I am like the tote bag queen! Even my mom is like, Dania!!!!! But you know what?!, I love them and they're super useful too. I want to share with you this really chic way of making your own tote out of leather that I found on Instructables, online.
Leather (finished double shoulder)
Basic Leatherwork Tools
a rawhide or basic wood mallet
a hard surface - ideally a marble or granite slab if you plan to do tooling
Ruler & Other Tools Needed
scissors, utility razors & ruler
hole punch tool
spray bottle to wet leather
small rivets and a rivet setter
2 metal swivel lobster clasps
Materials for Sewing
needles for sewing the leather
waxed or sinew thread
pliers - sometimes are needed when pulling needle through holes
awl - needed for punching holes into leather for sewing
creasing tool - used to make an even line in preparation for stitching
overstitch wheel - makes indentations where the holes will be put for stitching
stitching groover - this gouges a channel along the edge to prepare it for the holes & sewing
1. Cut out the leather, according to the measurements.
2. Once the measure is cut out, then take the main piece and spray the edges to get them wet.
3. Using the creasing tool, make a line down all the edges, including the top and bottom.
4. Then take the stitching groover tool and use that down the edges of the bag along the sides (the long sides which you will be sewing together). This will gouge a groove into the material to make it slightly thinner and easier to sew.
5. Turn the bag so it will be "inside out" and then wet the leather again on the edges. Use the creasing and groove tool on the wrong side of the leather.
6. Then use the stitching wheel to create indentations where the stitches will be sewn.
7. After that, brush a thin layer of the glue along all edges that will be sewn together - the bag should still be inside-out. Let the glue dry slightly and become tacky before sealing the edges together.
8. Then place some heavy objects along the edges to let it really bond together. Wait a little while, maybe 30 minutes to an hour before you plan to sew the edges.
9. Before sewing along those edges, you will need to use your awl to punch holes into the leather where you'll be stitching.
10. Once holes are punched, you are ready to sew.
TIP: It's best to use neutral colored thread for a plain look, versus a high contrast look.
Always remember safety first when working with tools and solvents. Unless you are a pro or an expert in using and handling tools, you may want to purchase a leather tote and decorate it, rather than building your own.
For more tote bag ideas, be sure to see these canvas DIYs here.