Briefcase With a 3 Piece Gusset




This bag is different in many ways form the briefcases I normally make. First of all it has a 3 piece gusset which is something I have never done before. Also it is made from undyed leather which is actually very different to work with compared to dyed leather. This came as quite a surprise as I was not excepting any major differences. The undyed leather gets marks and scratches much easier. Also when bending it around a buckle it is not necessary to wet it to prevent it from cracking.

This bag is very heavily inspired by Boles single minister briefcase:

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Step 1: Pattern

If you decide to use this pattern remember to double check the dimensions and change them to your needs. Also take into consideration that this pattern (like most of my patterns) is not perfected in any way as I only have made one of these so far.

Things to be aware of is the spacing of the holes for the handle in the metal strip. I made them 18 cm apart but it really depends on the width of your handle and the billets.

Regarding the billets I might make them a tad smaller next time. Also if you do not want the extra d-ring for the shoulder strap the strip on the billet should be shorter. This again will change how the holes in the metal strip should be placed.

For the gusset I made the channels for the bends 1,1 cm from the edge. You might want to take this down a bit to maybe 1,0 or 0,9 cm instead. Adjust the pattern accordingly.

Step 2: Handle

The handle is more or less the one from Al Stohlmans "The Art of Making Leather Cases, Vol. 2". I made it a bit shorter and the filler is also like 1 mm less in thickness.

This handle is very comfortable and is really easy to make. I did however screw up the first handle I made because I trimmed it too close to the stitching.

Step 3: The 3 Piece Gusset

I have never made a gusset like this before so some experimentation was needed to determine the best way to do it. You see that the stitching is on the bottom and not on the side of the gusset as most people tend to do. I prefer having it on the bottom as it gives the side a more sleek look.

I bought a small utility knife which was able to fix the blade in any position you want. (most utility knifes dont have this option) The cut needs to be deep enough for you to be able to bend the sides on the gusset pretty easy. Find the correct depth on scrap pieces of leather!

Hold the ruler in place and make several small cuts gradually going to full depth. Note that the cut should stop around 1,5 cm from the top edge! I forgot this on the first side which was a shame. It looks much nicer that you are not able to see the cut.

The bottom of the gusset side is another story. Now you need to "close" the cut so if you dont remove material you wont be able to make a nice bend. First I used the stitching groover to cut a channel as deep as it would go.I then used a v groover to further remove material from the sides of the cut.

Step 4: Front

The front piece is very similar to the front piece in this instructable (step 11) . The biggest difference is that a pocket is added on the back side.

Step 5: Back

As always I cut the back piece to long. When making a new design it is hard to determine the exact dimensions so having a bit extra you can cut off is a really good idea.

As you can see here the back piece is a bit too long.

Step 6: Shoulder Strap

The shoulder pad for the strap has a slightly different design that what I have done before. The strap will run in between the two layers of leather in its entire length. The thick piece of leather is cut to size and the thin piece is cut a bit oversize. The two pieces are glued together along the side.

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    12 Discussions


    6 months ago

    Very nice Instructable. The detailed photos really help explain what you are doing. The bag itself and your leatherwork is also fantastic. Voted.

    1 reply

    5 months ago

    That handle turned out so well! Your photos made it seem attainable. Beautiful work!

    1 reply

    Reply 5 months ago

    Thank you. I also really like that handle +its very comfortable.


    5 months ago

    Inspiring and nice! I love this.


    6 months ago

    Very is a master piece!


    6 months ago

    Professional worker in leather.... Clear instructables and photos are really superb.. Impressive one ..


    6 months ago

    Amazing, your work is really inspiring me to get into leather work!


    6 months ago

    Your bags and tutorials are always amazing! I made a two-piece gusset bag last year, based on your pattern and blog instructions and all I can say is that you make what seems complicated quite simple! So, you have my vote on this contest! :)


    6 months ago

    This is a stellar instructable. Top marks for thorough documentation and fantastic high quality images!! Well done :D

    Penolopy Bulnick

    6 months ago

    This is really impressive! I can't beleive all that goes into each of the individual parts :)