How To Make A Leather Bag - DIY Leather Tote Purse

Lisa Miller-Mecham
by Lisa Miller-Mecham

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Today I’m super excited to show you how to make a leather bag! This basic purse-making tutorial will walk you through how to make a fully-lined, structured tote in a short afternoon. This bag is the perfect every-day bag and is large enough to carry everything you need. I love how straight-forward the pattern is and how polished this leather tote looks when you’re done.

Hopefully you will like it too!

DIY Leather Tote Bag Supplies:

Black Faux Leather Fabric

Cheetah Animal Print Lining Fabric

Leather Purses Straps

Dressmaker Shears

Sewing Pins

How To Make A Leather Bag

Start out by pinning a 13″ x 16″ leather piece to a 5″ x 16″ strip along the long edge. Pin another 13″ x 16″ piece to the other side and a 5″ x 16″ to bring it all together in a rectangular shape. Sew in place so you have a rectangular leather tunnel.

Take the 5″ x 13″ rectangle and pin to the bottom of your rectangle.

Tip: Sew the longer sides first, then sew the two short edges to create a crisp, even bottom.

If you turn your bag right-side out now, the corners will buckle. To create a more professional-looking corner when your bag is complete, just trim the edges off of the corners from the inside so your bag looks like this:

Now when you flip the leather section of your bag right-side out, you should have a basic purse-shape that looks something like this:

Repeat the same sewing process with your cheetah lining fabric- or any other lining you choose. Trim the corners as well but don’t flip the lining inside out since it will rest inside your leather piece.

Before you sew the lining to the leather, let’s attach the handle! You could make a purse handle yourself, but to keep this project as simple as possible, I bought some pre-made purse handles.

Loop the 1 1/2″ sections through the metal hoops of your purse handles and pin into place on the front of your purse. I pinned each of my handles about 2″ in from the side seam.

Sewing through several layers of faux leather can be difficult, but putting a piece of tissue paper over it will make the process much easier and be easier on your sewing machine. Don;t stress about not being able to see since the tissue paper is so thin it is easy to see and feel the edge of your purse handle as you’re sewing along. Make a square around the perimeter of your purse handle base and a line diagonally across to make it extra tough.

When you are done sewing, the tissue paper rips off easily without affecting the stitches at all.

Believe it or not, you are almost done learning how to make a leather bag. Let the handles of your bag hang down at the sides and tuck your leather exterior piece inside the lining- right sides together. Pin and sew around the exterior of your bag, leaving a 4″ section to flip everything right side out.

Once you have your bag flipped right side out, it should look nearly complete! Top-stitch around the top edge of your bag to hold the lining in place and create a finished edge. I chose to create a decorative trim with my lining by not folding my leather inseam in and sewing the lining around the top instead. It created a perfect, 1/2″ trim that gives the handmade tote a little more character and personality, don’t you think?

I love how this bag turned out! It’s quick and easy but looks luxurious- which also makes it a great gift the upcoming holiday!

The size is just right to carry everything I’ll need in a day and has a flexible, roomy interior.

I’d love to hear what you thought of this project and how you made it your own! If you have any questions while you are making this (or any project here on Creative Fashion Blog) please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below!

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How to clean leather

Want some hot tips for cleaning leather? Check out this tutorial on How to Clean a White Leather Purse!

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Lisa Miller-Mecham
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Join the conversation
  • Leida R Leida R on Feb 07, 2022

    Nice! thanks for the share. Cheers!

  • Tammy Tammy on Feb 21, 2022

    I love this leather purse tutorial. It was so easy. Thank you so much. Now I know what to make for some of the nieces in my family for Christmas this year.