Metallic Leather Tote Bag

I’m only two months late, ok? Remember Sewcialists had a Tribute Month back in September? To sew something inspired by another sewist? Well, back in August I saw a blogger who had made a leather tote bag based on a pattern she’d found in a book called Cloth: 30+ Beautiful Projects to Sew from Linen, Cotton, Silk, Wool, and Hide by Cassandra Ellis. It was so cute, I had to have one myself!ย  [Note: Do you think I can find that blog post/instagram post now??? Of course not! Today is Monday and I can’t remember what I did on the weekend, so it naturally follows that I can’t remember for the life of me who made the lovely tote bag I was inspired by! Are you reading this, tote-bag-maker? I’m sorry! I had plans to link this tribute to you. I’ve just spent the last 30 minutes trying to google you, but to no avail! Raise your hand if this is YOU!]


I had big plans in August to make this bag and post it in time for tribute month, but life happens, and so here I am in November, running helplessly behind, shouting “guys! Wait up! Wait for meeeee!” Lol. In related news, I’m hoping my family is going to take me up on my request to have Christmas in March.


I adore this bag. It’s gigantic and simple. No lining, no pockets, just gigantic simplicity. I bought the hide from Designer Fabrics here in Toronto for a song…maybe $20? But don’t quote me on that, because, you know, memory issues and all that.


I deviated from the template provided in Cassandra Ellis’ book in that I widened and lengthened the pieces so I could sew across the bottom corners to construct a flat bottom. The original pattern doesn’t provide any width; just 2 flat sides sewn together.


[That moment when you realize standing next to your neighbours’ reflective red garage to take photos isn’t the best idea.]


Tribute month gave me an opportunity to reflect on the online sewing community, and how GREAT it is to have access to smart, creative, generous people with whom we can share our hobby, passion, and creativity. I remember when I first got back into sewing in 2013 after a long hiatus (a hiatus that began pre-social media) and discovered sewing blogs. I remember being surprised by a post — sadly I of course have no recollection of who this was — by a woman in her 40s or 50s modelling the bathing suit she had sewn. What’s wrong with a 40- or 50-something woman wearing a bathing suit? And showing pictures of herself wearing it on the Internet? Absolutely nothing, of course! Except that I at the time I didn’t know there were spaces on the Internet that weren’t cesspools of odious trolls, ready to spring into action to shame any woman who dare post pictures of herself, especially in a bathing suit. But here she was, showing close-up pictures of the bathing suit and talking about construction methods and fit like no one (no troll) was watching. And there were nothing but positive comments! What WAS this sewing-related online nirvana I had happened upon?? Why, the sewing community, of course. What a haven. I’m so grateful you’re there. Thank you.

I also wanted to pay tribute to a sewing blogger that has had a huge influence on my blog. Maybe you’re familiar with Shams of Communing With Fabric? What an immense sewing talent she is. I love her fearless fabric choices and her style. And for some reason, shortly after I got started blogging here at, Shams decided to add me to her side-bar list of favourite blogs. Lucky me! Ever since then the number one source of traffic to my blog comes directly from her website. So thank you, Shams! Here’s to you, in gratitude!

And thank YOU, dear reader, for stopping by my humble blog abode.

— Lori





21 thoughts on “Metallic Leather Tote Bag

  1. You and Shams are my two favorite sewing bloggers! You both post lots of photos, look at AND smile at the camera, are great writers, and, most of all, craft beautiful creations. So inspirational!


  2. I love this! Better late than never, right? You bag is fantastic and will get so much use. I had a similar experience when my blog started, and a ton of my traffic came from Stitches and Seams because she had me linked in her favourites! The blogworld is a lovely place!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Gillian. I’ll also never forget the time Marcy from Oonaballoona linked to one of my posts and my stats shot off the charts. I thought I was reading the stats wrong when I first noticed.


  3. Gorgeous, and yes itโ€™s a wonderful little world we seamstresses inhabit. Was your inspo from Jillian at Sew Unravelled? Iโ€™m sure she made a kickarse metallic leather bag like this a while ago…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great bag. I love everything about it โ€“ material, colour, shape and your tweak to perfection. How long ago did you buy the hide? Do you think they still have some in stock? It’s one of my very favourite colours โ€“ goes with everything. Well, goes with everything I have.


    1. Thanks, Barbara. I bought the leather a couple of years ago, but I always eyeball the leather section when I go to Designer Fabrics. Didn’t see any like this when I was there last week but I will keep my eye out and if I see more like this I will grab it for you. It really is a versatile colour. Somewhere between grey and brown metallic (is that bronze, maybe?) so it does go with a lot.


  5. Thank you for that reference to 30+ Beautiful Projects to Sew from Linen, Cotton, Silk, Wool, and Hide by Cassandra Ellis – I promptly ordered a copy ๐Ÿ™‚ Loved your bag that much! I made myself a similar one in the summer – the Grainline and Fringe collaboration Stowe bag which I love! I have a fantasy about making one out of leather but the Fringe is lined so I’m not so sure ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m amazed that you bought that gorgeous leather for $20!! Has to be the find of the year truly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great, Kathleen! Let me know what you end up making from that book. I’ve made lined leather bags, too, so it’s definitely possible, but in this case I love that there are zero embellishments on this bag, even a lining. I’ve been using it pretty much every day since I made it. And yes, I really lucked out that it was only $20! Glad I bought it even though I didn’t know what I would do with it.


    1. Jillian, I don’t know how I managed to miss your comment here from a year ago, but THANK YOU for inspiring me with your amazing version of this bag pattern! You have made some really stunning leather bags, and shoes, too. Amazing.


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