Fabric and Leather Handbag FREE Pattern: Good for Beginners

leather and fabric handbagThis leather and fabric handbag is the perfect project for those who are starting to sew with leather and for those who are bored with fabric only handbags.  You can make this with a normal domestic sewing machine so don't be afraid to give it a try!

leather and fabric handbagI am not yet an expert in leather work.  But, I absolutely love the material for its durability and handling.  Furthermore, the shine of the leather will forgive a mistake should you need to unpick a seam, so I suggest to buy a whole hide and not to be afraid of trying.  It won't go to waste!

If you don't feel like trying with leather, you can also use vinyl, oilcloth, canvas or another heavy fabric.  I just wanted to try with leather and it came out so well, my daughter won't give it back to me..

In the months ahead we will be exploring the many possibilities of the leather work, so we will be using all the scraps.  I will be sharing with you easy tutorials that can be made at home without the need of an industrial machine.

Skill level

This project suits someone with advanced beginner to intermediate skills.  If you have made another handbag from our website, you will find this project very easy.

Key Features:

  • Two outside pockets
  • One inside pocket for your wallet
  • RFID lining optional
  • Easy to make
  • Small handbag but big enough to carry an iPad
  • Crossbody bag option
  • Soft leather
  • Makes a great gift

Materials:

Tools

Recommended Fabrics


Pattern Download

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Download the Free Pattern

You can download the pattern for this Leather and Fabric Handbag from our account at Craftsy.

For help downloading and printing PDF patterns, please CLICK HERE.

Step One: Preparing the fabric

Fuse interfacing to all the lining pieces and the main fabric piece.  Follow the pattern markings for this step.  Place the main fabric print side up and mark the middle on the fuse side and the print side.

Place the Fuse-N-Shade rectangle in the middle of the main fabric piece.  Use the iron to fuse it in place.leather and fabric handbag

Step Two: Cutting the leather

Draw the pattern straight on the back of the leather.  Use a cutter or leather scissors.

Step Three: Making the straps and adding them to the fabric

We're going to be making a strap that is half leather and half fabric.

Cut two straps of leather and two straps of fabric  31″ in length by 1 1/4″ wide.

The mixture of fabric and leather can be slippery to sew.  I found that by zigzagging both together with a very small stitch I am able to keep the two together more easily.leather and fabric handbag

Sew the leather and fabric strap at 1/4″ on both sides.

Turn the strap using a large paper clip.  Be careful not to pull the strap so hard because it will rip the leather.unnamed-2

Glue 8″ from the end of the strap applying a very thin coat of glue.

fabric and leather handbag
img_4537 Place the strap fabric side down at 3″ from the side.

Repeat on the other sides.  Let the straps dry at least two hours.

Step Four: Making the inner pocket and sewing the lining

Cut the lining using the exact dimensions of the fabric (13″ x 20 1/2″). You can use RFID fabric instead.  For more thoughts on using RFID fabric please check out our tutorial on the RFID Shielded Handbag.

RFID shielded handbag: I'm calling it Gleam and the pattern is FREE

Apply fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric and to the entire piece.

Cut a piece of fabric 13″ x 11″ and apply fusible interfacing.  Use RFID fabric if you want and place it print side down.

Draw a rectangle 7″ x 1/2″.

7-x-1%2f2

Sew around the rectangle.

Cut on the line in the center until the tip of the triangle, then continue to cut to each corner but not through.  Turn the pocket through the cut and iron.img_4543-2

Pin the zipper and using your zipper foot topstitch around the zipper at 1/8″.untitled-design-4

leather and fabric handbagTurn the lining print side down.  Fold the pocket upwards and sew the sides of the pocket at 5/8″.

Pin the gusset to the lining starting at the top working your way all the way to the other side.untitled-design-5

Sew at 3/8″, trim and zigzag the seam allowance.

Step Five: Adding decorative details to the leather

I am changing my machine foot to a Teflon foot.  You will notice the combination of the material will make the tape move around so use clover clips.

Fold and sew the tape on the right side of the leather, following the first crease as perfect as you can manage.  

