leather pouch



Well, I decided to finally cut into some leather I had gotten long ago. I cranked out this leather zippered pouch (from the Caravan Tote & Pouch pattern) and another little guy to go along, skipping the front pockets (which I love, but I needed a quick project). Sometimes I feel like after sewing so many prototypes and mucked up projects I need to sew something I know I can make. That would be my fave: a zippered pouch. I seriously hoard zippers like they’re going out of style. You can verify that with Jennie of Zipit.


So I cut into this beautifully soft and lovely leather and tried this pouch. I tested on scrap leather quite a bit beforehand. I made sure to use poly thread (even tried some Coats Dual Duty heavier thread) and a leather needle. Worked pretty slick on my scrap leather. But every time I tried to sew the end tab on the zipper it missed a few stitches. I didn’t give up easily, I think I gave it about 15 tries on both my machines. Neither machine liked the tiniest of bumps and that’s when the stitches skipped. I’m determined though to keep trying, but on my first leather project I felt like a few skipped stitches wasn’t a bad thing. This leather is pretty thin and I hope to try out something just a bit thicker, out of curiosity. How about you? Do you love using leather or are you a bit scared like me?


The other companion pouch was the bread and butter, using Bark & Branch cotton canvas that I had picked up at the Sewcial Lounge in Madison, WI. Sewed up like a dream, back to comfy cozy forgivable cotton. Mmmm.barkpouch

Pattern: Zippered Pouch from Caravan Tote & Pouch Pattern
Leather: Ortu Leather on etsy
Canvas: Bark & Branch Canvas by Eloise Renouf for Cloud 9 Fabrics
Zippers: Zipit on etsy

Hope you’re having a good February! I feel the days just slipping by. Soon it’ll be spring.

31 thoughts on “leather pouch

  1. Katie says:

    Those look great! I haven’t tried leather on my machine yet, but I really want to make a little leather wallet some time. My boyfriend does a little leatherwork from time to time, but everything he does with it is by hand and it’s all heavier leather. We have a Tandy’s Leather pretty close though, so maybe I’ll have him take me so I can get some lighter stuff to try out 🙂

  2. Cath says:

    I sew with leather quite a lot and find the walking foot is a great help. I also sometimes resort to handturning the wheel if I have to go through a particularly thick or bumpy area. I’m usually pretty pleased with how things turn out 🙂

  3. Grandma G says:

    I recently sewed with my first faux leather, which I loved, but have not tried the real thing yet. Yours looks yummy… I could go for a whole purse out of that! That’s my goal someday… a leather purse. Wish there were somewhere local I could shop for it and ‘feel’ it before buying.

  4. Ines says:

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, what a nice pouch again!
    I love it very much, because it looks so soft.

    Greetings from Germany

  5. darci says:

    you could use a canvas or some other cotton on your zipper ‘garage’, it could coordinate with your zipper tape.
    also, have you thought about using glue on such a small piece……

  6. gail says:

    I’ve never even dared think about sewing with leather, but I love the idea and love your result. 🙂

  7. Beautiful pouch Anna! I have sewn with leather of many weights, but mostly for straps and smaller projects. Hand turning when you’re in a thicker place can help with the slipped stitches sometimes. A roller foot and teflon foot are helpful too. Many times if it is a small area that’s causing trouble I will hand stitch it or use a small amount of leather adhesive.

  8. Shelly says:

    Beautiful! Love your bag patterns! When sewing with leather I usually always use upholstery weight thread and in the bobbin, with a 16 or 18 leather needle. Leaves it with a nice professional looking finish 🙂

  9. megan w says:

    Ooooooo that’s so lovely. Lately, I’ve been wanting to try something in leather but just finding any time to sew has been challenging.

  10. Janome Gnome says:

    I love sewing with leather. It’s cheap where I live in morocco, so I don’t t mind too much taking risks. It’s also good quality, so it’s rewarding. From my experiments I’d say leathers are as diverse as fabrics. Some behave like the brattier knits and others like stable forgiving knits. Some are like interfaced canvas. I’m not a very knowledgable or well studied sew-er and none of the supplies I can buy locally are labelled at all anyway, so I tend to have a good feel of my materials, see how they move and support structure and dive in, if it fails, I just cut off the stitching and make something smaller!

  11. Janome says:

    Ps: ack ack ack…sorry …forgot to say I love the pouch and I’m definitely copying that curve and the bottom darts! Lovely!!

  12. Laurel says:

    Gosh, that leather pouch looks so great! I haven’t sewn with leather much – just some of the faux upholstery type (which I didn’t love) for accents on a couple of pouches. Lots of good comments and thoughts here though. I can’t wait to make my Caravan tote and pouch! : )

  13. Lauren says:

    It is very brave of you to attempt a leather project on a home sewing machine. I have two machines both getting older now and neither one would let me come near with leather. You leather pouch is lovely.

    Regarding this “zipper hoarding” problem you are having. I also suffer with it. The compulsion to buy more zippers is a tough one to beat. I don’t allow myself to go to fabric stores with zippers anymore, instead I go to second hand stores and riffle through the craft/fabric/patterns/bits&bobs section and can usually come up with a nice fist full for a couple bucks.

    I pass this tip along, in hopes that one day soon we will both be recovering “zipper hoarders”. LOL!

