Sewing Bucket Bags

Sewing bucket bags using one piece of leather. 


This design is really easy, but written instructions always seem complicated. Bare with! I have added pictures to accompany the words. There is also a list of tools at the end of this article with links to where you can get them.

deep red leather bucket bag
Bag dimensions:  36 Height, 27 Width and 14 Depth.

1. Start with cutting a big rectangle of leather that measures 43cm x 86cm. 

That is big and here’s why: when using one piece you have to take into account the whole length - so the height (36cm) each side (x2) + depth (14cm) of the bag = 86cm. Whilst the width runs across the front of the bag (27cm), half way around the side (7cm) x 2 (for each side) and into a 1cm seam x 2 (for each side), so: 27 width + (7x2) + (2X1) = 43cm

Tip: Cut the leather perfectly. This really helps improve the finish of the bag.

2. Fusing. I always use the heaviest fusing I can find. I cut it really carefully and exactly so that it can also act as a guide for me to sew the leather. Also, when its applied perfectly it gives a superb finish. Sizes: for the sides I cut 2 rectangles that are 36cm x 41cm. For the base I cut 1 rectangle that is 27cm x 14cm. Then I iron them on placing the big pieces exactly 1cm from the edges and the bottom piece exactly central. Also making sure there is a little gap between the fusing sheets to allow the leather to fold nicely. 

iron on fusing

3.I fold the piece so the the top edges are perfectly aligned and I clip everything together because its big and heavy and I don’t want it to move when I am sewing. Then I start from the top and sew all the way down the edge of the fusing and I stop where that one piece of fusing stops, I don't go all the way to the bottom!

ready to sew

4.Then I glue open my seams. Careful not to get glue anywhere it can be seen.

leather workshop

4. Now I need to sew in the gusset that gives the bag the depth. Whilst the bag is still inside out I squash the bag so that the two side seams are lined up and touching. This gives me two triangles either side of the fusing I ironed on for the base. Squashing it also forces the bag to give me square and easy access to sew the gusset. Now I can sew along the short edge of the fusing that I ironed on for the base. I can now cut off the excess leather.

make a bucket bag

5. Now the bag looks like a bag! Time to put the holes in. I use a hollow punching tool that you can get on eBay. Fact: With bucket bags you can either do 8 holes or 12 holes !!

nearly made a bucket bag

6. Straps: I make the strap and the cord/tie exactly the same way. I glue two pieces of leather together, then I cut the lengths and width I want. By doing it this way around I make sure I can get a clean edge which helps give a professional finish.

I use rivets to fix the strap. I have a rivet press which, but I used to set rivets with a hammer. However, if you don’t have good quality rivets the won’t set properly and will look a right mess! So, if you are using a hammer, practice first!

7. The toggleThis is one length of leather, wrapped around the cord and fixed in place with two rivets. The key here is putting the holes in the leather in the right places. Using a pen really helps. Mark two points in the middle of your leather, these are where your rivets will sit. Use a hole punch to make two holes. wrap the toggle around the leather ties as if it was working properly, then stick a pen through the holes you have made to mark where the other sets of holes should be. Now you can fit the rivets.

I hope this is helpful - you can always get in touch if you get a bit stuck!

Good luck!

Cutting mat:

Rotary blade:

Stanley Knife -

Awl for scoring and marking leather-

Bonded Nylon Thread:


Teflon Foot:

D-rings and Trigger Hooks: