Basic Leather Shopper Tote


This was my first bag project in school (albeit with a few mistakes from trying to move forward independently from the instructor–whoops), a basic leather shopper tote. The teacher had us all do the same kind of bag for our first project, just so she could better gauge where we are in terms of skill level and experience. I wasn’t sure if we were going to start on a bag right off the bat on the first day, so I wasn’t able to purchase any leather beforehand. Unfortunately, that meant having to buy some old stock off the school’s stores. And it was slim pickins.


For this brown, textured, medium partial pelt, I had to shell out twenty euro. And this was for a dusty old piece of somewhat blah leather. Three words: monopoly, captive market.


It took me a few tries to get a handle on the sewing machine, which is not too different from a regular or high-speed sewing machine, except for some feet and things.


I chose gold hardware to go with my camel-and-stormy-gray leather combo


Bag handles WIP


Was able to get this nice, stormy gray leather for my lining. Note my lopsided stitches there at the base. Still getting used to handling leather with the machine. My other stitches fared a little bit better.



Finished sewing up the edges and attached the bag handles to the body


And voilà: the finished leather shopper tote


The bag features a snap button closure as well as snap buttons on the sides that will allow you to change the bag’s shape (think of the LV Neverfull, except instead of leather strings, I used snap buttons). I was initially going to use a magnet closure but (in my eager speed-working) accidentally sewed the hems closed before I could install the magnets. So instead: snap button closures.


Here is the top view of the bag with the side buttons closed. I personally love the combination of camel and dark grey. Two of my favourite neutrals.


Top view with the side snaps unbuttoned. I’ve used this bag several times over the past five months and I suppose that despite all my blunders and whatnot, it handles well and is a good size for an everyday ‘day’ bag.

My teacher, who gave me a long speech about my not following her pace/instructions (I had lots of independent study periods and a bag to finish. You do the math.), chuckled when I finished and just said that despite everything (meaning, my going rogue), the bag turned out not so bad. Thanks. I think.

Update: This is one of three bags that I sent home with my sister, and consequently asked her to photoshoot so I could get decent photos for my year-end school portfolio. She’s got the fancy cameras back home while I’ve only got my phone with me (which has been serving me quite well, to be fair). Here are the photos:


I love how she hung the bag on a clothesline :)) You can see how much I’ve used-and-abused this bag from the scratches and dirt on it. Over time, I think it should look better and more ‘rustic’ with even more scratches and a darker patina




The shopper tote’s second shape






Bag feet


Gold bands which I added later on, after seeing these at a supply shop and thinking it would go well with this tote bag



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