How to Make a $2 Leather Tool Bag for Your Brooks Saddle.





Introduction: How to Make a $2 Leather Tool Bag for Your Brooks Saddle.

This Instructable is an entry in the Bicycle Contest, so please vote at the top of the page!

Do you own a Brooks saddle or a similar style seat with bag attachments? Have you always wanted one of those nifty-looking leather tool bags to compliment that stylish stool of yours? Don't exactly have a spare $100+ to spend on such frivolous, unnecessary accessories?

Then do what I did and make your own! It's simple, easy, and can be done in only a few hours.

Step 1: What You Will Need:

- Leather briefcase. I bought this one from a local thrift store for only $2. (1 briefcase makes 2 tool bags)
- Hammer
- Scissors
- Hemp or bamboo twine
- Scalpel or Xacto knife
- Ruler or measuring tape
- A nail
- Thumbtacks
- Pliers
- Masking Tape

Step 2: Step 1: Disassembly

Tools needed:
- Scalpel / Xacto knife
- Ruler

Begin by disassembling the briefcase. Using your Xacto knife, cut the seams along all sides until all you have are single panels of leather. Then, using your ruler, measure and cut an 11x7 in. rectangle out of one of the panels.

Step 3: Step 2: Measurements

Tools needed:
- Scalpel / Xacto knife
- Ruler

Next, you will need to cut out two of the following pieces each:

- 15 x 3/4 in. pieces. These will be used as the mounting straps.
- 2 x 3 in. pieces. These will be used as the side panels of the bag.

Once you've cut out all the pieces, take a round object (I used a camera lens that was roughly 2'' in diameter) and trace and cut one side on each side panel into a rounded shape.

Step 4: Step 3: Preparing the Side Panels

Tools needed:
- Hammer
- Nail

Once you have all the pieces gathered, take both your side panel pieces and crease them along the edge outwards. Make sure you crease it so that the side you want showing is indented (See pic. 1).

Next, take your hammer and nail and begin punching holes along the sides and rounded bottom part of the panels (See pic. 2). The holes should be about 1/4 in. away from the edge and 1/4 in. apart from each other. 

Step 5: Step 4: Sewing

Tools needed:
- Hammer
- Nail
- Masking tape or a very large sewing needle
- Hemp or bamboo twine

Once you've punched holes in both your side panels, take your 11 x 7 in. piece of leather and flip it so that the side that you want on the outside of the bag is face down. Then, take your two side panels and lay them so that the top, flat edges are aligned with the 7in. edge of your 11 x 7 in. piece (See pic. 1).

Now that your side panels are aligned at the corners with your main panel, take your hammer and nail and punch more holes into the main panel using the side panels' holes as guides.


Once you've punched in all the holes, grab  your large needle and thread some hemp/bamboo twine through it. If you don't have a needle, take a small piece of masking tape and wrap it around the end of your twine so that it resembles an aglet (those hard things at the end of your shoelaces). This will work as a makeshift needle and thread (See pic. 2).

Begin the sewing process by threading your twine through both panels, making sure to fold the side up as you near the curved edge (See pic. 3). Make sure to tie off the ends of the twine when finished.

Once, you're done with both sides, your bag will begin to take shape (See pic. 4).

Step 6: Step 5: Add Some Straps

Tools needed:
- Thumbtacks
- Scalpel / Xacto knife
- Pliers

Note: For this step, I measured the distance between the mounting eyes on my saddle and attached the straps on my bag accordingly. This distance may vary on your saddle.

Once you've decided where your straps should go, take some thumbtacks and tack your straps down to the inner edge of the bag. Then, take your pliers and bend the pointed part of the tack down so that it fastens. The thumbtacks will act as makeshift rivets, plus they look similar (See pic. 1.1)

Next, take your Xacto knife and cut two horizontal slits below the area you tacked your strips down. Then raise the newly cut areas and pull the loose end of the straps all the way through like a belt loop (See pic. 1.2).

Then, close the top half of the bag over the "belt loops" and cut 2 holes where the belt loops are located. This will be the locking mechanism for the bag (See pic. 1.3).

Step 7: Step 6: Mounting

Tools needed:
- Thumbtacks
- Pliers

Next, turn your bag over to the back side and tack the straps down for added strength and stability (See pic. 1).

Now, you can mount your bag onto the saddle. Pull the loose end of the straps through your mounting eyes and then tack then straps down again to the lid where my thumb is pointing (See pic. 2).

Then, pull the loose strap-ends through the hole and belt loop you made earlier in step 6.

Step 8: Step 7: Admire

Now stand back and marvel at the beauty that sits before you. Bask in its excellence knowing that you've both saved money and created something with your bare hands!

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10 Discussions

That's fantastic! Will make one for my vintage Nashiki bike :o)

had some fun with this project. nice basic pattern though i prefer the real leather look. i got some scraps from a local shoemaker.

2 replies

That is...really nice. Seriously, it looks authentically old, if that makes sense, like something my depression-era relatives would've made to be useable and last forever.

That looks awesome! And I'm glad you enjoyed the project! I wanted to do something similar with the buckles but couldn't find any belts at the thrift sore small enough to match the size of my bag. I'm really digging the distressed leather scraps that you used. It certainly gives your tool bag that authentic look.

Thanks for this! I will definitely be making a couple of these.

Very nice! I have one of those old style briefs laying around, thanks for the inspiration. You've got my vote!

Nice! :) My dad just got a new retro style bike and today he mentioned how he liked the genuine leather toolbags that were common in his childhood. Perfect timing! And how did I not think of "making" when he told me about these...

Now I just have to find out if he wants to make it himself or leaves it to me. I'll let you know if we finish something.

1 reply

Cool, I'd like to see how yours turns out! Also, you should try putting your own twist on it and use some decorative studs instead of pushpins. I used gold pyramid studs for one of mine.

This is fantastic! Looks like the original stuff.

Great job there, and sure it saves lots of money, and it looks GREAT.

Thanks for sharing.


1 reply