M.I.Y. (Make It Yourself) - Envelope Pouch

At Rural Kind, Mike is the chief designer and is often doodling designs in the evenings and weekends. It takes time to translate designs into products that we are completely happy to sell, and so a lot of the doodling gets left to one side. So for some time now we have been toying with the idea of putting a few tutorials together so that some of these designs can be put to use.

So, this is the first of what we hope will be at least a monthly occurrence of mini diy/tutorials to make something of use (and have a fun time in the process).

We thought we'd start things off with a fairly simple leather envelope-style pouch big enough to hold some credit cards, business cards, or some pennies, and which doesn't need a hundred different tools to get started.

Materials needed:
a piece of leather (at least 132mm square and we use leather about 2mm thick); a Sam Browne Stud; waxed linen thread.

Tools needed (feel free to improvise here):
A cutting mat; a metal ruler; a sharp cutting knife (we use a retractable stanley-style blade); a 2.5 & 5mm hole punch (a rotary punch is great for convenience); 1 pence and 2 pence coins; a propelling pencil or awl (or something pointy); a leather sewing needle (or a blunt needle with a big eye); the template (click to download the pdf) printed onto a piece of A4

To make:
First, print off the template (making sure to turn off any scaling and/or resizing before printing) and cut out the main square of the template as well as the hatched triangles. Leave the curved corner bits alone (we'll get to those later). Lay the template on top of the leather and use some masking tape to fix the template securely onto the leather.

Using a pencil (or awl) trace around the template (you can lie a ruler on top of the template to help trace the straight lines) and mark all the holes that will need punching (we use the awl to pierce through the template so that a small dot is left on the leather - this gives the central mark for positioning the hole punch). See the line that comes down from the 5mm hole?  Pierce a dot at the end of the line so that you know where the line finishes.

Remove the template and with your excellent knife skills cut the pattern out of the leather (as you did for tracing around the template you can use a ruler to line up against the traced lines to help guide the knife, and to get nice clean straight edges). Now take your penny piece and your two pence piece and use those to cut the curved corners of the leather. All the corners are actually 2p corners except for the tips of the two side triangles which are 1p corners (if you prefer an angled look, you can leave the corners as they are, but we prefer the gently rounded look).

Next punch out all the holes using a 2.5mm punch, except for the Sam Browne stud hole - this needs to be a 5mm hole punch. After you've punched the 5mm hole, you can grab your ruler and knife, cut a line from the hole to that dot you marked earlier on (this cut line gives the Sam Browne stud a little extra room to pass through the hole closure). We sometimes use a small (1mm) punch at the end of the cut line to end off the slit nicely and to stop the leather tearing in the future.

Now all the corners have been rounded and holes punched its time to give the leather a little buff. Our leather often comes with white patches on the surface (sometimes referred to as bloom) which is just the remnants of the fats and waxes that are used by the tannery to finish the leather. Using a little scrap of felt or canvas fabric rub vigorously in a circular motion and bring the leather to a nice gentle shine. We're getting close now!

To make the sewing a little easier and to start to give the pouch some shape, gently fold over all four triangular sides in towards the middle. It should be fairly obvious now how the stitch holes line up with each other (the two stitch holes either side of the middle hole on the bottom triangle should line up with the lower holes on each of the side triangles). Depending on how flexible your leather is you may need to apply a little force here but we're after a gentle rounded fold not a hard crease.

Now just before sewing, get your Sam Browne stud and fix it through the middle hole of the bottom triangle. The studs we use have a threaded screw and a separate button part so it's just a matter of screwing the two together with the leather clamped in the middle.

Final stage is the stitching. We've used a 7-ply waxed linen thread - thicker than what we generally use on our hand stitched leather goods, but there's just the one stitch on each side of the pouch, and so we thought the thicker thread might be a good fit. Feel free to use a thinner thread, just be aware that you may want to sew the loop a few more times so that the punched stitch holes are suitably filled.

Start the stitch from the inside leaving a reasonable length of tail which we will use to tie off the stitch at the end. Loop the thread through the holes round and round a few times (Mike looped 5-6 times), but don't pull the thread tight as you do it. When you think you've got enough loops, pull each loop tight. Make sure you finish with the thread on the inside, and tie a knot with the tail of the other end as close to the back as possible and trim the threads. Repeat on the other side.

Fold down the top triangle and press over the stud, and there you have one envelope pouch.