Our Rustic Leather Laptop Bag is a simple project with a gorgeous design. We’ll cut our exterior leather, punch in a design with an oblong and belt punch, and line with a rich purple suede. Adding a laced edge and belt blank completes this simple but useful design with a rustic look and feel.
Approximate Time to Complete: 4 hours (minus drying time)
What You Need:
Matte Chrome Tanned Water Buffalo Side, Bark Brown, 5/6 oz. (09-1016S-BR) or another exterior leather
Suede Chap Split, Purple, 3/4 oz. (10-1115SP-PU) or another liner/interior leather
Plastic Pattern Sheet (65-4110)
Steel Square, 12" x 8" (3608)
4' Straight Edge (65-3033)
Master Tools Round Knife, 4-7/8" (00068)
#4 Heavy-Duty Scratch Awl, 3-1/2" (CSO4-2)
Utility Knife (65-2860)
Master Tools Oblong Punch, 1/2" (00072-1/2)
Master Tools Oblong Punch, 1-1/2" (00072-11/2)
Master Tools Belt Punch, 3/16" (00082-6)
English Point Strap End Punch, 3/4" (00078-3/4)
Maul, 24 oz. (65-2500-24)
S-18 All Purpose Cement, 8 oz. (50-2125-8)
Revolving Punch (CSO223)
#Z1573 Belt Buckle, Antique Silver, 1-1/2" (Z1573-AS-11/2)
#D5038 Chicago Screws Nickel Over Brass, Plain, 1/4" (D5038-P-NB-1/4)
Crazy Horse Water Buffalo with Snap Holes and Black Edge Paint, 1-1/2" Wide (40-0113-B5)
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Step 1: Step 1: Mark and Cut the Pattern
Using a steel square and straight edge, mark a plastic pattern sheet 17" x 39" for the exterior leather's main body, and cut it out with a knife or scissors.
Step 2: Step 2: Mark Your Fold and Panel Lines
- Mark a line across the width of the pattern 9" from one end. This end of the pattern will be the flap, so if you are adding a natural edge or any beautiful edge cut/design, notate/add that on this portion of the pattern.
- Working away from the flap, mark a second line across the width of the pattern 3" from the first line.
- Mark a third line across the width of the pattern 12" from the last line. This will be the back panel.
- Mark a fourth line across the width of the pattern 3" from the last line. This will be the bottom of the pouch.
- Mark a fifth line across the width of the pattern 12" from the last line. This will be the front side of the pouch. These will be the fold lines for the pouch.
Step 3: Step 3: Mark and Cut Your Gusset
- Using the Straight Edge, mark and cut the gusset pattern at 4 ½" x 12 ¾" (actual size of the gusset is 3" x 12" but we’re adding ¾" to three sides of the gusset to create our lace tabs). Notch two corners on either 3" end of the pattern at ¾" in from the side and bottom. Three of the four edges are now tabs for lacing and the 3" end will be the bottom of the gusset.
- Using the Steel Square, draw a line 3/8" in from the edge of the pattern on the two side tabs and bottom tab of the gusset. This line will be for marking our lace holes.
- On the bottom gusset lace hole line, find the center and mark. Make another mark ½" on both sides of the center mark and then a second mark ½" from those points. This should give you five centered and evenly spaced holes on the gusset tab.
- To mark the side tabs for lacing, start at the top and make a mark on the lace hole line ½" from the top of the gusset (no notches). Make consecutive marks ½" apart down the gusset to the bottom of the tab.
- To mark the gusset for the strap holes, make a mark centered on the gusset 2" from the top and then a second mark 2" below that.
Step 4: Step 4: Mark the Lace Holes on Your Main Body
- To mark the main body pattern for lace holes, draw a line at 3/8" from the edge on both 39" sides starting on the end away from the flap. Extend these lines 27" from the edge towards the flap. These lines should extend from the edge through the 12" front pouch panel, the 3" gusset and the 12" back panel and no further.
