Making a Leather Fringe Purse

Project Summary: Learn how to make a leather fringe purse. We’re going to use a 4-to-5-ounce pebble grain chrome-tanned leather side to create a purse with 10-inch fringe on both ends. We’ll add an 8-by-8-inch pouch with a gusset and attach our shoulder straps with 1-inch nickel plated D rings. The last step is to add a concho as a flap closure, giving this leather fringe handbag a rustic yet professional look that will last for years.

Approximate Time to Complete: 3 hours

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  • Pebble Grain Super Soft Leather Side, Black, 5/6 oz. (09-1007S-BK)
  • Pattern Sheet, 24" x 45" (65-4110)
  • 4' Straight Edge (65-3033)
  • Steel Square, 12" x 8" (3608)
  • Cushion Grip Snap Off Knife (65-2860)
  • Economy Punch (CSO223)
  • Maul, 24 oz. (65-2500-24)
  • Master Tools Belt Punch, 1/8" (00082-2) (to punch rivet holes)
  • Master Tools Round Strap End Punch, 1" (00076-1)
  • Master Tools Belt Punch, 11/64" (00082-5) or 3/16" (00082-6) (to punch lace holes)
  • #2200 Double Cap Rivet, Nickel, ¼" (02200-NP-1/4)
  • Deluxe 4P Snap & Rivet Setter (65-6275)
  • 2 #Z452 Nickel Plated D Rings, 1"( 0Z452-NP-1)
  • Master Tools Oblong Punch, 1" (00072-1)
  • Jeremiah Watt Accented Floral Concho with Post, 1" (04211-BS-1)
  • Master Tools Belt Punch, 7/16" (00082-13) (to punch round hole for washer, which will go under concho)
  • English Point Strap End Punch, 1" (00078-1)
  • #149 Belt Buckle Nickel Brass, 1" (00149-NB-1)
  • Silent Poundo Board (3461-02)
  • Quartz Tooling Slab (3238)
  • Poly Cutting Board (65-2916)
  • Scissors
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Permanent Marker (to mark Pattern Sheet)
  • Gel Pen (to mark leather)

Step-by-Step Instructions (with pictures):

