Over the past month, I’ve had an idea for a leather duffle bag on my mind and I finally decided to give it a shot! With a vacation quickly approaching, I thought now would be the best time to make one. This project turned out to be the largest leather product that I’ve made to date and I’m excited to share my latest Glowforge project with you all!
To keep this short, the way that I conceptualized and constructed the leather duffle bag is very similar to my previous post on an open top leather tote bag that I made earlier this month. You can find that post by clicking here.
For this leather duffle bag, I was constrained to the Glowforge basic unit, which has a maximum cutting size of roughly 11" x 19.5". Luckily, I had my favorite weekend travel duffle bag handy which works as a carry on for airplanes and is the perfect size for a getaway. Using this bag as a basis of design, I measured it and divided the bag into several pieces that would come together and form the final leather duffle bag.
The next step requires traditional hand tooling of the leather to attach the zippers onto the leather. For this weekend duffle bag, I had zippers that took on two different paths; one was a straight zipper and the other was a curved zipper. These zippers were also doubled so that one could open the pocket and top of the bag without the limitation of unzipping from one end to the other. Check out the process photos below. One of the photos was shared on my Instagram story (@marsleatherco), so forgive me for the note on the leather .
The next part of the process was stitching the various components onto each leather side. In the photo below, I hand stitched the duffle bag’s handles to give it a soft and smooth edge before attaching it to the bag.
Then came the exciting part - bringing all of the pieces together and stitching them inside out to give the edges of the bag a soft and seamless curve. In the photo below, you’ll see a mistake that I was so sad to discover. I cut one of the leather pieces for the side pocket too short and tried to force it to work, which caused the corners to dimple inward .
When I discovered this mistake and tried to force it to work, I was already about 6 hours into stitching the entire bag together and thought I was nearing the end. After a chat with my very supportive girlfriend, she talked me into going to sleep for the night and suggested that I fix the pocket and make it perfect before stitching it onto the main body of the duffle bag. With some investigating and working backwards, I fixed the pocket and I’m very happy that I did.
The tough part was bringing the body of the duffle bag together with the side pocket. The lesson I learned is to stitch the body of the duffle bag first, then stitch the pieces of the side pocket onto the end of the bag, then cap it with the final piece. This allows you to hand stitch, be able to both see where your needles are (so you don’t prick your fingers ), and to accurately find the stitching holes that should be aligned.
In any case, I’m so excited to show you the final bag. Without further ado, check out two photos that I took earlier today. I’ll be sharing a lot more in my Instagram page, so feel free to follow me and check it out @marsleatherco.
As always, thank you so much for reading my post on my latest project and I hope it inspires some of your work! Until next time, keep making!