Beginners guide to leather with simple Clutch Bag pattern
Leather is daunting. I know that, and I have to admit I was fearful of stitching with it the first time around. But with the correct tools, it’s nothing to be scared of.
Hopefully I can help to pass on a few tips that I’ve picked up along the way, and give you some confidence to give it a go.
Firstly I’d say take your time and get it right. It’s one of the drawbacks of stitching leather that each and every hole is permanent. So the less mistakes the better.
In order to demonstrate some various tips, tools and techniques I’m going to be making a clutch bag for Gemma.
We all know I love the tools & hardware aspect of making stuff, so lets run through a few of the useful ones and their use.
Needle for leather – This has a blade on the tip rather than a point, and a larger scoop out of the back, so it slices through the leather rather than punctures it, and draws back through it without dragging
Metal roller – I actually got this from an online hardware store for about £6. It presses a seam really nicely, especially as you cant really iron leather!
Hammer – Good for areas of bulk like seams and corners, best used with a scrap of leather over the head to protect the garment
Bulldog clips – I prefer to use clips rather than pins as it doesn’t mark the leather, plus they’re easier to remove when stitching
Press fastener pliers – Poppers give a fantastic way to fasten leather, these pliers help to give a consistent finish
Walking foot – Leather tends to stick to a normal presser foot. Using a walking foot ensures that both layers of the leather are passed through evenly.This means the leather doesn’t creep when stitching. There are other options too like roller feet and teflon coated feet
Make a leather clutch bag:
You will need:
- 9″ zip or 12″ zip
- One piece of leather:
- If using a 9″ zip the leather should 9″ by 15″
- If using a 12″ zip the leather should be 12″ by 20″
- 2 x metal press fasteners
- Thread in matching colour
Additional helpful equipment:
- Raid the stationary cupboard for some very helpful bulldog clips
- Metal seam roller
- Hammer, for the press fasteners
- Pair of press fastener pliers
Making the bag:
Take the zip and place it facing down on the right side of the leather, matching along the short edge. (Zip 1)
Stitch along the zipper edge on a 5/8″ seam allowance. (Zip 2)
Match the other side of the zipper tape to the other end of the leather, straight stitch. (Zip 3)
So you should end up with something looking similar to the below image.
Placing the zip over to one side and laying the leather flat. I use those bulldog clips again to hold it in place.
I then stitch on a 5/8″ seam allowance from the top of the zipper tape and down to the fold. Note: make sure the zip is slightly open before stitching, otherwise it’s almost impossible to open it up afterwards….believe me!
Trimming the seams and clipping the corners, I then turn the bag through and use the metal roller to press the seams out fully.
The zip is biased to one side as i wanted it to be.
Adding the press fasteners:
The pliers definitely come into their own here. Follow the below steps to ensure a great finish.
Step No 1: Cut a hole in the leather using the cutting stud and hammer.
Step No 2: Pass the stem up through the hole.
Step No 3: Place the popper stud on top.
Step No 4: Using the pliers press the two together.
Now repeat for the other half of the fastener and it’s really is as simple as that.
Go on give it a go!
I’d love to see your finished clutch bags, please share images of your makes here or on: