Introduction: Leather Envelope Clutch

About: My name is Jordan Palka. I am a senior in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. I am the former President of the Mines Maker Society, a student club that runs a makerspace on…

I had seen a similar clutch in a small retail store and knew that I wanted to create something similar. With one of my sisters birthdays coming up, I had an excuse to design and make one!

It ended up being very simple and quick to make (less than a day start to finish).


  • I added D Rings to attach a strap, but did not make one.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

This is not a complete list,but it should be pretty close. A lot of the tools are personal preference. I like to cut leather with an X-Acto knife and I use pliers when I sew.


  • Writing Utensil
  • Leather
  • Dye
  • Straight Edge
  • X-Acto Knife
  • Leather needles
  • Pliers
    • I use these for sewing
  • Punches


  • Leather (I used 4-ish mil veg tan)
  • Small D Rings x2
  • "Pin Closure" x1
    • I don't know what the official name of this is...
  • Waxed thread

Step 2: Cut the Leather

Start off by downloading, printing and cutting out the attached template (3 pieces total). Attach the template to your leather on the side that looks worse (veg-tan leather has a nice side and a bad side). You could use tape or something else. I just held the template in place. Now take a writing utensil (I like sharpie) and trace the pattern.

Carefully cut out the pattern. I use an X-Acto knife and a straight edge whenever possible. I start by cutting all of the straight lines and then come back and do the curves once most of the leather has been removed.

Step 3: Shape the Clutch

Burnish the edges:

I do not do this very well, but essentially you use friction and water to treat the edges of the leather. I suggest finding a leather working tutorial (there are a few on burnishing on instructables) for more info.

Shape the clutch:

Make sure the areas that need to be folded are very wet. Wet both sides of the leather. Fold the leather and keep it folded until it dries.

I folded all of the edges, flipped the clutch upside-down and set a pot on it while it dried.

Step 4: Prepare the Leather

Before you dye the leather, you have to punch all of the holes for sewing and assembly. Use a saddle stitch punch to make holes for sewing and a hole punch for rivets. They make a specialty tool to punch for the hole for "pin closure". I opted not to spend the money on it and drilled a hole, making sure that the drill bit is larger than the shaft, but larger than the bulb. Then I cut a slot with an x-acto knife.

Step 5: Dye and Seal the Leather

I dyed the inside and outside of the bag with black dye. While wearing gloves, apply the dye to the leather (I use paper towels) in an even coat and allow it to dry. I dyed the leather outside on a hot day, so it dried much faster than I wanted it to. I was happy with the look after 2 coats.

Apply a layer of acrylic coating. This protects the leather and ensures that no dye will get on you or your clothes.

Step 6: Saddle Stitching

Saddle stitching is the most common method to hand sew leather. It produces a very appealing, high strength 'bond' between two pieces. There are tons of tutorials out there, so I won't go into details.

These instructables are great:

If you want to add D-Rings for a removable strap, you want to sew those now (as shown in the photos)

Step 7: Assemble the Bag

  1. Rivet on the D-Ring assembly
  2. Add decorative rivets opposite the D-Rings
  3. Stitch the bottom flap to the side flaps
    1. Working bottom to top will be the easiest
  4. Add the "X" stitches
  5. Add the closure
    1. I recommend using loctite on any screw on hardware

Step 8: Admire Your Work

Your'e done. You could make a strap at this point or just use the bag as a clutch!

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