  14. liz n. says:

    LOVE sewing with leather! Don Morin’s class on Craftsy is excellent for anyone who wants to learn to sew leather handbags, and his website, Bag’n’Telle, is another good source for tips and tricks for sewing bags. You might consider grading the leather just a bit in those corners where the zipper is sewn into the seam if your machine is being persnickety about sewing through those thicker layers.

  15. Dana B. says:

    Hi!! What kind of leather do you use for your zipper pulls? I just love to look but don’t know where to start. Thank you!!

  16. Sandra Woods says:

    The leather pouch looks great. You could also try using a jean needle instead of a leather one. I’ve heard they work well. Also, as mentioned–hand turning the wheel and using an upholstery thread.
    You could have tried leather corners on the cotton bag to make it co-ordinate. Nice job.

  17. Kristen says:

    LOVE! Just bought some leather to use as trim and I’m terrified. Thank you for your post, exceptional as always!

  18. Brianna says:

    mm, that leather looks so buttery soft! And the lining and those metal teeth! And the topstitching. So perfect and polished.

  19. Brienne says:

    Looks great, Anna. And don’t you love Ortu?? So many pretty things…

  20. pamelajs56 says:

    You are amazing! I love everything you do.

  21. Ruth says:

    I have some experience sewing leather. One tip that has worked well for me is to use a microtex sharp needle. This works so much better than the leather needles, in my experience, even going through up to three layers of upholstery grade leather with a home sewing machine. I hope it helps you too. Leather projects are sooo satisfying!

  22. Trine says:

    I love them both. Actually I have never sewn with real leather – only the faux kind. And I love it 🙂

  23. mgncronje says:

    I love this pouch. I’ve had a sewing machine for over a year already and I’m so scared to touch it. I guess I just need to get my hands dirty… where to start though???


  24. Janome says:

    I just read all these comments and, you’ll have to excuse me but I feel inspired to say something more. I’ve been really really fortunate to be able to experiment with affordable leather. It’s so worth giving up the fear of mistakes. The best way, I think, is to find sources you don’t mind trashing. I have a friend who is a fashion designer who purposely seeks out second (or probably many more hand) leather jackets in thrift shops. She says nothing softens leather like being worn for a decade or two. And you get loads for your money. Same with ugly bags. And if you can trick yourself into not treasuring it, like after just dropping a few dollars or re-hashing an old bag, then you can get going and get learning. Even if you just buy leather ina shop at high street prices, it’s such a nice material that even a scrap for a pocket adds something special to a project, and a bit the size of an A4 page can make a real luxury vibe clutch or pouch. I’ve checked out my mistakes, which usually end up with me just cutting off the seam allowance and making something slightly smaller (2cm smaller pouch? not the worst disaster) and sometimes I can only rescue a few scraps for highlights on other projects, but honestly seriously really and truly, the average cost of a mistake is about the cost of a cup of coffee in a cafe. So, I say, skip the coffee and start making leather stuff. (By which I mean, have a coffee anyway, make leather things, look up equivalent leather goods on internet, find RRP and during caffeine high tell everyone that you just saved about 500 dollars). Really, trash some leather, break some needles, throw some stuff in the bin. You’ll still have some fantastic stuff right there in your hand. And finally…. If you can find a screw-together stud, my favourite ever, low-cost, massively valued, easy peasy, quick, no-sew, no-fear, brilliant male or female gift item of all time is this envelope business card holder. You can also scale it up to a clutch.

    1. Alana says:

      I agree with you. Sometimes, regardless of the project, going in blind is actually helpful because you just don’t worry as much 🙂 I used to live in NYC and bought leather scraps in the garment district, didn’t know anything about sewing leather at all, but made a very serviceable laptop sleeve with not a lot of effort. Now I have to break into my leather stash and try a few things!!

      Oh, and I have a very cheap sewing machine (Brother) and it had no trouble at all with garment weight leather. Anything that did get messed up was more about my technique than the machine, for sure.

  25. snausages22 says:

    Hi there Anna,
    I have always wanted to try sewing leather…but never had the nerve though I have been sewing, then quilting for over 30 years!!! I have decided that when my local Value Village(thrift store AKA Savers in the USA) has their next half price sale I am going to search for a nice-looking men’s leather jacker to cut up and practice on. Starting off with a zippy pouch is a super idea! Thanks, as always for the inspiration!!! I made a panel quilt with your tutorial and have yet to finish FMQ on it. I was trying a new to me FMQ called Chrysanthemums from In Color Order blog!

    Quilty Huggs,
    Jacqueline in Pitt Meadows

    Come check out my blog:

  26. danawillard says:

    These are fantastic. You are such a professional

  27. Emily C. says:

    I’ve always wanted to sew with leather, but haven’t quite worked up the guts to try it!
    Both your pouches look lovely, I love the print on the second one!

  28. Alana says:

    Yet another lovely project you’ve made! I can’t remember if I heard about Zipit from you or from reading “How About Orange”, but I’ve certainly spent a little bit of money there. Great prices, awesome selection of colors and sizes, and friendly service. I’m loving the comments and advice on this post.

    I also love hearing that you actually muck up a thing or two (though probably not as badly as I do!)…makes me feel like I might actually improve at some point. Thanks for great content!

  29. Mad says:


    Where do you buy all of the hardware for your bags? Where do you get he little leather tags for the zippers? LOVE!!

  30. Wendy Franczak says:

    LOVE THIS! I love all your bags. 😉

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