Introduction: Scrap Leather Power Tool Holster
Here's a way to use scrap leather pieces covered with fabric to make functional tool holsters for your tool belt.
If you have been up a ladder trying to reach up higher than you should to sink a screw, you know that 1: Don't let go of your expensive drill/driver or else it will take a possibly fatal nosedive 10 feet below and 2: You had better use both hands on the ladder while coming down the shaky ladder propped too close to the wall. Thus the necessity of having a power tool holster to secure your gear when not in use.
Matched hides are hard to come by but there are always leather scraps for sale in the bargain bin. While these may not be top quality, they will be more than adequate for our utilitarian use. They may be smaller remnants and cutoffs but we can piece them together to make enough material for our design. Joined to a fabric outer layer reinforces the leather piecework and gives it a uniform look.
Make a custom fit tool holster that fits like a,... well, glove...
Step 1: Paperwork to Get Started...
Bit by bit, you need...
Scrap paper to design the pattern to custom fit your tool
Scrap pieces of leather, enough to fit the pattern you made
Fabric for the covering. Pick a sturdy canvas like material that will wear well as a tool holster
Sewing machine. You can hand sew this but punching through thin leather/suede/bonded fabric may be tedious.
I also have a serger. It makes quick work of binding, stitching and trimming over the seam for a finished look.
Sharp scissors or utility knife to cut the leather
CAUTION: Sewing involves sharp instruments. Try not to cut or poke yourself.
Note that you should know the limitations of your machine. Go slow and hand crank through the tougher parts of leather or where there may be several layers of leather like on the edges. I bent two sewing machine needles in the process and luckily I had a pack of spare sewing machine needles.
I can just picture it...
Each tool is different. The weight of the motor or battery pack will want to make it pop out of any holster.
Figure out how your tool will hang from your tool belt.
Since my drill/driver it top heavy, I need to have it rest at an angle in the holster to be steady. Other types might work fine going in straight up and down.
Wrap pieces of paper around your power tool.
Mark off where you need to have the belt loop and if the case needs some kind of gusset or piece to keep it open or to cover the tool.
You can tape up pieces to fit your tool and then cut apart to flatten for a cutting pattern or template.
I had three major pieces, the body wrap, the tool belt loop, and the small top retainer spreader piece.
Step 2: You Can Fix Anything...
I had a few irregular shaped pieces of scrap leather that I found on sale in the fabric store bargain bin.
There was a rough suede side and an even rougher suede side on the other. This is not the real top quality suede leather but most likely a split leather by product. Pick the best side for your finished or exposed side. By the way, "bonded leather" is the pink slime equivalent of processed leather.
One piece that mostly fit my pattern had this cutout hole in it.
We can patch it by tracing the outline of the hole onto a piece of leather for repair. A repair patch in matching leather will make the patch almost invisible if we use a matching color thread too.
Cut out that "plug" or as woodworkers would call it a "dutchman." No, I don't know why it is named that.
On my sewing machine, there was this overlapping XX kind of quilting stitch which would be good to bridge and join the leather pieces together.
Keep the edges together as you sew and patch away.
You can also cut small pieces of leather that you will join at a seam to make a bigger piece. I had to do that with my belt loop piece.
Step 3: It's All Piecemeal...
Start laying out your pattern on the leather pieces. If the leather pieces are not big enough, join smaller pieces together.
Make any repairs as necessary to get a whole piece of leather the size of the pattern piece.
You can then use the cut leather pieces to cut out matching pieces of fabric covering.
Test fit as you go.
Since we want a finished look, we will be joining the fabric covering with the leather just as we would in making a pillow case.
Take your fabric piece and corresponding leather piece.
You might want to sew on an additional exterior pocket or embed a magnetic plate in the spreader piece so it can hold the spare bit when you need to change it out or keep a couple of screws handy.
The good sides should both face inside toward each other.
You can then seam around the outside, leaving an opening to turn the sewn piece inside out.
I used a serger to go around my pieces.
You might need a dowel, pencil, chopstick, something to push everything inside out if it bunches up or there is nothing to grab. Push out and work the seams so they are completely turned out.
Step 4: Polish the Edges...
I closed off the access opening on each piece by tucking the edges inside and sewing with just a straight stitch.
I had thought about embedding in the body wrap a piece of sheet plastic salvaged from packaging being recycled. It would have gave some form to the holster. You could also add in an extra layer of fabric or maybe foam padding if desired.
I then made a wide zigzag stitch along the border. This serves to reinforce the edge of each piece and gives it some stiffness so the holster stays open to receive the tool.
Test fit the belt loop so it fits on the tool belt.
Tack sew in position with a zigzag stitch.
Sew on the top spreader piece by tack sewing on both sides.
Since the piece is now folded in half, match up the open side and sew a seam.
You can also bar tack at the end of each seam for extra reinforcement or use decorative rivets like those found on denim jeans.
Test fit the tool in the holster and see if you need to make any adjustments like making the opening smaller or snug up the top spreader patch.
Now put it to good use.
Make a holster for anything that needs holstering...