Boxwood Avenue

DIY Leather Tote

DIYChloe | Boxwood Ave.17 Comments
DIY Leather Tote with Tassel | Boxwood Avenue

I've been wanting a great leather tote for awhile now, but I also want it to be monogrammed.  I'm totally ready to drop some dough on a monogrammed leather tote,  but there's one little problem in that plan... My monogram is going to change in less than five months.  So spending even $200 on a tote, really isn't justifiable right now.   I'm a girl stuck between a rock and a hard place (that's how that saying goes right?).  

To solve my problem, I came up with this quick tutorial (it took me about an hour of work time).  I love that this bag was very inexpensive, so I don't feel bad stuffing it full or placing it on the ground.  I plan on making a darker version too!

(PS: Next time I will make my straps a bit thinner, which I think makes the bag look a bit more high end.)

DIY Leather Tote with Tassel | Boxwood Avenue

Leather Tote

  • 1 yard of leather fabric (or faux leather)
  • sewing machine
  • fabric/leather glue
  • leather needles for your sewing machine (don't skip this!!)
  • marking pen 
  • ruler
  • exacto blade (or if you're cooler than me and know how to properly use a rotary cutter...)
  • painters tape

**I bought my leather from a local fabric store, I am pretty sure I used faux leather since it was only about $12/yard.  Here are some other fabrics I found from the web that I think will work for this project: very similar, beautifully distressed, pink!, and real.**

Tassel 

  • gold or sliver chain & jump clasp
  • 1 'pocket' piece from pattern
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • marking pen
  • leather glue
DIY Leather Tote Pattern | Boxwood Avenue copy.jpg

Step 1: Tape four pieces of printer paper together to form a large rectangle.  This will be your pattern.  Place the edge of your pattern on the fold of your fabric and outline with a marking pen. Cut two 3"x3" squares on each of the corners on the fold.  This is what will create the bottom of the bag. 

Step 2: Use an exacto blade, or scissors if you're brave, to cut the outlined piece. This is your bag. 

Step 3: I used painter's tape to mark the straps, I simply cut along the edge of the painter's tape which made for perfectly straight edges.  Cut two straps on the fold so that you really end up with four strap pieces. 

Step 4: Since the leather is pretty slippery, use leather glue to glue each strap together.  For one full strap, you will use two pieces from what you've cut.  Glue the wrong sides together, then sew along the edges.  I used a pretty large margin, and then used scissors to trim the straps after I sewed them.  

DIY Leather Tote | Boxwood Avenue
DIY Leather Tote | Boxwood Avenue

Step 6: Take your 'bag' piece and fold it so that the right sides are together.  Pin each side of the bag, and stitch.  I used a 5/8" margin, because I liked the look of having a visible seem.  

Step 7: Pinch together the bottom of the bag (where you cut the little square out of).  Pin so that the two edges are perfectly aligned (it should resemble a triangle).  If you're confused about this step this is a great tutorial on it.  I found that I needed to cut a little bit larger of a square to get the size bottom I was going for, before you sew, make sure you like the size! Once you're happy with the size, straight stitch along the edge. 

DIY Leather Tote | Boxwood Avenue
DIY Leather Tote | Boxwood Avenue

Step 8: Add your straps.  The placement is going to be up to you, try pinning first, and making sure you like the placement.  Once you've decided on a great place, use your machine to sew them on.  I like to backstitch like a mad man on this step so that my straps will hold up to a large load.  I placed my straps on the inside of the bag and straight stitched on either side of the strap, you can't really see my stitching from the photos, but I had 8, 1 inch long straight stitches in total. 

Step 9: If you'd like to add a pocket to the inside, take one of your 'pocket' pieces (save the other for the tassel).  On the wrong side of the fabric glue little strips of scrap leather along the edges and one up the center.  

Step 10: Once that glue is dry, add glue along the edges (on top of the pieces you just glued down), and glue into place inside your bag. 

DIY Leather Tote | Boxwood Avenue
DIY Leather Tote | Boxwood Avenue

Alright, now your bag almost finished!  In fact, you could stop here, but if you want to add the tassel...here ya go!

Tassel 

step 1: Using your other 'pocket' piece and a ruler, mark vertical lines every 1/8 inch.  The thinner the lines, the better your tassel is going to look! 

Step 2: Cut along the lines, leaving about an inch margin at the top. 

Step 3: Use a little scrap piece of fabric to form a small loop and glue it to the top left hand corner. 

Step 4: Apply fabric glue along the inch margin, and tightly roll up your tassel! Hold into place until the glue dries. 

DIY Leather Tote | Boxwood Avenue

Step 5: Use a bit of beading chair and a jump clasp, and secure the tassel to the tote. 

DIY Leather Tote | Boxwood Avenue

Fewf!  I know this was a looooong tutorial, but well worth it right!?  Will you be buying a Mansur tomorrow?  Or is that not your style?  I'm hoping to snag one of the bucket bags, but if I don't, I am loving this Chloe cross-body bag!  

This weekend, I am off to Nashville for one of my best friend's weddings!  I finished this bag in perfect time for airport travel, I can stick everything I need to get me through the flight, mini liquor bottles, oops, I mean fuzzy socks and a good book.  If you have any questions, or if you give this tutorial a shot, tag me in a finished photo!  I'm on instagram, twitter, and Facebook!

DIY Leather Tote with Tassel | Boxwood Avenue
DIY Leather Tote with Tassel | Boxwood Avenue

When I was forming my tutorial, I found this and this post helpful!


I've got more sewing tutorials in the works!  Don't miss out!