by Willow Enright
I’m a huge fan of leather tote bags, satchels, and messengers, and I’ve always wanted a leather satchel of my very own. I happened to have some beautiful leftover hide from an 8-9 oz Chestnut Austin Double Shoulder that was just the perfect size for creating my satchel. Since I was using a leftover bit of hide my satchel bag size was limited, but perfect for me. It was big enough to allow me to fit two large novels into it, so that was a good size for me. This particular style of satchel is pretty simple since it’s basically one large pocket, essentially a long piece of leather with two sides and a shoulder strap.
I measured 10” for each side (20”) and 4” for the bottom, with the top flap at 9.5”-12” respectively due to the natural edge. Each side piece is approximately 4.5” wide and 10” tall. The shoulder strap is 50“ x 1.25” with a 2 ⅛” x 6.5” shoulder pad lined with a 4-5 oz black deerskin. Each end of the shoulder strap has an Antique Brass 1" Metal Egg Swivel Clasp, and both sides have a 1” Antique Brass D-ring and all rivets are medium double capped black.
Once my pieces were all cut to size I went to work beveling and sanding all of the edges. For the technique used please reference, Those D@m# Edges. All of the non sewn edges, including the shoulder strap, were completed with burnishing while the sewn edges were left raw until after they were sewn together. A stitch grover was used to make a line approximately ⅛” from the edge, and then holes were punched with a 6 prong stitch hole punch along both sides and the bottom.
The thread used for sewing was a black waxed nylon thread with a harness stitching needle. The length of the thread for each side was 5 lengths of the area sown, and at the end the knots were burned with a lighter before being stuffed between the two layers of leather. I chose to sew the sides with them slightly concave. The d-ring pieces were riveted to the side pieces before the sides were sewn to the main leather section. This was followed by Those D@m# Edges also being beveled, sanded and burnished.
The shoulder pad has four straight cuts to create the two sections that has the strap threaded through, and the 4-5 oz black deerskin is sewn onto the back to keep the strap from rubbing against your shoulder. The shoulder pad is also sewn with black waxed nylon thread at 3.5 times the length of the area being sewn, and is slipped onto the shoulder strap before the end clasps are attached with medium black double capped rivets.
To finish off this lovely satchel I used Aussie Leather Conditioner, rubbed into the leather and then buffed off with a cloth. Followed by Chamberlain’s Leather Milk no. 3 to penetrate and protect the leather from rain and grime. Now, I have the perfect companion for that trip to the library!
I started crafting out of leather in 2011, and now I am making it my life's work. I am writing this blog to help myself remember some of the small steps in past projects, sharing my triumphs and failures, as well as my love of leather.