First, let me just say that taking any sewing advice from me is not the greatest idea. I am not so good with the needle and thread. But ever since buying a 5-lb. bag of leather remnants, all I’ve wanted to do is sew a leather bag. And then another one, and another one. I made a wristlet last month, and then wanted something a little more challenging. This studded bag with fringe was definitely more challenging. The first time I tried sewing a bag like this, it was a disaster. (This is the bad experience mentioned in this post.) The second time around, I nailed it.
The method I used to do this is the same method used to make the wristlet linked above. Only this time, I got all fancified with studs and fringe. Adding all of that extra stuff meant this bag was more difficult to sew, and a lot more time consuming. Just a head’s up. This thing is a time-suck. Here’s the material list for this bad boy:
– 2 pieces of leather for the body of the bag (any size is fine, as long as you can find a zipper in a corresponding length. The pieces I used were 10 inches x 8.5 inches)
– Fabric for lining (I used a fat square)
– Leather cement/glue (optional, but helpful)
– Metal studs
– 1 D-ring
– 1 zipper (I used a 9 inch zipper)
– Extra pieces of leather for the fringe and design on front of bag

Misc – color matching thread, a heavy-duty needle for your sewing machine, an awl, leather sewing needles, binder clips, rotary cutter.

Okay. So the first thing is to cut out your leather pieces, and cut two pieces of fabric in the same size for the lining.
Next, I wanted to make a pattern on the front of the bag using strips of leather. Using extra pieces of leather, I used a rotary cutter to cut out 1/2 inch wide strips. I began laying them out in a pattern I liked.

 

I glued them down using leather cement. This stuff isn’t stinky, and is flexible. This is an optional step, but gluing everything in place makes sewing the strips down a lot simpler.

Because I am a doof, I forgot to take a picture of the pattern, so here’s a (bad) drawing.

There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to the pattern. Feel free to do whatever. Or to not do one at all.

Once the leather strips were dry, I sewed them in place, stitching in a straight line down each side of every strip to really secure them.

Next up, I busted out these things – studs and an awl thingy. (It’s not an awl. It’s some sort of pick thingy for automotive work. Or something. I stole it from my husband.)These are not the most heavy-duty studs. They will smush if you aren’t careful, so if I were to do this again, I would search out heavier studs.
The studs can’t pierce the leather on their own, so using the pick-thingy, I punched holes in the leather for each stud. I did the top two ‘V’ strips of leather.

Was this time consuming? Yes indeedy. Was it fun? No, it was not. You have to really enjoy the look of studded bags to want to bother with this.Now for the fringe. I cut a few extra pieces of leather into rectangles, and mapped out where I wanted the fringe. I chose to run it along the bottom ‘V.’ This picture shows 4 pieces, but in the end I added a 5th to fill in the gap at the bottom.

With a rotary cutter and a straight edge, I made fringe. Leaving 1.5 inches of space at the top of each piece (room to glue and sew), I cut the remainder into equal-sized strips.

Then I glued the fringe down. When the glue was dry, I ran a line of stitching along the top edge. (Note – your machine will start to hate you at this point, and may not be able to sew through everything. If that is the case, it will need to be sewn by hand.)

But that is the front of the bag, done. You can see in the picture below that the studs and fringe on one side are closer to the edge than the other. That was operator failure, and you should try to keep everything away from the edge for seam allowance.

Now it’s time to sew the lining on. I just sew the lining to the leather, wrong sides together, one straight line of stitching along every edge. This method will leave you with visible seams inside the bag, just FYI. On the piece of leather for the back of the bag, I added a pocket to the lining using a method similar to this tutorial from So Sew Easy. (Their finished product is much nicer.)

Once the lining is in place, it’s time for the zipper. Sew that puppy on there. Zippers are pretty self-explanatory. Just sew it on.

Now, fold the bag, outsides together. The lining will now be on the outside. All the fringe will need to be tucked inside the bag. For the wrist strap, I strung a D-ring onto a strip of leather. This too needs to be tucked inside the bag before the sides are sewn up.

Just tuck it in there. I placed mine high up on the right side of the bag.

Use binder clips to hold the sides together, and sew a straight line along the two sides and the bottom of the bag. At a few points, my machine couldn’t handle how thick this was, and I had to sew by hand.

Then turn the bag inside out, which is a real treat with all that fringe, and see how it all looks. (My lining is running two different directions. Don’t judge.)

I added 2 wrist straps to the D-ring (the same method used here) and finally…it was done.

I love how this turned out. It took hours of work, but was worth it in the end.

I think.

Have a good weekend!

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