Clutch bag, great introduction to leather

Clutch bag, great introduction to leather
Simple leather clutch page

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:


The stitcher. A magnet for foolery & prankster at heart. Loves being creative, whether with some wood and a saw or with a needle and thread. Attempts to disguise his past time activities as manly pursuits, but is actually pretty handy at sewing!


  1. Sarah 4 years ago

    Very nice clutch bag Matt. I too would like to know where you got your leather. I’d like to make leather bags.

    • Author
      Matt 4 years ago

      Glad you like it, it’s a great project to learn how to work with leather. I have always done well on ebay when looking for leather. Happy bag making!! Would love to see how you get on with your bags?

      • Sarah 4 years ago

        Thanks for that, I’ll take a look. And congratulations on your GBSB win. That was a surprise! I hope you keep us updated on your sewing projects as you said you’d have a go at anything now…

        • Author
          Matt 4 years ago

          Yay, I’m so chuffed you enjoyed it. It was certainly a surprise to me too!!
          I’ll be sure to keep the blog content fresh. I’m contemplating a jacket for me.

  2. Donna 4 years ago

    Hi Matt, where did you get your leather from? And congratulations on making the final of the Sewing Bee :)

    • Author
      Matt 4 years ago

      Thanks Donna…Can’t wait until Thursday! It can be tricky to find leather as many suppliers deal direct with trade. I have always done quite well on ebay. Happy shopping! Let me know what you make?

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