Leather Tool Pouch




Introduction: Leather Tool Pouch

I needed a grab-and-go tool pouch for those times when it makes the most sense to take the tool to the project. My biggest rolling tool box likely weighs in at over 1000 lbs, even my smaller tool boxes are pretty heavy to lug around. I've tried tool belts and things fall out of them, they just don't fit the way I use and store tools. I needed a way to carry my favorite hand tools, without them falling out. This is what I came up with.

What this Instructable Covers

This write-up has measured drawings, and photos that can be used to create cut patterns. It goes over the assembly steps, has some tips about sewing heavy materials. The drawings cover all the main pieces, but there are a couple of straps and dividers that really depend on how you want to use it. It is a like a recipe that says 'season to taste'.


The big tool is the vintage Singer walking foot sewing machine. It does one thing: sew forward in a straight line. It does it really well. Listed tools are what I used, this project can definitely be done with way less toolage.

  • Straight edges: Starrett inch-metric rule from a combination square, stainless rule, steel yardsick
  • Marking: 9mm mechanical pencil (seriously- get a 9mm), Starrett dividers, HF dividers
  • Cutting: Swann-Morton scalpel, Fiskars forged embroidery scissors, Fiskars forged 12" scissors
  • Finishing: lambswool applicators, 1" HF chip brush, clean rags


  • Fiebing mahogany dye
  • Fiebing acrylic resoline
  • Button post studs
  • Rivets
  • Chicago screws
  • Steel ring

Step 1: Cut It Out

These drawings are designed to be printed as patterns. To get the right size in Inkscape create a document that uses units of millimeters, and set the drawing size to 609mm x 312mm. Open the photo and crop to the edges of the piece of plywood shown. Scale your cropped drawing and it should fit right into the 609mm x 312mm workspace. Now you can print it, or take measurements as needed.

If scaling drawings isn't your thing, there is also a measured drawing of the main pieces. The little tabs and belts aren't showing. My recommendation would be to build this without the belts, put whatever you plan to carry in the pouch, then size the belts to fit your application.

The main box is thick leather, I don't recall what weight. I sketched the drawing in pencil, used a scalpel with a straightedge to start the cut, then finished off with sharp heavy duty scissors.

Step 2: Sew the Front Pocket to the Middle Pocket

Mark out a consistent offset with the dividers, then sew both sides. The bottom edge wants to pooch up, so get a consistent bend on both sides, and sew from the middle to the edges. Snip a 45-degree cut on the corner to help take up the slack.

Put rivets in the corners. I forgot to do this, and it is a pain to set the rivets after the fact.

Step 3: Sew Both Pockets to the Main Box

Same procedure as the smaller pocket.

Again with the rivets, don't forget like I did.

Now is a good time to sew the strap for the metal ring on the back side, and sew any dividers for tools into the top part of the main box.

Step 4: Rivet the Box Together

If you make this out of canvas, the box can be turned inside out and sewn together. I like doing thing the hard way, so this is riveted.

To get a good crisp edge I wet the leather, then bent it in half in a big wood vise. You could do the same thing with a board and c-clamps, or just work the wet leather over the corner of your bench by hand.

Cut a piece of hardwood scrap to fit inside the box. Clamp the backing board in a vise, and fit the tabs from the main box under the sides. Drill or punch a hole for whatever rivets you decide to use.

This is easier with Chicago screws, you can drill without trying to use a leather punch supported deep inside the box. And you don't have to have a backing board for hammering rivets. But like I said, I do it the hard way so learn from my folly.

Step 5: Fit Straps to the Pouch

Load it up with tools, pull tight, and lightly mark where the straps and retainers belong. Trim any lopsided pieces. At this point the leather work is finished.

Step 6: Apply Finish

Inside and outside are dyed with a mahogany finish, I put a little black on the outside edges and rubbed it in to make it look old.

The exterior pieces have resoline applied, I leave it out of the inside.

To keep this thing from drying out, the interior and exterior are all generously coated with beeswax. At this point it is ready to use.

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    2 years ago

    Very nicely done. I recently got an industrial walking foot machine, and hope to make some things just like this. Thank you for sharing the details!


    Reply 2 years ago

    Mine spent most of its life in an upholstery shop in Denver, it still smells a little like cigarette smoke. I cut the big table in half and moved the legs to save space, and replaced the leather clutch AC motor with a very very slow servo motor. For my low experience level, the servo motor really got me up and running quickly.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Yeah, definitely servo motor is the way to go. I upgraded mine right off the bat too.