Hands up if you’re an Anthropologie fan on a Forever21 budget. Yeah girl, we hear you. This project is based around the Clare V Calf Hair Patchwork Tote ($350, sold out now) on Anthropologie that I just had to have but couldn’t swing the price on the tag. I was swooning over how the sleek textures of black popped when placed next to each other. I knew we had some extra pieces of black leather lying around, which was perfect since this tote is made out of eleven small pieces of leather. So, we whipped up another Anthropologie tote hack – because we all know that we might actually love a good Anthro hack more than the real thing ;)
— roughly 26 x 35 inch leather hide
— 1 yard of cotton fabric
— 4 1-inch grommets
— fabric scissors
— rotary cutter or box cutter
— sewing pins
— sewing machine
1. Cut out eight 8 x 8-inch squares of leather, three 18 x 5-inch rectangles of leather and cotton and two 18 x 18-inch squares of cotton.
2. Pin the long cotton rectangles to the edges of the two large cotton squares. Sew the seams to create a box shape.
3. Pin the last cotton rectangle to the base of the sewn box, then sew.
4. Arrange the eight squares in two piles of four. Sew into pairs of two, and then sew the two pairs of two together to form one large square.
5. Sew the long leather rectangles to the edges of the patchwork leather square. Create the box-like form that you made in step number two.
6. Pin the last large rectangle to the bottom of the leather box. Sew slowly. Once sewn, even out the top edge of the bag with a ruler and rotary cutter.
7. Insert the cotton lining into the bag, fold the fabric under to get a crisp edge and then pin to the leather. Sew the top perimeter of the tote.
8. Cut two small holes on the side of the leather bag where you want the grommets to be placed. Use a hammer and grommet tools to attach them to the tote.
9. Cut two straps and two shoes strings out of leather. Sew the straps onto the front and backside of the bag and string the shoe strings through the grommets to cinch the tote.
To create this tote, you’ll need to cut out three 18 x 5-inch rectangles of both leather and cotton fabric, eight 8 x 8-inch squares of leather fabric and two 18 x 18-inch squares of cotton fabric.
First we’ll create the lining. With the good sides of the fabric facing in, pin the long rectangles to the outside edges of the large square. Sew these seams, and then pin and sew the other 18 x 18-inch rectangle in place. You’ll now have the four sides of a box. Next up, the bottom.
Sewing the bottom is a bit tricky, so pinning in place will definitely help. Carefully sew the perimeter of the bag. When you reach a corner leave the needle in the fabric, pick up the presser foot, rotate the fabric and then continue sewing the next side. This will give your tote a crisp edge.
Our hide was suede on one side and leather on the other, so we cut eight squares and laid them out like a checker board in two groups of four.
Sew four squares together to make one big checkerboard square. Double and triple check that the seams of the squares match up when you’re sewing one group of two to the next group of two.
Just like before, sew the two side panels onto the edges of the front of the bag. Make sure the good sides of the fabric are facing in. Finish sewing the final large square onto the edges to create that square perimeter. It’ll be a little difficult to sew two layers of leather on a basic sewing machine, so take your time and sew slowly.
Alright guys, this is the hardest part of the whole tutorial. Pinning and sewing the bottom of the leather bag. Pins are very hard to puncture through two layers of leather, so if you have leather clamps or binder clips, use those. Sew slowly and create crisp edges by leaving the needle in the corner of the fabric and turning the leather 90 degrees.
Trim the top of the tote with the rotary cutter to get a clean line.
Insert the cotton liner into the leather bag. Fold the cotton edge under, then pin to the edge of the leather. Sew the perimeter of the bag.
Cut two small holes on the sides of the tote for the grommets. Attach grommets using a hammer and the grommet setting tools.
Cut two leather straps and two leather shoe strings. Our straps measured 1 x 20 inches. Customize your strap to your liking. Pin to the front of the bag, and sew. Use the shoe strings to cinch the tote together.
A tote for the stars. It’s so beautiful.
Mariaclara was on a search for an afternoon pick me up, but just wasn’t sure what she wanted.
Ahhh, yes. Coffee that doesn’t suck – yes please!
Some light reading while sippin’ this coffee – sounds like the perfect afternoon to me!
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DIY Production and Styling: Kelly Bryden
Photography: Brittany Griffin and Kurt Andre
Modeling: Mariaclara Golfo