The Leather Bag Story

@briski asked how I designed this. I said it was worth a post of its own, so here goes.

Every week we have “laser thursday”, where we hang around late and make stuff. One thursday I told Tony, our chief product guy and cofounder, that I thought it would be cool to make a bag. He said that we would definitely need to hire some sort of expert because that sounded virtually impossible. I bet him that we could design a bag right there, having no idea if it would work or not.

We measured all my crap and got some paper and a pair of scissors. We mocked the bag up half-size with paper and scotch tape with all the features, like the hidden document pocket halfway down, sewn-in Trackr, etc.

When we liked it, I scanned the pieces, vectorized them in Illustrator, and doubled the dimensions. Then we printed one out of thick paper and taped it together. We tweaked it a bit. Then we printed it in cheap leather and sewed it part way up (by hand). That was a waste because it was perfect. Then we bought brass buckles, dyed some really fancy leather, and cut it again. This time we hired someone to sew it up because it’s like a 2-movie project.

So what software did I use? Paper and scissors, with a small assist by Illustrator.

Note: I’ve never made anything in my life out of leather before getting my first laser.


Built in trackr is genius! Thanks for sharing


It’s an elegant bag for a more civilized age. I can’t wait to see what Glowforge can do to my own leatherworking project list!


Beautiful project! Last time I worked with leather I was excited to find that a dashed line in illustrator would cut only the dashes (rather than a solid line) on the Epilog when cutting from a PDF. This made stitching super easy as I had all the holes pre-cut.

Did you do something similar for your bag, and does the Glowforge handle dashed lines in the same way?


@Dan: Was it made on a GlowForge?


Were you able to fit all of the leather flat in the laser?

1 Like

@dan will you be able to do all that scan and scale work with the GlowForge? It doesn’t seem far off from the demo child drawing and acrylic + copying only instead of copying scaling this time

Looking forward to creating custom bags, wallets, etc. Something that works with what the person needs.

@makerblock I was wondering that as well.

The flap looks like its bigger then the work area of the glowforge, or is there a seam I cannot see?

Thanks @dan for sharing! I really hope that this design (or one like it) will be in the “free design catalog” when the Glowforge is released! :smile:

You can do it with a seam on the back with Basic, or one-piece with Pro.

1 Like

@dan: Cool, thank you

The pro would need something engraved to pick up on for reference, correct?

We’ve done all the proof of concept work but haven’t productized the software yet so this answer may change, but: you cut the first half, then slide it more than halfway through, and it picks up the cuts to align the next part of the pattern.

Dan: Does the software for the Glowforge handle dashed lines from Illustrator? That makes sewing so much easier.

Chris, I would assume so as I have done that in a production setting using other laser machines and from what I see from the GF example images… My 2¢

Yes, you just need to select Object…Path…Outline Stroke before you send it to Glowforge.


That was my concern. :frowning: With my current workflow on the Epilog I can keep my dashed Illustrator lines as actual lines, so I can adjust them as the template changes over time. Right now I just export to PDF and the dashed lines are interpreted as individual segments (by the Epilog tool chain) without having to break them apart. Changing them to an outlined stroke is a one way move that I would like to avoid. Also, changing them to outlined strokes makes each line segment 4 lines (a rectangle rather than a slit), which makes the laser spend a lot more time cutting and heating (damaging) the material for each hole in the seam line.

1 Like

Ah! Makes sense. I’ll put that in as a feature request.