How to make a Kuba Bucket Bag

Manitou is on a mission to find a new audience for Kuba, a traditional woven raffia from Democratic Republic of Congo. His bag sewing workshops, are part of this journey. 

Having drawn out his design and cut a pattern, Manitou selected brown reclaimed leather to accent the Kuba fabric.

sewing a bucket bag

Once he had cut the leather it was time to cut into the Kuba. A bit of a nerve wracking moment as Kuba is so intricate it can actually take up to a month to make each piece. So, no mistakes with this incredible material.

Kuba fabric being cut

Kuba is unique to Congo, palm leafs are used to create intricate geometric designs which are then cut so that the fibre ends create the pattern. Like many traditional crafts, it is in danger of disappearing unless a market can be found.

Kuba bucket bag

The completed bag is amazing! Manitou did a superb job with the simple design and leather selection. We used fusing to add structure to the bag and stop the Kuba from unraveling.

sewing workshop

All of the leather used was reclaimed by Isakon Plus during an office refurb! Great first attempt at sewing too. The finished bag is amazing.

sewing workshop

Manitou's website can be found here He has a fantastic video of Kuba being made, as well as some of the other homewares he has made using the fabric. It's really beautiful, so go check it out!

If you want to try something new, the bucket bag workshop is highly recommended! It's a basic pattern, using lots of tools, with no tricky bits and great results!