Crafting with Nature ::: Leather

While writing my book, Crafting With Nature, I started looking at my crafting supplies with different eyes.  I have always loved natural materials, but spending months and months working with natural ingredients and supplies made me realize that half the joy of crafting is the feel of the tools and materials in hand. Sure, the finished product is a boon, but the slip and tug of natural fibers while crafting, the silky smooth crush of petals or even just the nubby warmth of cotton string in hand is the real joy of crafting with nature.

One of my favorite natural materials is leather or suede. The feel of soft hide is a soothing material to craft with and as I craft, I am grateful for the animal that provided it. The leather I am using is courtesy of the Leather Hide Store, where remnants from upholstery (couches, chairs, pillows, etc.) are sold to crafters like me.  Instead of wasting the cutting room floor pieces, Leather Hide Store is embracing the use of remnants for beautiful, luxurious little crafts. Join me today as I show you a little slouch bag inspired by an old tutorial Onel wrote here at A Nest for All Seasons and I will have another little leather project coming up for you soon! Let's start with this cute little bag though, shall we?


Leather Remnant, small to medium size (Leather Hide Store)
Leather Shears - essential for clean cuts, these 5" shears are pictured below)
Awl (consider this inexpensive kit with 5 awls and overstitch wheel or $5)
Leather Glue optional
Cardboard or Thick Cardstock

Look at that BEAUTIFUL leather!  
You might shy away from crafting with leather because of the tools.  It is true, you need to purchase a few basic tools to get started.  The awl and craft/leather shears are essential, but will run you about $15-20 for both and will last for many, many years if not a lifetime. The waxed thread is optional, but gives a nice strong stitch and rustic look to projects.


before we get started.  The basic outline will be similar, minus the drawstring.

2. Cut out your pieces with sharp leather shears, tracing a circular lid to make life easier on yourself.  You need one long piece, around 8x18 inches (20x45 cm), two leather circles and one leather circle cut from cardboard or several pieces of cardstock glued together. Use regular scissors to cut the cardboard, NOT your new leather shears!!

3. Sandwich the cardboard inside the two leather circles with the outer, smooth leather side showing on both sides.  Glue together with plain old craft glue or Elmer's.

4. Fold over the top edge of the long piece of leather and place a string inside the crease is you want a drawstring. (I omitted this, but see the photo where the string should go below.) Use the awl to pierce the leather and then thread waxed string through the holes. You can use any stitch you want, but I liked this overcast stitch.  A blanket stitch would work nicely too.

5. Trim any leather below your straight sewn line and roll leather into a cylinder. Sew down the seam from top to bottom to secure.

6. Place the round bottom on the cylinder and attach with leather glue or stitching.  I used glue (see Onel's bottom stitching HERE) and it has held up nicely. The top o the slouch bag will of course slouch, while the bottom will keep its circular form thanks to the cardboard.

 Standing up, the leather holds shape quite well, with a cute little slouch to its posture.

I've shown the little bag with pencils and craft supplies, but think how perfect they would be for little gift bags this Christmas that your friends and family can use "after the gift"! Consider enlarging this little bag for a large planter or add in that drawstring for a beautiful backpack!  Leather is so versatile and fits with so many different tastes and design styles. Pick out your favorite remnant HERE at Leather Hide Store and get crafting with nature!

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 If you liked this tutorial, then you might enjoy the BOOK!

Make your own coconut oil.
Gather your own sea salt.
Grow your own grapevines for wreaths.
Give gifts naturally grown and crafted from your backyard garden.

Each chapter focuses on a plant or groups of plants and how to grow them in your home garden.  Then, gather up those natural ingredients and get crafting! From lavender wreaths and hypertufa planters to lambsear angels and pickled tomatoes, there are projects for beginners on up!

Crafting with Nature is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a MillionPOWELL's! (!!!!)  Booktopia (Australia!), IndieBoundAlibrisGlose.comThe Book Depository and  Books are also rolling out to retailers and libraries, so check for them there. 
 If your library does NOT have it yet, this is why you should talk to your librarian!