- Lay the 12" side of the gusset next to the first 12" section away from the flap and mark coinciding holes from the gusset pattern to the main body pattern. Lay the bottom of the gusset between the bottom fold lines (3" section) and mark coinciding holes. Repeat for the back flap (next 12" section). Repeat for the other side of the main body pattern. There should be no lace hole lines or marks on the 9" flap section or the 3" top fold section.
Step 5: Step 5: Cut the Main Body and Gusset
- Lay the main body pattern on the exterior leather. Mark the main body with your Scratch Awl, and cut it with a Round Knife. If you want a natural edge, put the flap portion of the pattern over the edge of the hide that has a good looking edge and mark from there. Just make sure you don’t cut the flap too short.
- Lay the gusset pattern on the exterior leather. Mark the pattern onto your leather with your Scratch Awl, and cut out the two gussets with a Round Knife; use a Utility Knife to cut out the small corners of the gussets.
- Mark the lace holes on both the main body and gussets with a Scratch Awl.If you’re laying in a design on the flap, mark, and punch, or cut, the design now so the liner will show through.
Step 6: Step 6: Glue the Liner to the Main Body and the Panels to the Gussets
- Lay the main body pattern on your choice of lining leather, and, using a Scratch Awl, mark a line ½" to ¾" outside of the pattern on all sides (overcutting the lining leather). Exception: If you’re using a natural edge on the flap, you’ll need to cut the lining leather to match the edge or, if the natural edge is too tough to match, cut the lining leather so it stops short of the natural edge.
- Repeat for both gussets.
- To glue the lining leather to the exterior leather, use a contact cement — such as S-18 All Purpose Cement — and add two coats to both the exterior leather and the lining leather for the main body and gussets and let dry for 10 minutes. For the exterior leather, add glue right to the edge. For the lining leather, add glue to the line that’s been marked ½" to ¾" outside of the pattern size. IMPORTANT: Mark your design in the lining leather so you don’t put glue on an area that will show through.
- Using a Straight Edge, trim the excess lining leather to match the exterior leather for the main body and gussets.
- Using the pattern, mark and punch the lace holes on the main body and both gussets using your Revolving Punch. Punch the two center line holes on each gusset where the strap will connect.
- If you’re going to use pre-cut lace, use 3/16" lace at 38" give or take (depending on whether you a clean knot or you would like the lace to hang past the knot). NOTE: If you want to cut your lace from the exterior leather, you will have a perfect match; however, if you cut your lace from the lining leather you can really add some color to the overall look of the pouch.
- Cut one piece of lace in half and lace the bottom tabs of the gussets to the main body between the bottom fold lines. There are multiple ways to lace but a simple “Running” lace works nicely.
- Working on one corner of the pouch at a time, lace the front panel and the back panel to the gussets on both sides of the pouch.
Step 7: Step 7: Make the Strap
- For the strap, take a Belt Blank or 1 ½" strap and cut one piece at 22" and the second 48". Using your Belt Punch and a Maul, punch two 3/16" holes on one end of both straps, both on the center line and the first at ¾" from the end and the second hole 2" inside of that. These will match the holes on the center line of the gussets.
- On the other end of the 22" strap, use your Belt Punch and a Maul to punch two holes on the center line: The first at ¾" from the end of the strap and the second 2" from that. Punch an oblong hole centered between these two holes using a 1-1/2" Oblong Punch. One rivet or screw hole is enough if you’re using a center bar buckle. If you want to use a heel bar, then increase the length to accommodate two additional holes and a keeper.
- For the 48" strap, come in from the opposite end of the two punched holes and, on the center line, mark and punch five consecutive holes at 1 ½" each. You can add an English point with your English Point Strap End Punch or, to match the rustic feel of the pouch, leave a natural edge on the end of the strap.
- Secure a buckle to the 22" strap with rivets or Chicago Screws (if you’re using Chicago Screws, add a dab of glue to the screws to keep them from working out over time). Use a Flathead Screwdriver to secure your Chicago Screws.
Step 8: Step 8: Attach the Strap to the Gussets
To secure the straps to the pouch, keep in mind which shoulder you prefer to wear the pouch. If you prefer the left then set the pouch in front of you with the flap facing away (looking at the back). You will need to put the strap with the buckle on the right side gusset so the buckle is in the front when worn.