Fold the tape and sew in the space between the leather and the fabric.  

Cut a rectangle that is 13″ x 4 1/4″.

Sew right sides together at 5/8′.  Trim the seam allowance by half and turn inside out.

Place this rectangle under the leather and sew on the space between the leather and the bias tape.  The stitch will not show. Notice in my picture I have sewn the fabric backward.  You can see the stitch line facing outwards, rather than inwards as it should.  I do not want to rip the seam out, so I will show you later how to transform a mistake into your advantage;)

Step Six: Sewing the side leather gussets

Change your machine foot the Teflon foot. Using wonder clips join the gusset to the bag shiny sides together.

Keeping a strict seam allowance and sew the pieces together at 3/8″.   When you are sewing the rounded part of the pattern walk your machine foot or sew just 2 to 3 stitches at a time.  As you sew through the rounded part of the gusset pivot the gusset piece as you walk your machine.  This process will take a few minutes to complete but it is worth taking the time and doing it only once.

Turn the bag inside out and topstitch around the gusset.  Make sure the gusset side lies flat towards the fabric.  This step is topstitching step optional, so I will show you how it looks without topstitching.img_4580 This is what it looks like with topstitching.  Personally, I like the topstitching..img_4581Once you have decided what you want to do, trim the seam allowance by half so the curve takes a smooth shape. 

Cut two straps of leather 18 5/8″ by 1 1/4″.  Start sewing about 1/4″ and back stitch.  Sew at 3/8″.img_4583Open the seam and top stitch on each side of the seam. Repeat on the other side.

Measure the band and apply bias tape on one edge. unnamed-3

Take the leather band and clip it to the bag, shiny sides together.

Sew at 1/4″ and turn.  This time topstitch leaving the bag side laying flat. The topstitching helps the leather turn easily.  

Step Seven: Putting the leather and fabric handbag together.

Insert the lining into the bag.

Apply a very thin coat of glue on the bag and press the lining into the leather using your fingers.  Do not allow any ripples or bubbles to form.  This technique is only possible if you use a glue that dries transparently.  Otherwise, leave an opening in the lining to be able to turn the bag inside out.  A sample of this technique can be found on our Anti Pickpocket Bag.

Anti Pickpocket Bag: FREE pattern, tutorial, and video sew-along

Step Eight:  Applying grommets and the rings for the cross body bag option

When I design any accessory, I find that giving options is what sets your design apart.  If you take a look in the fancy stores most of the bags have the option to be carried at least in two ways.  This is possible with the help of grommets.  You can use different sizes to adapt to your design.  I am going to use the ring.

Mark 3/4″ from the side seam and 1/5″ from the top.  Use this dot as the center of your grommet and with the use of a leather puncher, punch a hole.  Enlarge this hole with the use of very sharp pointed scissors.  Do not make the hole too large.  It is better to stretch the leather and the fabric than to make a hole that is too big.

Insert the grommet from the outside of the bag and place the washer from the inside of the bag.

Use the tool to set the grommet in place.  Measure and punch the hole on the other side. 

Insert the ring and attach the chain if you are going to use the bag as a cross body bag.

To make up for the stitch line issue I mentioned at the end of Step 5, I added some bling with a row of rhinestones along the stitch line.  This turned my mistake into a nice feature of the bag.

fabric and leather handbag

I am not an expert in leather work, as I mentioned before.  But I love to learn new techniques and quite frankly what I love most of all a little challenge.  So join me in this path of discovery and together we can add one more skill to our sewing repertoire.  I will make the mistakes so you don't have to.  However, I have to say this, there are really no mistakes in fashion.  If you do make a “mistake”, change the design and adapt to the situation you have created.  By doing this you will find that you will grow your creativity and lose your fear of trying something new.

This handbag is big enough for my iPad, a drawing book, my wallet, and sunglasses.  I am happy with it, but I will like to know how far I can push this color of leather.  Leave your comments below.  I love to hear what you think about this new take on a leather and fabric handbags.  Join me next time for more leather and fabric handbag work when we will be making a stylish hand clutch that can be worn as crossbody bag as well.

