A few weeks ago my friend Lori, the talent behind Minnie + George, invited me to take her leather bag-making class. I have long wanted to try working with leather, so naturally, I was pretty excited and I jumped at the chance. Lori offers a few classes per month, and they include courses on wallets, leather clutches, and tote bags. And if you’re not local, she also sells a Large Tote Bag DIY Kit on her website, which looks awesome.
It was a beautiful fall day, and I attended the class with my good friend Jen. (She’s the redhead you’ll see featured in my photos.) We made a morning out of it and filled our bellies with brunch before heading over to Neopolitan in NW Portland to take the class. Prior to this experience, making a bag seemed entirely outside my skill set. But surprisingly, it wasn’t as hard as I’d expected!
The leather was pre-cut for us, but we had to learn how to shape and carve out the pieces for the handle. We took a tooling device and pounded on it with a mallet to sink it into the leather.
After that, we finished carving out the pieces with an exacto knife.
Then we smoothed out the edges of our handles. Some of us were working with black, and some with vegetable-tanned leather, a natural shade that gets darker with time.
After we did the handles, we used a fork to create holes for sewing.
Lori taught us the saddle stitch to sew our pieces together. It turns out this stitch is very easy AND it is stronger than a machine stitch. I am currently examining my other leather purses more closely, squinting at stitch styles!
I ran out of time to finish my bag in class, and completed it a few weeks later at home. The stitching reminded me of knitting. It was easy to do while relaxing on the couch, and very satisfying because of the movement and repetition.
The class was quite enjoyable. I got to meet a few wonderful, local ladies, and we enjoyed learning and chatting together while Lori instructed us. She knows so much about leather and bag making, I loved soaking up what she shared.
If you’re interested in making your own bag, and DON’T live in the Portland area, check out Minnie + George’s Large Tote Bag DIY Kit. Even better, order one with a friend and do it together. The patterns are simple, and the stitching is very easy. Portland peeps: there are two classes coming up in January, a wallet-making class and the clutch class I took. In February there’s a chance to take the Large Tote Class. Spots are limited so, if you’re interested, sign up as soon as you can.
This post is not sponsored, and it does not contain affiliate links. I attended this class as a guest of Minnie + George. It was a wonderful day/experience that exceeded my expectations!