This is a “half of a belly” leather cut.

I will use a portion of it to make the straps for this tote.

I use a long wood slat for a straight edge to make my first guide line.

I use a t-square that is 2″ wide as my template to mark out cuts.

I transfer the full piece up to my work table to cut the straps out.

I use a standard ruler and put a new blade in my utility knife.

I cut about 8″-10″ of length at a time.

I work very carefully.

I bevel the edges of the removeable shoulder strap.

I measure out roughly 24″ lengths of strap for the handles.

I measure out one of them and mark stitching holes.

I replicate those measurements on the second strap.

I am showing how the handles will be folded when stitched.

After I stitch the handle, I bevel then sand to even the edge.

I use a rougher grit then a very fine grit.

I do this over my tub, then wipe out the dust.

The edge after sanding and before burnishing.

Edge after burnishing

The handle connectors are trimmed, punched and burnished.

The second picture shows how they will join the handle.

Stitching the handles to the tote.

For the most part, this tote is finished , just some small separate features to complete.

The shoulder strap is removeable.

I will make a slim shoulder pad to slip onto it.


2″ wide rectangle loops for handles of bag and 1″ center bar buckle for the tote hardware.

strap attachment pieces for the double handles

working on buckle attachment for the closure.

The piece that will attach the buckle has marks for hole punching.

The... (wait,… I need to go look up what the rod in the buckle is called)

prong.. (oh neeto, I learned something…parts of a buckle…frame, bar and prong)

I need to create a long hole for the prong to go through.

There is a pounding punch tool for creating that shape but I don’t use punches that require hammering cause they make too much noise for being in an apartment. I also would need to go find a heaver table and pound board…..too much extra extra.

This is a little more rustic way of creating the hole. I punch two bigger holes spaced apart.

Then to slice the portion out between the holes. Bevel the oblong hole and burnish it.

(all measurements tested out on scrap)

white stuff in the holes is lotion I used to condition the leather and help burnish the edges.
now for the closure strap. I use a round object to mark corners.
and trim
then bevel
entire piece
stitching the gussets to the cover of the bag
As I stitch the gussets, I incorporate a long thin piece a couple inches from the top rim that will be the reinforcement for securing the hardware attachments.
bottom of gussets are stitched
stitching hardware attachments
now just wait for strap leather to arrive