Genoa Tote : The leather edition


At a studio sale earlier this year I purchased a very soft (and very bright green!) leather hide.  Green is my favourite colour, and in my eyes, the brighter the shade, the better!


Fast forward to early August when the Genoa Tote (PDF or printed pattern) was in it’s final stages of testing, I decided one Saturday afternoon that it was time for the green leather to be transformed into a tote.


Now I have to be honest, I didn’t actually expect this tote to work out.  So much so, I didn’t even bother to make the pocket (yes, I’m totally regretting that decision now!) and the only reason there is a key clip is because I had a spare strap which was all sewn and ready to use.


Construction was completed on my domestic sewing machine with a leather needle, Gutermann polyester thread (which I use on all my sewing projects) and my ‘regular’ sewing foot.  I lengthened my stitch slightly, and in the few places where four layers of leather needed to be sewn, I took my foot off the peddle and hand wound the stitches.  It’s not perfect, but it’s passable… and who’s really going to be looking at my under-stitching anyway?


I used Clover wonder clips to hold the leather in place before stitching.  Pins are a big ‘no no’ when you’re sewing leather as they leave holes that don’t magically disappear with a good steam!

Speaking of steam, I will confess to pressing some of my seams…. with a press cloth of course!  I’m pretty sure that it’s ‘usual’ practice when working with leather, but this novice was a little desperate to get the leather facing to sit nicely and it worked a treat.  If you do want to learn some sewing leather tips from an expert, I can highly recommend You Sew Girl’s blog post on the topic.


The softness of the green hide meant it wasn’t appropriate for straps, so I opted to use a thicker hide and I actually love the contrasting colours.  These handles are the short and wide pattern piece (54cm x 3cm) and they are ideal for adults who like to carry their bag close to their body or in the crook of their arm.

I’m thrilled with my leather tote and it’s been my everyday bag since it was sewn… cough cough…. two and a half months ago.


Pattern:  Blogless Anna & Pattern Fantastique’s Genoa Tote (PDF or printed pattern)
Medium tote with short and wide handles (Genoa Tote Handle Kits)
Green leather purchased at a studio sale, handles made from leather from the NSW Leather Company (Melbourne showroom) and lining fabric was from Tessuti
Omitted pocket (bad decision!)
Accessories:  Scarf from Scarlet Jones
Photo Location:  Ballarat Train Station (on a cold and very wet day!)


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