DIY Leather Lunch Bag Tutorial

DIY Leather Lunch Bag Tutorial

Whether you need a lunch tote or not, this is a project you can modify for your own totable needs. Enjoy!

DIY Leather Lunch Bag Tutorial

I don’t bring my lunch to work as often as I should. And by that, I mean never. What if I had a cool lunch tote? It might not help, but at the very least, it’s a fun project to practice your hand sewing and to make something interesting. 

Before starting, print out the template on your printer using the “tile” function and tape it together to 100% scale. The one shown in the pic was an earlier version before I decided to cut the flaps separately. You can cut this from one piece of leather, but there’s more waste with the voids than with making separate flaps. If you modify this for your own project, maybe it’s smart to use one piece? That’s where this experiment can get really fun.


    6–7 oz. weight stiff leather
    heavy waxed thread



    leather punches — #5 and #00
    leather sewing needles
    contact cement
    rotary knife
    stitching spacer
    downloadable template



1. Cut your leather pieces and trim any frayed edges to a smooth cut. I’m using leather that is 6 to 7 oz. thick, and you’ll need something stiff to provide strength for the handle. If you want to use thinner leather, try cutting an additional handle from the template and sew those two pieces together for more stiffness.

2. Take each of your interior flaps and prepare to mark your sewing holes. Using your stitching spacer and a ruler or straight edge, mark your holes. Use a stitching spacer with a large void, as we’ll be using thick thread, and a long stitch works best.

3. Glue the flaps aiming inward to your main piece with contact cement. Use only a strip under where the stitching will go so your pieces stay aligned when punching holes and sewing.

DIY Leather Lunch Bag Tutorial

4. Once the glued pieces have set up, you can start punching holes for sewing. I’m using a punch, but you can use an awl instead. (See previous instructions for sewing with an awl on my passport post.)

Punch holes according to the spacing marks through both pieces of glued leather. While you’re at it, pinch the handle-receiver end together and also the flap ends and punch some sewing holes through both layers there, too. You can freehand them, but try to maintain the stitch spacing you’ve been using.

DIY Leather Lunch Bag Tutorial

DIY Leather Lunch Bag Tutorial

5. The final step is to hand-sew your pieces with two needles and thick waxed thread. Using the two-needle method and backstitching on your ends will give you a sturdy, long-lasting seam. Again, there are more in-depth stitching lessons on my passport post.

DIY Leather Lunch Bag Tutorial

DIY Leather Lunch Bag Tutorial

DIY Leather Lunch Bag Tutorial

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  1. Thinking perhaps I could use an old vintage leather coat that I have which recently got a tear at the back to create this and give it a new life as a lunch tote.
    Such a great idea!

  2. I love this. I love that I don’t need to find an industrial sewing machine to make it. I think my boyfriend will love it for his birthday coming up. Is there any problem with stuff falling out the sides? Or does the stiffness of the leather keep it all together?

    1. It seems to hold things provided they are in bags. If I would try it, I'd use a softer leather for the inside and modify that part of the pattern to make a proper bag with a string or another kind of thing to keep it closed, like Velcro or a clasp. Or just do it like it is and add a fabric bag with a string where to put everything.

  3. This pattern with some tweaking may be used for a casserole or dessert carrier.