Here I'll show you how to make a simple leather tote. You don't need a lot of leather experience here. But some sewing experience would definitely come in handy.
Step 1: Materiales/Tools
You'll need a bare minimum of tools and material for this.
Knife ( Utility is fine )
Sewing machine ( Some home machines can sew leather fine. Get leather needles and give it a test )
Leather (about 4 sq. feet plus scrap)
2 Swivel snaps
1 Strap slider ( for adjustable strap
1" Nylon strap
Step 2: Make a Pattern
Pretty simple paper pattern. Dimensions are on the pic. This can be adjusted to any size you want.
in the fourth pic you can see the handle laid out. This is not the correct position of the handle as it will be cut out of a separate piece of leather and then attached to the top. Sometimes I do it that way when I am making a pattern for the first time then later I will make sheet metal or grey board patterns.
Step 3: Cut Your Pieces
2 @ 11"x12" Body
4 @ 4" x 12" Handles (Slot for handle)
2 @ 3/4" x 5" Dee tabs
1 @ 1" x 40" Strap
Step 4: Add a Design
I love to decorate my leather goods with trees. So I just cut some tree designs out of scrap leather and then glue and sew it on.
Step 5: Add a Zipper
Punch two 1/2" holes and then connect the holes with a straight edge. Glue zipper in place and then stitch around it. This pocket will be between the outside leather and the liner.
Step 6: Add Liner and Pocket
Cut two pieces of liner material at 11" x 12". Add a pocket here if you want. I just grabbed a scrap piece and made it slightly larger at the top so it will stay open to slip a cell phone in or whatever. Glue around edges. It doesn't have to be a solid line of glue but will keep it in place until sewn.
Step 7: Make Handles
I cut the handle slots out of one side of each handle first then cemented it together. Don't cement about 1/2" at the bottom. After stitching on the machine I cut out the other side. This makes it easier to sew and the cut is more precise. Sew across the top edge. Repeat
Spread the two sides apart where it was free from cement and glue to the body. Make sure the backside is covering the liner.
Step 8: Sew Body Together
Clip front and back together inside out with small clamps or binder clips and sew around the sides and bottom with a 1/4" seam allowance. Turn inside out...or outside in...or right side out...You get it.
Step 9: Make a Strap
I don't have a pic of adding the dees. I wasn't going to add a strap at first so if I were to make this model bag again I would have put the straps for the dees in between the handle pieces before cementing them. So I just riveted them to the inside of the handle. One on the front and one on the back. I then cut a 1" x 40" piece of leather and glued it to a 1" nylon webbing strap. You can just double up two pieces of leather here if you want to.
Add a slider to one end of the strap with 2 rivets then thread it through a swivel snap. Then thread it through the slider and run it through another swivel snap and rivet that side.