Introduction: Leather Clutch Bag
Heres how to make this clutch bag with very minimal stitching. You could probably do it with none if you have some rivets.
Things you'll need:
Veg tan leather ( I used 3-4oz)
Water with sponge
Oil and sponge (plus kitchen roll to wipe away excess)
Awl and sewing needle/thread
Finish (Eg. Eco flo satin shine)
Step 1: Make a Paper Model of Your Design
First comeup with a concept. Heres my first mock up of what I wanted the bag to look like. You could change the dimensions around but the general shape allows for it to be folded in on itself thus creating different pockets.
Step 2: Draw Your Template
Next step is to draw out your template neatly. Remember to allow space between back, front & sides for the bends in the leather. I allowed 1 cm if it was a small bend or 1.5 if it was bending around a few pieces of leather.
Step 3: Cut the Template Out
Cut out your template. This is my first go. I then folded up the template and checked that it looked how I wanted. I ended up adding a bit of extra paper on to make the angles look better. Best to play around with it now rather than when the leather has been cut.
Step 4: Cut the Leather Out
Stick your template down on a piece of veg tan leather. I used masking tape as it doesn't leave any residue on the leather. Once its stuck down cut it out with a stanley knife.
Step 5: Fold the Leather
Now fold the leather up. Wet the seams so that the leather doesn't crack. Starting to look like the bag now.
Step 6: Oil/dye the Leather
Once the water has dried I used olive oil to darken the colour of the leather. You could also use a leather dye. I find that the oil keeps the leather more supple though.
Step 7: Burnish the Edges
Now its time to burnish the edges using a small amount of water and a burnisher. I made these burnishers on the lathe but you can buy them from any leather website. Both the hand one and dremel have their uses. If you have access to an edge beveller you may want to use it first. I don't have one yet but I think I got alright results without it.
Step 8: Fix the Poppers
The next step is to punch the holes for you poppers and attach them in place. All the pieces you need can be bought as a kit for a couple of pounds.
I worked out the placing of these by cutting the top holes first ( these needed to be well placed as they are the most visible) then drawing a circle through these holes on to the underlying leather so that they line up perfectly. These poppers can be wherever you want. You could probably even get away without them or use a different type of fixing.
Step 9: Sew the Layers Together
I sewed the leather in two places. The area shown and the two layers of leather directly underneath which is to hidden to photograph. You could probably rivet these layers of leather. I initially intended to but couldn't find ones I liked the look of in time.
Step 10: Apply a Finish
Apply a finish to your bag. I used Eco flo satin shine however I'm sure any product would do just as good a job. This just seals the leather and protects it.
And there you are a leather clutch bag with only minimal stitching.