  1. Starting with a Steel Square, a Straight Edge and a piece of Pattern Sheet, mark the pattern for the main body at 8" x 34" with a Permanent Marker. Cut this panel out with your Knife.
  2. Draw a line 10" in from both ends of the 34" length for the stopping point for the fringe cuts.step2
  3. For the front panel of the pouch, cut an 8" x 8" square from the Pattern Sheet.
  4. Take a round object with an approximate diameter of 3" to 4" and draw in round corners on two of the corners on the 8" x 8" panel and cut. The side away from the round corners will be the top of the panel or “throat” of the pouch.
  5. To mark for the lace punch holes on the front pouch panel, start at the top right or left (away from the round corners) and make a mark at ½" from the top/throat and 3/8" in from the edge. Continue to mark at ½" increments around the round corners and to the top of the other side at the throat. Count the number of holes marked. Note: The lace holes for the pouch front, gusset and main body will all be ½" apart and 3/8" from the edge.step5
  6. For the gusset, cut a piece from the Pattern Sheet at 2" by 25" or 26" — we’ll be trimming some of this off later. Starting on either end, make a mark 3/8" from the edge and ½" from the end on both sides, and continue the marks at ½" increments along both edges of the gusset. Add the same number of holes that were added to the front panel. This will leave about 2" of gusset past the last holes, but we’ll trim this off once the pouch is laced together.step6
  7. With the Economy Punch set to one of the smaller holes, punch the holes in the gusset and front pouch panel patterns for the lace holes. Note: We’re using a small hole because the smaller the hole on the pattern, the more accurate the punched hole will be.
  8. Lay the front pouch pattern on the main body panel with the bottom edge (the side with both round corners) ¼" to ½" inside of one fringe line or the other, and mark the lace holes on the main body panel from the pouch panel. This will now determine “up” or “down” on the purse with the round corners being down, or the bottom of the bag.step8
  9. Place your Tooling Slab on top of your workbench. Place the Cutting Board on top of the Tooling Slab. With a Maul and either a 3/16" or 11/64" Belt Punch, punch the holes in the main body panel for the lace holes.step9
  10. To make the pattern for the billets that will hold the D Rings to the gusset, cut a piece of Pattern Sheet at 1" x 5". Make a mark on the center line at ½" in from both ends and then 1" inside of those marks. Punch these holes with a 1/8" Belt Punch. Then, punch a 1" Round Strap End Punch on both ends of the billet.step10
  11. On the gusset, make a mark on the center line 1" in from both ends, but remember that we have an extra 2" +/- on one end; so the mark on that end will start ½" outside of the last lace hole and, therefore, the first hole, at 1" from the end, will be even with the second lace hole. Make an additional mark 1" inside of each of these holes. Punch these holes with an 11/64" or 3/16" Belt Punch.step11
  12. Lay the patterns on your choice of leather and mark for 1 gusset, 1 main body panel, 1 front pouch panel and 2 strap billets. With a gel pen or scribe, mark all edges, lace holes and rivet holes; then, cut these pieces out with your Knife.step12
  13. Take the two billets and punch four rivet holes on each using either a 3/16" or 11/64" Belt Punch, and punch both ends of each with a 1" Round Strap End Punch.step13
  14. With either a 3/16" or 11/64" Belt Punch, punch the lace holes on the main body panel, gusset and front pouch panel.
  15. To cut the fringe, take a piece of Painter’s Tape or masking tape and lay this on the inside of the fringe mark line on both sides. This will be the top of the cut for the fringe strands.
  16. To cut the fringe, take a Steel Square and make your first cut, roughly, ¼" from and parallel to the edge starting at the tape line. Continue cutting strands across the main body panel. Repeat this on the other end so there is 10" of fringe on both ends of the main body panel. Note: To cut the last few strands, lay a piece of scrap leather from the project next to the panel so you’re square can lay flat and you will get cleaner strands as you approach the other side.step16
  17. To rivet the billets to the gusset, use ¼" Double Cap Rivets. Take the gusset and push two rivet posts through from the back, and lay flat on your Tooling Slab. Take one of the billets and push this down on the rivets with the two rivet holes. Note: The other end of the billet, with two empty rivet holes, will point away from middle of the gusset.
  18. Take a 1" D Ring and pull the end of the billet that points away from the gusset through the D Ring and push this end down on the rivets. The D Ring should be pointing away from the middle of the gusset. Set these two rivets with a Setter. Repeat with the other billet on the opposite end of the gusset.step18
  19. If you’re using pre-cut lace, cut four pieces at 36", or if you’re cutting from the leather you’re using, cut four 36" pieces at 3/16" to ¼" wide. Cut a taper or angled cut on both ends of the four pieces of lace.
  20. Take one piece of lace and pull it through from the back of the pouch panel and then through the gusset and leave about 3" or 4" outside.
  21. Lay the end of the gusset (pre-cut end and not the end with extra leather past the lace holes) against the top, or throat, of the pouch panel so the lace holes match up.
  22. Pull a piece of lace through the first hole from the front of the pouch panel and through the first hole of the gusset and leave about 3" or 4" of lace outside.
  23. As you lace down the side of the pouch, keep the extra 3 or 4 inches of lace tucked under the lacing on the gusset. This will secure that end of the lace.step23
  24. Lace down to the middle hole on the pouch panel and let the remaining lace hang freely. Repeat on the other side of the pouch.step24
  25. To lace the main body panel to the gusset, make sure you lay the top grain down, or away, from the pouch and lace with the suede side in. Repeat the same steps that we used to lace the pouch panel to the gusset. Use a buck stitch across the fringe side of the body panel. (Watch the video for further instruction.)step25
  26. When the main body is laced to the gusset, take a pair of Scissors and trim the excess from the end of the gusset to match the front pouch panel height.step26
  27. To add the closure, find the middle of the front flap by closing it over the pouch and measuring left to right and top to bottom. Note: It would help to stuff the pouch with some packing paper so the flap lays where it will when in use. This should put the mark at 4" inside of each edge and, roughly, 2 ½" from the top of the fringe cut. Punch a 1" oblong hole using your Oblong Punch, horizontally, on this mark.step27
  28. To mark the front pouch panel from the flap (for the concho), lay the flap over the front just like we did when we measured. Then center the flap and make a mark in the middle of the oblong hole on the front panel pouch, and punch with a 3/16" Belt Punch.step28
  29. Before adding the Concho, we need to make a washer so the concho stands a little above the main leather, making it act like a button. Using a ½" round punch or a 7/16" Master Tools Belt Punch (It’s a 1/16" difference, so it will work fine), punch out a piece of leather and then, with a 3/16" Belt Punch, punch a hole in the center of this piece. If you don’t have a ½” round punch, you can punch the smaller hole and then just cut around that with some Scissors; just remember that the washer needs to be about half the size of the concho.step29
  30. Place the washer on the Concho, and then push the Concho post through the hole in the face of the pouch panel. Add the screw from the back. Note: Add a dab of white glue to the screw to keep it from working itself out over time. A light glue is best so we can change out the concho if it is ever damaged or a simple change is wanted.step30
  31. To cut the shoulder straps, we’ll need to cut two straps from the leather. The first will be 1" x 33" (tongue strap) and one at 1" x 18" (buckle strap).
  32. On one end of both straps, use the billet pattern, square to the end of the strap and mark the four holes for rivets on both strap ends just like the billet. Use a 1" Round Strap End Punch on both strap ends.step32
  33. On the buckle strap, lay the billet pattern at the other end and mark the same four rivet holes. Both ends of the Buckle strap will have the same four holes.
  34. On the tongue side, measure 3" in from the opposite end of the strap and, on the center line, make a mark.
  35. From this mark (3" from end) measure and mark for five holes (can include first hole or not) on the center line and at 1" increments inwardly on the strap.step35
  36. On the buckle strap, punch the rivet holes with a 1/8" Belt Punch. Using your 1" Oblong Punch, make an oblong hole between the two center rivet holes on one end — punch one end only. Use a 1" Round Strap End Punch on both ends of the strap.
  37. For the tongue side, punch the four rivet holes on one end and the five “size” holes on the other. On the end with the four rivet holes, use a 1" Round Strap End Punch and on the opposite end use a 1" English Point Strap End Punch.
  38. To set a buckle in the buckle strap, take your 1" center bar Buckle (1" heel bar is OK; there is room for a keeper between the two rivets) and bring the strap from underneath the back portion of the buckle. Bring it up and over the buckle tine, allowing the tine to slip through the oblong hole, and push down and through the front portion of the buckle. Pull this tab back and under the buckle and strap and rivet the buckle in with Rivets in the two rivet holes.step38
  39. To attach the straps to the body, figure out if you want to carry the bag on the right or left. Hold the pouch on the side of your body where you want to carry it, and the side in the front will be where the buckle strap will attach.
  40. To rivet the buckle strap to the gusset, set the pouch upright and hold the buckle strap up, as if it were attached to the pouch, with the top grain out. Take the bottom of the strap and bend it inward, and pull up through the D Ring. You’ll see where the four rivet holes match up. Set two Rivets to secure the strap to the D Ring.step40
  41. To attach the tongue side, repeat the step above on the other side of the pouch.
  42. Your project is now complete!step42