Leather Handbag




Introduction: Leather Handbag

I made this really simple bag out of 1.8mm thick leather. It can hold my 10" tablet along with my books.

This is the first time I made a bag so be sure to read the "notes on the build" section before trying something similar because I will explain some of the things I don't like or would do differently.


  • 1.8mm thick piece of leather (I used two color so I had two skins but you can make it with one) roughly 50x100cm
  • A cutter
  • 2 needles
  • 1mm waxed and braided polyester thread
  • Round stitching chisels
  • two zipper (60 & 20 cm long)
  • Edge Skiver

Step 1: Designing & Cutting the Pieces

I didn't make a precise pattern. I displayed some of my school books on a piece of paper and added some space around. The front and back are 34x25cm with 2cm radius corners and then I figured out the outside perimeter with a 6cm wide piece of paper that will be the outline. The handles are approximately 26x2cm.

I punched the stitching holes at the same time I cut the pieces as it was quicker. All my stitching lines are made 5mm away from the edges.

I made a reference hole in the middle of all the stitching lines so that every pieces would had aligned holes.

I decided at the last moment to add a brown side pocket. That's why it isn't in the pictures.

Step 2: Preparing the Zippers

For the upper zipper I used pieces of leather that I thinned first and rolled the edges so they look better. Then it's just gluing and stitching them. I cut the whole length a bit longer than I needed because I didn't know how long I exactly needed it yet. I cut the excess after measuring the outside perimeter.

For the side pocket it was really easy I cut a 20x2cm hole on the piece and stitched the zipper in place.

Step 3: Preparing the Handles

The handles are really the simplest one I could think of and preparing them was fairly easy. I just glued one side and then the other one over it and made a stitch roughly in the middle. The pictures speak for themselves but if you need more details ask them in the comments.

When waiting for the glue to dry I put some heavy books on it to keep the piece as flat as possible.

Step 4: Stitching All the Parts Together

I stitched the bag "inside out" and then reversed it.

I added D-rings on the sides in case I want to add a shoulder strap in the future.

Step 5: Notes on the Build

Overall I am happy with the result but there are things I will try to improve.

  • The outline is not as "flat" as I wanted. By stitching it from inside it keeps it more round. Maybe this leather is too thick for a bag that is that small.
  • The way I made the handles doesn't look good at all when you look at their base.

If you have any idea on how to improve it I would gladly read about it in the comments.

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    Youtube knight16
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    1 year ago

    Green is always a good choice for leather! And the brown really complements it!


    2 years ago on Step 5

    First of all I think this is a beautiful piece of art work!! I have in my infinite list of To-Do’s to make a small briefcase/handbag like this and yours is a great inspiration. I really like the color combination you’ve chosen.

    Related to your request for ideas on how to improve the handles I would suggest that you sew them in the external sides and not trough the leather pieces and perhaps do two stitching lines in the sides of your handles instead or one in the middle.
    But this might change a little bit the look of the bag, thus your design.
    Added a picture to the comment with a drawing over one of your photos, and one of a bag I did for my wife recently to show what I am trying to say.


    Reply 2 years ago

    I agree with 3LRusS1T0 about the straps, and especially the rivet that he drew but didn't discuss. Some people like to cut a decorative shape into the end of the handle and stitch around it: a disc, a leaf, or something like a fleur-de-lis. Some examples below.

    You can still make the handles the way you have, but the doubled-up leather should go beyond (through) the seam and the rivet should go through the main bag side piece to reinforce the joint.

    The reason the bag is not as flat as you wanted is because you used really thick leather for this size bag. Examine some other leather bags that you like the look of. The leather is probably only about 1 mm thick.

    The bag looks great anyway! I like the leather colors you chose.


    2 years ago

    This is really nice. Something I wish I had the talent for, since it is so hard to find the perfect purse. I like the way you included a d-ring at the end of the zipper. It is something I look for in a purse so that I can clip on a carabiner to keep track of my keys. No more digging inside the purse for them. I really like the colour combination you used. You should be proud.


    2 years ago

    Wow, brilliant idea friend!!