I really needed a new tote and loved the idea of stenciling extra details onto the front so I dug into my fabric stash and came out with this gray linen and scraps of sueded leather.
Want to know how to make this cute linen and leather tote? Well, let’s grab our supplies. You’ll need:
linen, leather, interfacing, lining material, (and if you’d like to stencil your linen, stencils and paint)
Stenciling with these Handmade Charlotte stencils is super easy. They are peel and stick. So just peel them, place them where you would like, and paint. If you would like a repeat design, like I did, just peel them up and place the stencil right next to your painting. I used Plaid paint as well, and just used an iron to set my work once the paint was dry.
Now are you ready to make your tote?
Linen: (2) 14”x10.5”
Leather: (2) 14”x6.5”
Lining: (2) 20”x2”
Interfacing: (2) 14”x16”
Before we start, there are a few things you should know. All seams, unless otherwise noted, use 1/2″ seam allowance. It is important when sewing with leather to get the right needle. Your local fabric store will sell leather needles, grab one. Otherwise your needle will break. Ask me how I know!
1. With right sides together, along the 14” side, sew the linen piece to the leather piece (the 14”x6.5”piece). Repeat this step for the remaining two leather and linen pieces. Press your seam.
2. Iron on your interfacing to the back of this piece. DO NOT IRON THE LEATHER. I did not iron the interfacing on to the back of my leather, it would not be pretty. I stopped ironing the interfacing when I got to the bottom of my linen piece. I used a fairly stiff interfacing, but it is up to you what kind of interfacing to use. Add topstitching along the leather, linen seam at this point.
4. At the bottom, box the corners by matching the side seams of your bag. Sew a perpendicular line, one inch in from the edge.
5. With your lining pieces (the 14”x16” pieces), starting near the middle of the bottom, sew to the corner and up to the top of one 16” side. Repeat on the other side, leaving a 3” open space at the bottom.
6. Now it’s time to create the handles. Iron on the interfacing aligning one long edge to a long edge of the lining. Do this to the other handle lining piece. With right sides together. Sew your leather strip to the lining strip, along the long side of the handle only using 1/4″ seam. You want this seam to be along the interfaced side. (There should be a ½” gap on the lining that does not have any interfacing.)
7. Now press this seam, not ironing your leather, but ironing your interfacing. Turn your interfacing under ½” and your leather ½”. Using binder clips, clip this seam so that wrong sides are together, right sides are facing out. Sew along the opened edge, and your handles are done!!! That was the hardest step, so pat yourself on the back!
8. With your leather facing the linen, baste your handle in place, 2 ½” in from the side seam of your bag. Do this to all four sides, making sure your handles do not twist.
9. We are about to finish up the bag. Now take your bag, with the handles basted in place, and stuff it inside the lining. The lining should still be inside out, so when you put your bag in your lining, right sides should be matching.
Make sure your handles are perpendicular to this top edge, and the side seams of the outer bag are matching the side seams of the lining. Pin in place. Sew around this top edge with a 1” seam allowance. Find the hole at the bottom of your lining now, and pull your bag through.
10. When it is all pulled through, you should have your bag right side out with your lining sticking straight out. Find that hole (that the bag just came through) and sew it together, either by hand with a blind stitch, or on your machine. Stuff the lining inside your bag. Iron the top seam down and topstitch the top edge of your bag.
YOU MADE IT!