Last week a friend of mine asked me to make a simple leather pouch to keep his overly stuffed card holder: a sort of... uhm... card holder-holder!! :P
Process for making it is really simple, so simple you can make it even if you've never tried leatherworking before: it requires minimum cost (as low as a few €/$), minimum tools, minimum material and minimum craftsmanship, yet it makes for a great handmade gift and a cool object too!!
On with the tutorial now! :)
First of all: tools and materials
- Some thin leather: choose any colour and tanning method you want. I chose a black, chrome tanned leather, but oil or veg tanned leather are good as well;
- 2 saddle stitching needles (the blunt ones) and thread (any colour, but I like when it makes contrast with leather);
- a stitch punch and a rubber mallet (I have a set of punches, but if you don't own them, just use an awl to poke holes);
- a stitching pony is extremely useful when stitching your piece (It is simple to make as well, see my other i'ble here)
- a straight edge (possibly a metal one);
- a SHARP cutter: You need it to be sharp in order to get good, clean cuts, especially on thin leather;
- PVA glue or contact cement;
- some clothespin or small clamps;
- a bone folder (not necessary, but useful).
Step 1: Process
I made a video to show what I've done to make this pouch, in order to explain better what's written in this small tutorial: you can see it here.
As you can see, this pouch is made out of a rectangle of leather, folded in half and stitched on its longer sides.
It is important to make it very precise and adherent to the object you want to encase, because leather tends to loosen with time, yet the object has to slide in and out of it fairly easily. To decide how big of a rectangle you have to cut, measure your object and leave at least one centimetre of excess on every side, you will trim it later.
First of all you will have to make at least one of the longer sides straight. Fold leather in half on the longer side, then glue only one side with PVA glue, clamp along the whole gluing line and wait till it's dry. Then punch stitching holes and stitch that same side. If you don't know how to saddle stitch, don't worry, it's really simple and Youtube is filled with excellent video tutorials that will teach you how in a blink of an eye.
Now put the object inside the soon-to-be pouch, pressing it firmly along the stitching you've just made. Grab the bone folder and mark the oppisite side, where the second stitching line will be sewn. Remove the object, spread glue along that mark, clamp in position and proceed with stitching when everything's dry. Finally trim away every excess you may have left, to get smooth, consistent sides all around.
Basically you're done. You have a functional pouch, that you can now embelish however you want: you can burn a picture, or somebody's initials on it (a soldering iron will make the trick), you can use leather stamps to create patterns, or you can simply use a different stitching style... sky's the limit!!! I decided to keep my design simple and just add a U-shaped recess on the top to make it easier to grab the object, and I find it turned out pretty well. What do you think?
Let me know in the comments,
Thanks for reading and happy leatherworking! :)