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leather and fabric handbag

 

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25 Responses to Fabric and Leather Handbag FREE Pattern: Good for Beginners

  1. Linda says:

    Thank You! I have been looking for a leather bag pattern to get familiar with working with leather.

    Is there by any chance an add on to the pattern for a main compartment top zipper?

    Thanks again!

    Linda

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      let me address that on the video since showing you how to do it will be easier than describing it here.

      • Sandra Stevens says:

        Hi Mayra,
        I looked on youtube and can’t find the tutorial you are referring to. Can you please send me the link. Would love to try out this pattern.
        Thanks,
        Sandra

  2. TB says:

    Thanks for the pattern! Is there a way to get instructions as part of the download with the pattern and the supply list?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi TB, this is a long sew along there is a video with it so make the project easier. On our You Tube channel. Free as many of our patterns and instructions, enjoy!

  3. FA Gilbreath says:

    Can’t find the pattern. What’s with the download a PDF file? scarey!

  4. Lisa Hook says:

    Love Linda’s idea of going to the thrift store for the materials!

  5. Amy says:

    Tandy Leather currently has a sale on large (20sq ft) designer leather sides for $39.99. Great timing!

  6. Livia Boggs says:

    I love your pattern Thank you! I wanted to add a central zipper pocket to the inside do you have a tutorial on how to do that? Thank you for your time.

  7. M Martin says:

    How do I get the full tutorial in a single printout? When I click on Printer friendly, I only get the page that I’m on. This tutorial is 4 pages long. Why aren’t the tutorials included with the pattern downloads? It makes it very time consuming to have to print out the tutorials page by page and then print out the pattern.

    If I’m missing an easier way to do this, please advise. I like your patterns and would like to use more of them.

  8. Linda Madden says:

    Thanks for the pattern, this looks like a great project, I’m going to give this a try.
    For newbies to sewing with leather, I’d suggest visiting a thrift store and picking up a leather jacket/garment, (I got a full length coat a while back and have been waiting for a project) or even an old purse, to practice on before making an investment in a hide, they are expensive.

    • Louisa Russell says:

      Thank you Linda, this is a great idea. I am new to bag making and learning so much from the tutorials on You Tube and especially from Sew So Easy. This is one I have to try. 72 years young next week and wish that I had started years ago. I love sewing so much. Best wishes, Louisa

  9. ellen says:

    Would be really helpful if you said HOW MUCH leather and fabric are needed.

  10. Joanne says:

    Love love love it! Thank you.

  11. Julie says:

    Hi there just wondering where leather for this bag would be available, in Tasmania?

  12. Myra Schoenfeld says:

    Where can you buy real leather? I can’t seem to find a site or a mail order place.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Myra, I put a link in the article, just click on the blue highlighted words. Buy at least 7 square feet, we will be using every scrap of it in the next months to come.

  13. Patty P says:

    Thanks so much! I was looking for a pattern just like this and have some leftover aqua vinyl and coordinating prints.

    My only suggestion is to change “hole hide” (a hide with holes) to “whole hide” (an entire hide).

    You wrote[i]”I am not yet an expert in leather work. But, I absolutely love the material for its durability and handling. Furthermore, the shine of the leather will forgive a mistake should you need to unpick a seam, so I suggest to buy a [b]hole hide[/b] and not to be afraid of trying. It won’t go to waste![/i]

  14. Laura R says:

    Do you feel thank even an inexpensive sewing machine would handle the leather as long as leather needle is used? I have a low end brother machine.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Laura, if you stick with the 2 ounce average leather mentioned in the materials list you should be fine with most domestic machines. There are a couple of steps where you may need to walk the machine a bit but you should be fine. Also, you’ll need a heavier leather needle as you mention.

  15. Carla F says:

    Wow. I didn’t know you could get leather that looked like that or that you could sew it just like fabric. Always thought you needed an industrial machine. I can’t wait to give it a try. Thanks so much for this pattern. PS. I also like your other site at sewing4free.com.

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