top of page

PatternPile is a resource for finding practical and fun-to-sew patterns for bags, hats and quilts.



Links in BOLD type are affiliate links.  Button links lead to both free AND for-a-fee projects.

The Art of Handmade Leather Bags: Tips and Tricks for Crafting your Own

The Art of Handmade Leather Bags: Tips and Tricks for Crafting your Own
This image was generated using an artificial intelligence program

Leather is a popular material for bag-making due to its durability, versatility, and aesthetic appeal. Here are some key aspects to consider when using leather to make bags:

Types of Leather for Bag-Making:

  • Full-Grain Leather: The highest quality, includes the entire grain layer without surface alterations. It's durable and resists moisture while aging gracefully.

  • Top-Grain Leather: Slightly sanded to remove imperfections. It's thinner and more pliable than full-grain, often used in high-end bags.

  • Genuine Leather: Made from the remaining layers of hide after the top is split off. Less durable and cheaper.

  • Bonded Leather: Composed of leather scraps bonded together with adhesives. It's the lowest quality and least durable.

  • Suede: Made from the underside of the hide, known for its soft texture. It's less durable and more susceptible to damage from moisture and stains.

Characteristics to Consider:

  • Durability: Full-grain leather is the most durable, ideal for everyday use.

  • Flexibility: Top-grain leather offers more flexibility, suitable for stylish and luxury bags.

  • Texture and Appearance: Full-grain retains natural markings, while top-grain has a more uniform appearance.

  • Maintenance: Leather requires care to maintain its appearance, including regular cleaning and conditioning.

  • Weight: Leather bags can be heavier than those made from synthetic materials.

Environmental and Ethical Considerations:

  • Sustainability: Leather production has environmental impacts, including the use of chemicals in tanning and concerns over animal welfare.

  • Alternatives: Vegan leathers made from materials like polyurethane or plant-based sources are becoming popular for ethical reasons.

Price Range:

  • High-Quality Leather Bags: Tend to be more expensive, reflecting the quality and craftsmanship.

  • Budget-Friendly Options: Genuine and bonded leather offer more affordable options, though with compromises in quality and durability.

Applications in Bag-Making:

  • Handbags and Purses: Often use top-grain or full-grain leather for durability and style.

  • Travel Bags: Full-grain leather is preferred for its strength and longevity.

  • Fashion Accessories: Suede and top-grain leathers are used for their aesthetic qualities.

Sewing Considerations:

  • Choosing the Right Leather: Select a leather type suitable for your bag project, consider its' thickness and flexibility.

  • Specialized Tools: Use a leather needle, which is sharper and stronger than standard sewing needles, and a walking foot on your sewing machine to handle leather's thickness.

  • Thread Selection: Opt for strong threads like nylon or polyester.

  • Stitch Length: Use longer stitches to prevent tearing.

  • No Pinning: Pins leave permanent holes in leather. Use clips or double-sided tape instead.

  • Testing: Always test your stitch settings on a scrap piece of leather first.

  • Seam Treatments: Trim and flatten seams to reduce bulk.

  • Hand Sewing: If hand sewing, use a saddle stitch for durability.

The choice of leather for bag-making depends on the desired quality, appearance, and use of the bag. While full-grain leather offers the best in durability and aging, other types like top-grain and genuine leather provide alternatives for different styles and price points.

Watch Sew Leather With Regular Sewing Machine:

Subscribe to Skill Tree at YouTube


Resources for Leather:

Patterns That Work Well With Leather:



Commenting has been turned off.

Links in BOLD type are affiliate links.  Button links lead to both free AND for-a-fee projects.

Thanks for subscribing!

bottom of page