Leather Bag Tutorial

Hi this is Havalah from Sisters, Sisters (aka Sisters What). I love bags. Today I’m going to show you how to make my most favorite bag in the world!! Seriously, I love it!!

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

If doing the stripes bag cut:
4 black strips (I used Bella Solid Fabric) – 2.75 inches x 15.5 inches
4 white strips – 2.75 inches x 15.5 inches
(if doing a solid piece of fabric cut: 2 pieces of fabric – 10 inches x 15.5 inches)
2 pieces of leather/vinyl (or other heavy fabric like duck cloth) – 8 inches x 15.5 inches
2 pieces of batting (I used Anne Soft and Stable ) – 17 inches x 15.5 inches

2 pieces of duck cloth – 17 inches x 15.5 inches
1 favorite fabric (for pocket #1) (I used Modern Roses for Moda) – 12 inches x 15.5 inches
1 heavy weight interfacing (for pocket #1) – 11.75 inches x 15.5 inches
1 favorite fabric (for pocket #2) – 14 inches x 15.5 inches
1 heavy weight interfacing (for pocket #2) – 13.75 inches x 15.5 inches

Other Supplies:
leather needle 
1 piece of leather/vinyl for strap – mine was 34 inches x 5.25 inches (however, you might want yours longer, so find another bag you like and decide you long you want your strap to be)
2 leather pieces for strap – 3 inches x 2.75 inches
2 leather pieces for rectangle ring on bag – 3.5 inches x 1.25 inches
*Use a 1/4 inch seam allowance unless noted otherwise.

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
//1// If you are doing the striped version, take two of the black and two of the white stripes and sew them all together interchanging the colors. Repeat with the other two black and white stripes.

//2// Iron the seams down. (White towards the black so that it doesn’t show through the white). 

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
//3//Sew the leather/vinyl piece to the striped black and white piece. Make sure to hold tightly to the leather and use your leather needle. 

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
//4// *see step 5 first. Pin your batting pieces to both sides of the black and white exterior pieces. Pin very well and quilt in the ditch between the black and white (go here for a great tutorial on quilting in the ditch. I used the blind stitch pressure foot to do this, which made it very easy to stay in the ‘ditch’).

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
//5// If you want to add a fun looking modern leather square, sew it on using your leather foot. I did this after I added the batting, but now thinking about it, it could be easier to attach before quilting on the batting.

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
//5//(a) If you want a zipper on the outside, go HERE for a tutorial. I was going to do a tutorial for you, but there are so many excellent ones already out there. 

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
//6// Start with your Pocket #1 fabric piece. Fold in half hot dog style with right sides together.
(a) Next, place the interface piece that matches it on top, pin in place and sew the bottom edges together. Then turn right side out (the interface should fit nicely inside).
(b) Iron the pocket and then top stitch what will be the top of the pocket.
(c) Grab one of the pieces of interior duck cloth and measure from the top 5.5 inches and place your pocket piece there. First sew your bottom part of the pocket to the duck cloth. For the pockets, measure in 5 inches and sew a line and then measure another 5 inches and sew another line. 
*REPEAT step 6 a through c for pocket #2 EXCEPT don’t sew middle lines (step c) unless you want more small pockets.

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
//7// If you want a zipper pocket inside your bag, sew a zipper on the pocket #1 side. Remember to go HERE for a tutorial.

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
//8// Okay, it’s time for assembling the whole thing together. Get excited, you are almost done. Grab your zipper and the pocket side exterior piece. Lay the zipper so that the teeth are facing the outside of the exterior piece. Then take the top part of the zipper and fold it 90 degrees up and pin (as seen in the above picture). 

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
//8// (a) Lay one of your finished interior pieces on top of the zipper piece and make a zipper sandwich (make sure the exterior and interior’s RIGHT sides are touching). Pin in place. Make sure to put your last pin an inch from the end. 

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
(b) Using your zipper foot, sew all the way to the last pin (which should be an inch from the end of your fabric). At that point, pull the end of the zipper away from the raw edge (out of the reach of the needle’s path) and continue sewing until the very end. Basically, you want the last inch of the sandwich to not be sewn to the zipper. 
After you finish sewing, turn your two bag pieces so that the wrong sides are now touching and the right sides our facing out. 

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
//9// Sweet, one side of the bag is done. Now we get to repeat step 9 with the last two pieces of the bag. We’re going to make an even bigger sandwich (didn’t know we were making sandwiches today did ya?). Now here’s how the sandwich should look. Exterior piece RIGHT side UP, other side of the zipper facing down (but this time the zipper has the other side of the bag that is attached to it as well) and the interior piece RIGHT side DOWN. Does that make sense?

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
After you are done, flip everything so that wrong sides of exterior and interior pieces are touching. Looks great. Almost done. DON’T TOP stitch the zipper part YET. That comes later.

