zipper foot), so I decided I had to sew it by hand.
I used some pegs to hold the leather in place, since you can’t use pins – they leave small holes in the leather.Alrighty, still with me?
Now, the lining.
I recycled the lining of the pink coat, chopping off the bottom part, cutting out two rectangles. I sewed them together and underlined them with purple curtain fabric I had lying around. The satin lining otherwise would’ve been not stable enough and might’ve easily ripped (my sister carries a lot of stuff around!).(You can see the weird seamlines again)I sewed the leather facing to the lining and topstitched close to the seam.I sewed the side seams of the lining. This is how it looks “right side” out.To make the lining fit the shape of the bag, I boxed the corners:Instead of chopping them off, I handstitched the corner to the bottom seam.To avoid another messy patch pocket, I topstitched the inner pocket onto the lining by hand. Took way too much time, but was absolutely worth the trouble.I used the small holed of the previous topstitching.Time to sew bag and lining together!!
Bag placed in lining, right sides together, I sewed up the seams of front/back panel. I left the seams of the side panels open, so I could turn the bag inside out.
And yey, this is where the ripping happened.In the end it wasn’t such a big deal, although it was frustrating. I could fix it with some topstitching.
After turning the bag inside out, I started topstitching all the way around the upper edge, closing the side panel seams.This part was the most frustrating one, as it took ages and topstitching leather by hand is a really unrewarding job. My fingers hurt for days.
Here a closeup on the strap (and the messed up topstitching on the front pocket).
I really love the piping, it gives the bag a sporty look which was exactly the right thing for my little sis.
Here you can see facing and lining:
And, guess what? The bag arrived in the mail today and I got a lot of happy texts from my little sister. Glad she loves it!
Have you made something from leather or are planning to do so?
Stay in touch!
4 thoughts on “Leather Bag Making-Of”
Well done for persevering with this bag. It looks absolutely great and you did manage to machine sew quite a lot, especially all the quilting. I was rooting that you’d get all the way without a rip, but it still doesn’t notice. It’s splendid and a gift too. High five!
I love the look of this bag and great idea to use old coats. Have you/Will you be posting the dimensions for the bag? I’m really keen to try this out but wouldn’t know where to start on sizing.
I don’t remember the sizin & have given the bag away as a gift. But I simply measured a bag of mine for this project, to create a pattern. It’s basically just the size you like it to be + seam allowances. If you’re not sure, have a look at a bag you like and figure out the construction. It’s often just rectangle shapes. Good luck!
This blog is so unique. Making a handbag from an old coat! The bag turned out fabulously. Thanks for sharing.