Make a DIY Celine-inspired leather tote. Free Sewing Pattern and Tutorial.
Several weeks ago Leather Hide Store contacted me about doing a project. They sent me a huge piece of luscious black leather that sat in the closet for weeks because it terrified me.
Turns out, working with leather is not so bad. In fact, it's easier to make a leather tote than a fabric one.
Here's what you'll need to make a rustic leather tote along the lines of Celine, Baggu or Cuyana.
A piece of thick leather about 23 inches by 28 inches and another piece about 23" by about 7".
Sewing machine with a needle intended for leather
Rotary cutter, straight edge and self-healing mat
A piece of thick fusible interfacing (72 or thicker)
Make a pattern piece like the one below. Inspect your leather for any flaws. (Use any flawed pieces for the inside bottom of the bag.) Fold leather in half, right sides together, and place pattern on fold line. (Credit to Between the Lines for the idea to use the fold. This keeps you from having a seam running across the bottom of your bag.)
The wrong side (the side that is not smooth and shiny) should be up. Trace around your pattern with tailor's chalk.
My chalk didn't work so I used blue painter's tape to mark my lines.
Loosely cut out your leather. Then use a rotary cutter and straight edge to cut the leather nice and clean.
Push straight down on the cutter. Roll back and forth over the same spot, kind of like a pizza cutter.
After you cut out your rectangle, mark and cut out your two notches.
Sew up the sides of the tote with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Box the corners and sew across the seam, as shown below.
You're already most of the way there.
I like a nice firm bottom to my bag. If you do to, then cut a rectangle of leather to fit in the bottom of your bag.
Stiffen it with fusible web interfacing. (I used two layers of 72 interfacing.) To fuse, turn the wrong side of the leather up and the shiny side of the fusing down. Put a pressing cloth over it. Press straight down with a really hot iron. Don't slide the iron around. Pick up the iron and put it back down to fuse the next section.
Glue your bottom with the interface down into the bottom of your bag. Put some weight on it and let it dry.
Position your handles and glue with fabric glue and allow to dry. Then hand or machine stitch to your bag.
Note: Baggu puts their handles on the outside of the bag. Celine puts theirs on the inside. I opted for the thousand dollar bag version and put mine on the inside.
My junk looks so much better now when toted in a REAL LEATHER tote.
Easily mistaken for Celine, I think.
There you have it. Get started on your own rustic leather tote.