Written by Vivian of Vivian Eileen and Suz and Viv.
If you’re anything like me you can never have enough bags (or totes, purses, clutches, pouches…). They’re probably one of my favorite things to sew because they usually don’t take much time or fabric. Today I have a tutorial for a leather bottom tote. I love how customizable this project is! I used chevron fabric for the top and pleather on the bottom (and fun floral interior!) but really any combination of fabrics can be used.
Leather Bottom Tote Tutorial//
First cut your materials:
Exterior fabric: two 10.5″ by 19.5″pieces, and two 2″ by 3″pieces (not pictured)
Pleather: two 8.5″ by 19″ pieces
Lining fabric: two 18″ by 19″ pieces
*included in the photo below are two long strips of pleather for the bag handles. I ended up going a different rout for the straps, so ignore those.
If you’re new to sewing with leather, check out this starter post!
two 28″ pieces of cotton webbing, 1-1.5″ wide
1. Place pleather and exterior fabric right sides together. Sew together using a half inch seam allowance.
2. Top stitch along both sides of the exterior fabric/pleather seam. Repeat with other exterior pieces.
Making the end tabs for the zipper:
3. Fold the ends of the 2″ by 3″ exterior piece of fabric width wise toward the center and press. Repeat for other end tab.
4. Sandwich the fabric tab around the zipper, making sure to cover the metal pieces of the zipper.
5. Topstitch across the zipper tab with a very small seam allowance. Repeat for the other end of the zipper.
Assembling the tote
6. Place the exterior fabric right side up, then the zipper teeth side down, and lining fabric right side down.
7. Pin and sew together using zipper foot.
8. Flip fabric so wrong sides are together.
9. Repeat steps 6 and 7 with the second exterior and interior pieces of fabric.
10. Turn fabric so on each side of the zipper wrong sides of interior and exterior pieces are together. Top stitch along both sides of the zipper with a very small seam allowance. Make sure to leave the zipper partially open for when you turn the tote right side out later.
11. Turn fabric so right sides of exterior pieces are together and right sides of interior pieces are together.
12. Sew all the way around, leaving a 3-4″ opening in the bottom of the lining pieces for turning.
13. To create the flat bottom of the tote the corners need to be squared off. Grab one of the bottom corners and pull the front fabric away from the back fabric and flatten it creating a point. Feel with your fingers to make sure the bottom and side seams are matched up.
14. Measure about 2″ down from the point creating a triangle that is about 4″ across the bottom and mark with a fabric marker.
15. Sew across. This seam will be perpendicular to the side seams.
16. Trim off the excess fabric.
17. Repeat for the other corner of the interior fabric and the two exterior fabric corners. Finished corners should look like this:
18. Turn fabric so the tote is right side out.
19. Pull out the lining fabric and pin the 3-4″ opening closed.
20. Top stitch across to close the opening that was left for turning the bag.
21. Tuck lining back into bag interior.
22. Measure 2″ in from side seam of tote and 1″ down from the zipper and mark
23. Measure 1″ down from the end of the cotton webbing
24. Fold strap piece at the 1″ mark.
25. Pin strap to bag where previous marks were made.
26. Sew strap to tote creating a square on the end of the strap and an X across the center. Repeat for the other end of the strap and the second strap piece on the other side of the tote.
All done! Enjoy your new bag!
Awesome bag!! I’ve got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for this evening that links to your tutorial: http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-leather-bottom-tote/2014/03/18/
Totally making one of these this weekend!!!! I have a big scrap of leather that’s calling my name. Thanks for the detailed tutorial!
This is so so adorable! Thank you for this tutorial! Going to have to make one soon~!
LOOOVE this bag! Great tutorial… I may try this!
Oh my gosh Kate! I love this bag :) I’ll be needing a new diaper bag in the very near future and, if I add a few interior pockets to this, it will be perfect! Thanks for the tutorial :D
I love this bag! It looks store bought!
This looks brilliant and something that I am going to try – love the combination of the leather look and the large chevron print.
The pattern says to cut the exterior fabric 19.5″ wide and the pleather 19″ wide. Is that a mistake or is that intentional?
Awesome tutorial! Love the use of the floral Witt the monochrome zig zag and leather. Great size and shape too. Beautiful aesthetics – thanks for sharing
I made one this afternoon and it came together so quickly! I did black and crème chevron with black webbing and a brown pleather like yours and matched the zipper to the pleather, that way I can wear black or brown with it and not break any fashion rules! :) Thank you for the awesome bag!
What a wonderful tutorial and gorgeous bag! I was immediately inspired, pinned it, and got to work! I finished making my chevron bag and blogged about it here: http://allthisforthem.blogspot.com/2014/03/chevron-bag-with-faux-leather-accents.html
Thanks so much for a great post!