Leather tote bag

The daughter of a good friend of mine had this absolutely lovely hide that she wanted made into a basic leather tote. Using the information she gave me and referencing an inspiration photo that she had, I put together this tote:

The size of the hide was approx. 44" X 33", and had the usual holes to work around. 
The finished bag size is 14" wide at the opening, 17" wide at the bottom, 
15" tall, with 25" handles.

The photo below shows just how supple and beautiful this piece of leather is.
Due to the lovely suede finish, I elected not to sew in a lining.

At the American Stitches Sewing Expo in Novi, MI in 2010, I took a class with Kenneth King about sewing with leather. It was fun to revisit that information, and use it to make this tote.
Although I don't (yet!) have a Teflon foot, my sewing machine was able to sew the leather without any problems. I did use a longer stitch length (set at 4 on my Bernina), and a size 80 needle with polyester thread.
The 4 thicknesses of the handles didn't want to sew too easily tho, until I remembered to place them on tissue paper first and then the lower feed dogs handled them well.

Note the overlapped side seams below:

I had a just enough of the leather left to make a small coin purse/cosmetic case, which has a finished size of 6" wide X 5" tall.

As you can see, I used just about every possible inch!


  1. Great shape and I really like the unlined nature of it.

  2. Nice details on the tote. How wonderful to have taken a class from Kenneth King! I've been eyeing that Expo in Novi for a while now . . .

  3. Very nice. Someone is going to look very chic carrying that bag. It's large enough to carry some knitting, even!

  4. Very impressive. I like!

  5. Wow! Great bag! Isn't Kenneth Kind a hoot? I loved the class that I had with him, and learned so much.

  6. Patty! You made a great bag! And you sewed using leather! I just can't imagine my machine getting through that! It's gorgeous, Well Done!


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