Home Ec {Weekend Tote}

Can you believe your eyes? Yessiree. I have finally completed another Home Ec project! I think it has been about a year since the last, so it was LONG overdue. And what inspired me to tackle another project? Well, this upcoming weekend, I have a big illustration getaway planned, and I wanted a cute bag to carry all my stuff. Instead of buying one, I remembered the Home Ec tutorial for the Weekend Tote and decided to make it for the occasion!

Since this was one of the later projects, it would definitely be one of the more challenging. But I figured I've had some practice making various bags the last year (here and here), and I thought it wouldn't be too bad. Plus, this one called for some leather - how fun is that?!?

In lieu of buying some new leather online, where I wouldn't really know EXACTLY what I'm looking for, or what I was going to get for the money, I decided to scour the thrift stores for an old leather jacket that I could upcycle. But, I found an even COOLER option:

LEATHER CHAPS! Ohhhhh yeahhhhh!

They're XL, so I HAD to stand that way just to keep them up on my hips. :-D
But XL means lots of leather - exactly what I needed. The largest panel required for the bag was 18"x18". Unfortunately, there wasn't a section of leather from the chaps that didn't have a seam running through the middle. See how the legs were broken up into panels?

I decided to go for it anyways. After ripping apart one leg, I thought it would be cool to incorporate the big zipper from the chaps as well. And thankfully, it was JUST long enough!

As far as the fabric upper portion went, I decided to finally use the cute  Echino bike fabric I bought at Purl SoHo almost 2 years ago. The black leather would look great with the colors of the fabric. And as for the lining, since this would be a pretty heavy-duty tote, I wanted to use some heavier fabric - I ended up using some red and white striped upholstery fabric from IKEA. I was all set and ready to start sewing!

The basic bag construction was pretty simple. The tedious part was making all of the little leather accessories - the handles...the zipper tabs, etc. Sewing leather means taking it slow - but it was SO worth it in the long run. I LOVE how it turned out!

You can see where there is a seam running through the bottom panel and the leather handles. I really don't mind it, especially when there is such a good story to go along with it. And doesn't that zipper look badass? If the biker dudes only knew how cute their leather chaps could look...