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I was recently browsing online and saw these lovely leather totes that are so fashionable nowadays. It was a designer label and was priced around $500 :/ 
Not really in my budget.

I picked up some faux leather on sale at my local fabric shop for a steal, so I think that final cost to me was around $15.00 including leather sewing needles. I would highly recommend sewing with a heavier duty thread to help make this nice and strong.

This project turned out so nice and stylish, I can't wait to go out shopping with it!

Happy Sewing!
Melanie oxoxox 
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Supplies 

  • 1 Meter Faux Leather 
  • Heavy Duty Thread
  • Leather Sewing Needles
  • Ruler 
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine
  • Paper Clips or Hair Clips
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Start off by cutting a large rectangle 30" Long by 18" Wide. This will make the body of your tote bag. 
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Cut two narrow stripes out of the faux leather measuring 30" by 3/4", If you are using a thin faux leather, you might have to double up on the shoulder straps so that they hold the weight of the bag. The leather I used was fairly thick and secure. 
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Before beginning to sew, change out your sewing machine needles to one made specially for sewing with leather. 
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Fold your large rectangle in half and sew down both sides. 
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**TIP 
When sewing leather I use these hair clips as my pins so that the leather doesn't shift. Don't use actual pins as they will leave permanent holes in your leather. 
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On the bottom corners of your tote, square in 3" and cut these out. Make sure you are measuring your 3 " from your stitching line rather than the edge of your fabric, 
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Unfold your tote bottom and reposition so that your opening is now closed as pictures above. Repeat this for both sides. Sew that opening closed
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This gives your tote a flat, squared out bottom. 
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Flip your tote right side out. On the side seams of your tote and working on the inside under-stitch all your seam allowances to one side. This will help them lie flat. Repeat for both side seams. 
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Take your narrow straps and cut them to a point on each end. 
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Position them where you like on your tote and secure them with clips. I positioned my straps 4" in from each side. 
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This is the trickiest part of the whole tote. Careful sew around your straps ends securing them to your tote permanently. Sew close to the edge and go slow.

You will have to pivot your needle a few times to get the desired effect. 
You don't have to exactly replicate this stitching on the straps if you find an easier way than do that! 
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Repeat this for both straps making sure that they are positioned evenly to each other.

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Comments

01/20/2016 12:42pm

Very cute tote! A suggestion, since I have made lots of bags with leather and faux leather over the years...you will want to run some stitching down the handles on either side. Otherwise they will stretch out over time.

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Melanie
01/20/2016 1:15pm

Hi Stacy, Thanks so much for the tip! I'll be sure to include that next time

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It's a great tip. Making your own bag is better than buying expensive things made from dead animals. I can't believe people buy designer bags, it's just a waste of their money. There's no sense in wearing expensive clothes, but having no cash. People shouldn't waste money just for bragging. It's weird though, using glue for bags. I'll try this with recycled things.

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01/24/2016 1:31pm

Gorgeous! I've got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for tomorrow that features your tutorial: http://sewing.craftgossip.com/?p=86379 --Anne

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Melanie
01/25/2016 12:03pm

Hi Anne!

Thanks for the feature!!!! Can't wait to see it :)

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02/09/2016 8:43am

Thought I would offer up some tips, since I sew with leather every day. If you spread your side seams, and glue them down, wrong sides together, then top stitch, you'll have a very defined bag. (Do this before sewing the bottom side seams Same with the straps, glue first, it won't wiggle, then stitch. If you are using leather, there is something called Edge Kote, by Fiebing's, that will give it a finished edge..top, and straps. Happy Sewing ladies!

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Melanie
02/10/2016 8:13am

Hi Linda!

Thanks so much for your great tips! What type of glue do you suggest?
Hopefully I make another project with all techniques you suggested.

Melanie

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Cary
09/04/2016 7:38am

It is a great tutorial. I cannot wait to do it, but the glue idea is great as well! I never read that glue name before, can I use another one like white school glue or sewing glue? How much time I need to wait after glueing the sides together to start sewing over? Thank you a lot! May Jehovah, the generous God, bless you!

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Marie
02/11/2016 3:47am

Love it and cannot wait to try it. Tutorial photos are excellent. Thank you for sharing.

