Building a tote bag

I've been working on another practice project and thought you might like to see what's happening and some of the elements that go into it.

After cutting out all of the pieces of leather, reinforcing them, and paring down their edges, the next step is building the individual elements that make up the bag. This bag has two interior pockets - one open and one with a zipper. I'm really getting the hang of stitching zippers. Check it out!

zipper placket

zipper placket

Next was adding the reinforcement panel to the bottom of the bag. I sandwiched an extra layer of leather between the bottom panel and the bag exterior to strengthen the bottom, sanded and painted the edges, glued it on and punched the stitching holes. The last step was to stitch it on:

tote bag bottom panel

Afterward, I riveted brass feet on to the bottom panel to keep it off the ground when it's set down. Then, after finishing both pockets and stitching them to the lining, as well as finishing the strap, the lining and exterior panels were almost ready to glue and sew together:

Tote bag lining and exterior panels ready to attach 

I added the enchapes (strap attachments) to the exterior panel and sewed it all together. Once that was finished, the last step is to finish the edges. First, I trimmed everything flush, then sanded them smooth with a Dremel. Here's what all of the layers of the bottom panel look like before they're painted:

Cross section of the tote bag edges and bottom before edge painting

The final step is to paint the edges which seals and protects the exposed leather and gives the bag a little more polish.

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