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
//10// Zip your zipper so that it is half way zipped up. Now let’s do some more flipping. Flip your exterior pieces so that both RIGHT sides of the exterior pieces are touching and flip the interior pieces so that both RIGHT sides of interior pieces are touching. Pin all the way around. MAKE SURE your end zipper piece is tucked well inside the whole piece (we don’t want it to get sewn up).

Next, starting on the interior side, sew all the way around the back of the interior side but make sure to leave open a big gap.

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
//11// To make it boxy, we are going to box the corners before we turn the whole thing right side out by pinching each corner together and aligning the side/bottom seams. Grab a ruler and pen and mark out 4 inches (my picture shows 5 inches, but I ended up doing 4). Then sew on that line and cut the corners off. Do this for both the interior side and the exterior side. 

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
//12// Now turn your bag right side out. Before you stuff your interior piece back in the bag, sew the hole up in the bottom. Then stuff the interior bag into the exterior bag. 

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
//13// Now we’re going to top stitch the top of the bag. Carefully go around the whole top while avoiding the end of the zipper.

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
//14// For the end of the zipper, cut the zipper to your desired length. (Be careful not to pull the zipper off of the teeth while you do this.) Using the zipper width, measure and cut a piece of leather. Turn it right sides together and sew. Then turn it right sides out. Place leather piece over zipper and sew piece in place (to the zipper).

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
//15// (a) Grab your strap leather/vinyl piece and sew it in a tube, right sides together. Then the best part, turn it right side out. Actually, this was a beast of a thing. I asked the husband to do it and he did it like a champ. He ended up using the leg of my music stand to push it through. Good luck. 
(b) After you’ve accomplished the feat of turning it right side out, top stitch on both sides of the strap. 

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
Now grab your leather pieces for the straps (the 3 x 2.75 pieces). Wrap them around the swivel latch and attach them to the end of the strap pieces. I wanted it super secure and did some crazy zig zagging. You can be super awesome and match your thread with the leather…I didn’t have the same color so I went with the contrasting black. It kind of looks cool, right?

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
//16// Grab your rectangle rings and smallest leather pieces. Bring the leather around the rectangle ring, fold it up and then sew it closed. Then sew it to the side of the bag. Repeat for the other side of the bag. 

Leather Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

And after all those crazy and detailed steps. YOUR DONE!! Woo Hoo. 


Now go enjoy this awesome and sweet looking bag.
If you have any questions please feel free to email me at sisterswhat [@] gmail dot com.

Thank you Havalah! What a super fun and gorgeous bag. I LOVE the combination of leather and stripes and how you introduced an extra splash of color with the fun fabric inside. If you love this bag too, you will love visiting Havalah at her blog Sisters, Sisters. You will find yummy recipes and lots of fun crafts!
Thank you again Havalah for sharing your amazing talent with us today and sharing this adorable Leather Bag!

AND…if you want to create this bag and all of the bags in our Bag Lady Series, visit The Ribbon Retreat where you can find everything you need from fabric, zippers, bag hardware, patterns and more, right here in our one stop shop.

I don’t know about you…but I am in love with this bag and ALL of the rest of the bags we have featured so far. I am so excited for what is yet to come. See you tomorrow for another incredible bag…I mean INCREDIBLE!!! 🙂

To see the bags we have featured so far…click on the links below!!!
Messenger Bag
The Hailey Bag
No Sew Ribbon Applique Tote Bag
Simple Kids Drawstring Backpack
Birdie Sling Bag

Happy Creating & Happy Bag Ladies!
Signature - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

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  1. Posted August 21, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Hi, I just love the entire post and beautiful collection of. And I make sure to visit your site often.I would like to thank you for sharing this information.

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted August 21, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Thank you so much! I am so glad that you like this gorgeous little bag! Have a great day Noorein! Michelle 🙂

  2. Posted September 7, 2015 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    Hello Noorein,
    I am looking for soft inexpensive leather for making jewelry. Would you happen to have some advice on where to find leather – preferably wholesale or even unwanted scraps? I’ve done a web search and I’m not quite finding leather like you used in your DIY hand bag tutorial, which by the way is beautiful! So any leads would be helpful. Thank you

    Best wishes

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted September 16, 2015 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

      Hi Paula! Thank you for your question. I also am not positive about where you could find some leather similar to the leather used in this awesome bag. You could try to find some online fabric stores that would carry some leather. They may be able to help you find what you are looking for! Good luck and have a wonderful day! Michelle 🙂

  3. Kerstin Kornitz
    Posted October 23, 2018 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    Hi, I love bags with a lot of space and pockets inside. I love your tutorial, you show every little step. It’s great. Thank you for sharing this.

    Best wishes

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