Learning to sew with leather has been on my list for a while now, and I love things that are changeable and versatile. The solution? Make a messenger back that’s also a backpack! Overall, it was a fun project, and definitely a great gift idea.
Fabrics & materials used:
- 1 hide Small Brown Goat Leather
- 1/2 yard Duffel Bag Green Backed Faux Leather/Vinyl
- 1/4 yard White Osnaburg Stiffener
- 1 package Size 1 Black Sew On Snaps
- 1 22″-28″ Metal Zipper
- 4 D-rings or O-rings
- 1 Shoulder Strap Clip (Mood has a cool one here!)
- Leather Hand and Machine Needles
- Optional: Bag strapping or webbing
The leather base of the bag is pretty simple – 15″ across and 18″ up, with rounded corners on the top. The bottom is a 12″x6″ oval.
Having rarely worked with leather before this, I was a little worried about this project, but it was so much easier than expected! Plus, this stuff glided through the Mood sewing machine with no issues at all.
The adjustable front pocket is a 12″ square with one quarter cut out. I wanted the pocket to have structure and be able to pop outward from the bag, so stiffener was a necessity. This is where the osnaburg would typically come in – it’s easy to work with, strong, and keeps its shape. However, I had a bit of sticky-back foam left over from a previous project that worked wonders! I stuck three triangles onto the back, folded the seam allowance over and top-stitched them into place. The result was a perfect pyramid when the two top points were brought together.
The “pocket” has two positions. I put it in quotes because it’s more of a little pouch, great for easy access necessities like headphones or pens or anything you can hook over the side.
Each point has a snap on the underside so it will stay secure when the pocket is flat. To make it a pyramid, I added a snap to the middle of the bag, like you see below. The left point can be brought to the center and the right point can attach onto the extra snap on the topside of the left point.
The pocket was then clipped into place along the bottom of the front bag panel. It was time to attach the zipper!
I made two loops with the green vinyl and inserted a ring into each. They were pinned on either side of the back bag panel, between the leather and the zipper, and in line with the top of the front pocket.
I sewed the remainder of the zipper on both the front and back panels, which finished up the sides, and then attached the bottom of the bag.
After the oval base of the bag was sewn, it was just finishing details! An 8″ strip of vinyl became a loop on the top rear of the messenger bag. To make the bag into a backpack, the strap simply needs to slide through this loop!
For the strap, I used more of the green vinyl, but this could easily be substituted with some webbing. One end was sewn onto one of the rings, while the other was attached to a clip so it can remain adjustable.
So will you be making one to gift this holiday season? What color scheme are you going to go with? Tell us below!