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02/24/2016 2:12pm

What a cute tote! I love this tutorial and will try it out very soon ... I have an old, black, big leather jacket which I will cut and "refashioned" it as a tote bag. Thanks for this great motivation! Greetings from Germany
vonKarin

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02/28/2016 3:01pm

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02/29/2016 12:23pm

This is perfect. This is related to my school project about bag making. The content of this article, the pointers cited are really very helpful. I hope I get high grade with this school project. Thanks to the bright ideas shared.

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03/01/2016 7:40am

There leather are really good and realy because we all know that we always should be like amazing and supportive things to have some chagne

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CoCo
03/09/2016 1:54pm

Love! Love! the designer bag Idea... Can wait to try it...

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Wai
04/12/2016 2:01pm

Fab bag and tutorial, thank you!

Can't wait to give this a go! :D

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06/15/2016 4:07am

Wow, bellissimo!
Ciao Helene

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Margaret Winters
07/03/2016 3:25pm

Darling bag, can't wait to try it!

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lynne larson
08/26/2016 3:26pm

can you use oilcloth....do you know if the edges frey?

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Kathy
08/29/2016 9:52am

Why no lining? Any particular reason or just a preference? If no reason, would you suggest cutting the lining exactly as the leather and sewing it into the leather as you go? Also, what would make the best lining for leather bags?

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Melanie
09/02/2016 9:43am

Hi Kathy!
No lining was a personal preference for this tutorial but you can definitely add one using the same dimensions as the leather! As for linings you can chose pretty much anything that is lightweight as long as its not a Knit/Stretch fabric.

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Karen
09/08/2016 2:49pm

I love your bag! I have some vinyl that looks like leather I might try for this. I think I'll make a lining and put pockets on the inside on the lining and maybe sew a strip across the top with a large button on the front side to close it. Love your pattern...,Thanks!!

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Melanie
09/20/2016 8:14pm

Hi Karen,

Sounds fantastic!

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09/24/2016 12:54am

Thank you for the tutorial! It was really easy to follow. I made one today with faux croc material and added zipper and pockets. Decided to do without a lining too.

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09/25/2016 8:33am

Love the leather bag tututorial. Inspired to try. Thanks.

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Karen
10/08/2016 12:19pm

Thank you for this lovely pattern - the bag is so stylish yet very easy to make. I made one this afternoon - black faux leather lined with red faux leather and I made it reversible - it looks great.

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Maria Adelaide Tavares
10/20/2016 2:41pm

Linda, muito bem feita. Parabéns e obrigada.

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11/02/2016 8:05pm

I love this tutorial and like you know I can make something similar to what I see in stores. This bag you made is exactly like what I typically carry! I was super excited to get started, went to our local fabric store (JoAnn) and could not find anything. Do you know what faux leather you used? Or where I should search online?

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Wendy
11/29/2016 1:12pm


Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to turn everyone on to a great leather supplier out of NYC. They are called District Leathers. Their website is http://www.districtleathers...and they are super friendly and helpful. They carry all types of leather that you can take out right from their showroom on 263 West 38th St. (15th floor) in NYC. No appointment necessary.

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sam
12/14/2016 11:18am

very nice

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12/17/2016 2:17am

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Carolyn Brack-Jackson
01/09/2017 9:21pm

Loved your purse pattern and will attempt it tomorrow. this is the style of bag I typically carry, simple streamlined and roomy.

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02/09/2017 7:48am

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Cintia Abney
03/05/2017 9:53am

I loved it and will try. I want to add lining, but since I am a beginner I have a question: do we saw the edges of um bag tucked inside the other, but when we flip it over how the edges will behave? Isn,t the leather too thick to fold ? How do I do?

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03/06/2017 9:42am

Another great source for leather is your local thrift shop. I often buy leather skirts at about $4/each (in NY!). Jackets always available too, but more expensive. There are all kinds of great sewing and crafting materials to be found second-hand.

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Lori
03/06/2017 12:46pm

Beautiful job and excellent tutorial. Thank you for sharing

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Penny Harris
05/10/2017 8:03pm

Could you use ultrasuede material. I have some coats that were my Mom's but nobody wears ultrasuede coats so I was thinking of cutting them up for tote bags?

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Beth
05/22/2017 11:51am

I didn't understand the comment about gluing the wrong sides together before sewing. Wouldn't that put the rough edges on the outside of the bag??Can someone please clarify this for me? I would love to try to make one. Thx!

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05/28/2017 12:58pm

For your next DIY bag project if you need a leather strap or strip visit https://valuebeltsplus. They have a wide selection of leather items to choose from at good prices.

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