This is a sponsored post. I was given free materials for this project, but the opinions are 100% my own.
You guys. I made this. I can hardly believe it myself. I hate sewing, and this project didn’t make me hate it any less, but look what I made! I am thrilled with how it turned out, and I am so excited to show my new leather clutch off the next time I go out.
I was contacted by Leather Hide Store a few months back, asking if I would like to try out their leather for a DIY project. I have never worked with leather before, and I was very excited at the chance to try. I chose the Nevada Distressed leather variety, and the hide they sent me is so amazingly beautiful. I didn’t get a decent picture of the whole hide, but it took up my entire dining room table!
This variety is a gorgeous butterscotch/caramel colored leather with wrinkles and creases throughout the hide. Caramel leather is my absolute favorite color for leather, so I was happy that the photos online were true to the real life color of the hide I received. Leather Hide Store sells upholstery weight leather which is perfect for home decor, handbags, and garments.
I have never measured or cut anything as carefully or precisely as I did this leather. I am going to work very hard not to waste any of it, so plan on seeing lots of leather projects on Mad in Crafts in the coming months!
I did have to buy a few new craft supplies in order to make this clutch, and I will explain why. I will also provide affiliate links to the materials I used at the end of this post.
I already had the rotary cutter, quilting ruler, and binding clips on hand. My hand isn’t steady enough with dress shears to make a clean cut in the leather, so I was very thankful for my rotary cutter, especially when it came time to make the tassel. There’s no taking back a hole once you’ve punctured leather, so you will need to use binder clips instead of pinning your fabric pieces together.
I ran to the fabric store and bought a 14″ metal zipper, some heavy-duty thread, and sewing machine needles designed especially for sewing leather. None of it was expensive, but it is specialty stuff.
I had read that using scotch tape on your sewing machine foot makes the leather run through the machine more smoothly, but I didn’t find that to be the case. Occasionally my feed dogs would get angry, and I would just have to advance the needle manually.
Instead of pretending like I know what I am doing when it comes to sewing and writing out a tutorial for this bag, I am just going to direct you to Flamingo Toes. I used Bev’s tutorial, without the stripe and bow, to the tee for making my clutch. I also found a helpful video that demonstrates two ways to sew zippers. I followed the instructions for the first zipper. It was scary, but I did it.
Making the leather tassel was easy and fun. I will be making more of these guys, you can count on it. I began by cutting a rectangle of leather that was roughly 3″ x 9 1/2″. I placed my quilting ruler 1/4″ from the top edge of the leather to act as the barrier for my rotary cutter. I eyeballed 1/8″ wide cuts along the length of the leather.
That gave me this very pretty, and mostly even, fringe.
To assemble the tassel, I cut a 1/4″ x 3 1/2″ piece of leather, doubled it over, and threaded it through the hole at the end of the zipper pull.
I threaded the loose ends through the loop end, and pulled it tight to fasten the leather to the pull.
Then a slipped a 1/2″ brass compression sleeve (which you can find at the hardware store for cheap) onto the pull.
Next, I used Aleene’s fabric glue to adhere the leather lacing to the wrong side of the leather fringe.
Then, I slowly and carefully rolled the fringed piece of leather into a coil, making sure to keep the top edge straight. I added drops of fabric glue to the leather as I rolled to hold everything together.
Occasionally as I rolled, I would check to see if the tassel was the proper diameter for my compression sleeve. Once I had rolled enough fringe to fit snugly inside the sleeve, I cut off the excess with my rotary cutter, and slid the sleeve down over the tassel. You won’t need to glue the sleeve in place if the fit is snug enough.
The bag is by no means perfect. The zipper is a little less centered than I would like, but nobody will notice that unless I point it out to them specifically.
And the zipper opens and closes like it should! The lining is facing the correct direction! I didn’t sew through my own finger (although I did break a needle)! For my first time sewing leather and only my second time sewing a zipper, I am calling this a major win.
You better believe this clutch is going to get some major use. The leather is just so lovely and soft, and I still adore the color. If this inspired you to try your own leather project, check out Leather Hide Store‘s great selection!
Let's be buds.
Subscribe to the Mad in Crafts newsletter and get a FREE copy of my newest ebook, Happy Crafts: Nine Colorful Crafts You Can Make in 30 Minutes or Less.