Introduction: Leather Watch Roll

About: Background in chemical engineering with an interest/hobby in electronics, coding, 3D printing, crafting, woodworking.

I am a huge fan of wrist watches and enjoy collecting unique timepieces. When I travel, I like to bring along a few different watches depending on the occasion but I never had a great way to transport them. I considered buying a travel case or a watch roll from a few different online companies but they always seemed overpriced (especially when I can spend that money on another watch...haha). Additionally, they didn't look very complicated to make and I have never tried leather working so I decided this was a perfect opportunity learn a new skill and make my own watch roll!

My goals for this project were:

  1. Learn the basics of leather working
  2. Be able to hold at least 4 watches
  3. Provide adequate protection against bumps/scratches


Because I've never worked with leather before I went to my local shop to discuss my idea and get some tips. The employees were extremely helpful and advised me to pick a thinner workable leather. The piece that I chose was also on sale so feel free to use any color/type for your project. They also helped me choose the right stitching needles and thread for this project which are listed below.

Step 1: Designing the Template

I will briefly describe my design process for determining the dimensions of the watch roll below. For those that want to get right to it, I've uploaded the template pdf that can be printed to scale and cut out for use as a guide. I've also included the dimensions (in mm) for reference.

I knew that I wanted to fit 4 watches so I started by getting some dimensions using the biggest watch that I had. I used those measurements as the basis for the rest of the project. I started with the templates for the leather then I moved on to the fabric.

I needed to make sure the pocket piece was long enough to fit around each watch. I decided to make each pocket the same size but this can easily be adjusted in your own project. I measured the length of material it took to wrap around my biggest watch and multiplied that by 4 to get the total length. The width of the pockets needed to cover face of the watch and most of the strap. I again measured my watch with the band folded to determine the width of material.

I then measured the width of the watch and multiplied that by 4 to get the width of the watch roll. I decided to make the entire cutout a square so I used that same dimension for the height. I added a 1 cm border around to be able to stitch in the fabric lining.

The lining is the same size as the inner dimensions of the leather roll.

Lastly, I added the flap to fill in space above the pockets and to cover up the exposed straps. I designed this piece to be cut out and folded in half. This way, only two sides would be sewn and the top would be stitched into the top of the leather.

I cut all of the pieces out in their respective materials using the dimensions from the attached template.

Step 2: Stitching

I watched a few videos to learn basic leather stitching techniques and utilized the single thread technique for the entire project. I also decided not to not get a punch because my leather was fairly thin but I still wanted consistent stitches. I used a fork as I worked around to make indentations as a guide for my stitching. Lastly, I used a glue stick on the folded over edges to keep them in place temporarily before I stitched everything together permanently. I will go over my step by step process below:

Stitch the flap. I wanted to warm up my sewing with a regular needle and thread. After the flap was cut out, I folded it in half with the "leather" sides together. I sewed both edges on either side together to make a sort of pocket. Next, I used the open side to flip the entire flap inside out to expose the "leather" sides. This part is complete until we sew it into the watch roll.

Stitch the pocket piece. I wanted to start easy and get the technique down before I moved on to the more complicated steps. I took the pocket piece of leather and folded it as indicated by my template. I used a glue stick to hold the folded edge down. Then I took the fork to make indentations along the center of the folded edge. Finally I used the waxed thread and needle to sew the leather as described in the video above. See the picture above. It was surprisingly easy and the guidemarks from the fork helped a lot.

Make the pockets. Next I stitched the pocket piece to the inner lining. I marked out 3 even lines on the back side of the fabric lining to guide where I wanted to make the pockets. Next, I marked out 3 even lines (about 9cm apart) on the pocket piece. The goal was to line up both markings and stitch the pieces together. This was a little tricky to keep everything lined up but if you do one pocket at a time it is manageable. I started stitching from the bottom and sewed about 9cm up which left about 1.5cm at the top.

Sew the pockets and lining to the leather role. I placed the pockets and lining into the square cut out of leather and folded over the bottom edge as indicated by the template. I followed the same gluing and stitching technique to sew the pieces together. This was the hardest part because you have to push the needle through multiple layers. I repeated this process and folded over the left and right edges and stitched them into place. You should now have 3 sides of the watch roll stitched with the top edge left.

Sew in the flap. I lined up the open edge of the flap with the top edge of the lining. I folded the top leather roll edge over both fabric pieces and stitched everything together.

With all of the stitching complete, you're almost finished!

Step 3: Adding the Accessories

The next step was to add a way to keep the watch roll closed once it was rolled up. I decided to add a thin leather cord long enough to wrap around a few times. I added a small grommet in the side of the watch roll because I had a small grommet kit laying around but a cord or any tie could easily be stitched into the side.

I also decided to cut out a small pointed peg to attach at the other end of the cord. I drilled two small holes to feed the cord through and tie off. See the pictures above.

This was my approach to keep everything rolled together but there tons of unique ways you can go about this and feel free to do whatever works best for your project.

Step 4: Finished!

You now have your own custom watch roll! This project was a lot of fun and I learned a lot. This roll can easily hold 4 watches but I often like to carry a spring bar tool and an extra strap in the last pocket. I hope you enjoyed this project and it inspires you to make your own! Happy making!

Leather Challenge

Participated in the
Leather Challenge