Scrappy Patchwork Leather Bucket Bag




Introduction: Scrappy Patchwork Leather Bucket Bag

About: I have always enjoyed making things and am one of those people who will walk into a shop, see something manufactured and need to figure out how I could make it rather than buying it.

I frequently volunteer with FabMo, a California-based non-profit centered around reducing textile waste. They often get small leather sample swatches and scraps. I'd been brainstorming projects that these small pieces could be used for when I saw a picture of a traditional half-square triangle quilt online. Instant inspiration. I cut my swatches and scraps into 2.25" squares, then into triangles, and used a basic sewing machine and zig zag stitch to sew them together into a bucket style bag approximately 7.5" tall and 22" in diameter at the top.

Regardless of whether you've accumulated lots of small leather scraps from other projects, found small pieces of leather at a creative reuse store, or have an abundance of small leather swatches, this project is a great scrap buster, and the technique can be used for other items as well such as wallets, garments, watchbands, and more.


  • Assorted pieces of lightweight leather to patchwork together for the body of the bag (if using my measurements, you'll need 40 2.25" squares)
  • A slightly larger piece of leather for the bottom of the bag (if using my measurements, you'll need a piece about 5.5" x 8")
  • A long piece of leather, fabric, or webbing for the strap (mine was .75" x 33")
  • Cotton or other lightweight fabric for the lining (amount will depend on the size of your bag; if using my measurements, you'll need about 1/3 yard, more if adding pockets)
  • Mid-weight fusible interfacing (such as Pellon Decor Bond)
  • Sewing materials (thread, sewing machine with a leather needle, scissors, iron and ironing board, etc.)

Step 1: Create the Patchwork Pieces

For this half-square triangle pattern, you will need 40 squares, cut into 80 triangles. Begin by cutting your leather scraps/pieces into squares. Then cut those squares diagonally in half to form triangles. My squares are 2.25", but choose any dimensions that work for you and your scraps/final bag size.

Note: Because we are using leather rather than fabric, and are going to be placing these pieces side by side, we do not need to add seam allowance to any of these pieces.

Step 2: Design the Patchwork Panels

Lay out your triangles and arrange them into a pattern that you like. I was able to find enough shades of white/cream swatches that I could alternate white, color, white, color, but you could make it completely random, create pinwheels, or anything you find visually pleasing.

Cut your interfacing to match the shape you have arranged your pieces in. I made 2 panels and sewed them together, but would recommend instead making one long panel.

Step 3: Sew the Patchwork Panels

With the interfacing glue-side facing up, transfer your first two columns of pieces onto the left-most side of the interfacing. Make sure that the edges of each piece are flush against the adjoining pieces. Do not iron (yet).

Set your sewing machine for a short, wide zig zag stitch. Sew the length of the two columns, making sure to catch alternating pieces with each zig/zag.

Repeat until you have sewn all of the columns to the interfacing.

Turn the panel and sew the same zig zag stitch along each row of pieces, again making sure to catch the alternating pieces with each zig/zag.

Turn the panel again and repeat the previous step to sew the diagonal lines of the triangles together.

Following the instructions for your particular interfacing, use an iron or heat press to fuse the interfacing to the leather. Make sure to place your panel leather side down and use a pressing cloth between the back of the interfacing and the iron.

Step 4: Cut the First Lining Piece

Use your patchwork leather panel as a template, adding 1/2" seam allowance one one of the shorter sides of the lining. Set this lining piece aside for a later step.

Step 5: Sew the Body of the Bag

Bring the two short ends of the patchwork panel together and sew them with the same zig zag stitch used in the previous steps. This will require squishing and manipulating the tube to fit the seam under the presser foot. If your machine balks at doing this, you can place the two sides right sides together and sew a traditional straight stitch to form the tube.

Step 6: Sew the Bottom of the Bag

With your patchwork piece sewn into a tube, place it standing up on a piece of paper or fabric. Adjust it to be the shape you want your bag to be and trace the resulting shape onto the paper or fabric. Cut one out of your lining fabric (set this aside) and one out of leather.

With your bag right side in and the bottom piece face down, use sewing clips (or binder clips) to attach the bottom oval/circle to the bottom of the body of the bag.

Sew this seam using a straight stitch.

Step 7: Sew the Lining

If you want to add pockets to the inside of the bag, do so now.

If not adding pockets, or after you have added any potential pockets, fold the lining in half (right sides together) to match the patchwork panel. Using a straight stitch, sew the side seam, leaving a several inch gap (you will later use this opening to turn the bag right side out).

With your bag right side in and the bottom piece face down, use sewing clips (pins) to attach the bottom oval/circle to the bottom of the body of the bag.

If adding a closure, such as magnetic snaps, this is the time to do so.

Step 8: Attach the Main Bag to the Lining

Turn the outer (patchwork) bag right side out. With the lining right side in, place the patchwork bag inside the lining, aligning the top seams and making sure the right sides are touching. Use sewing clips to hold the layers together. Sew with a straight stitch.

Turn the bag right side out, using the opening left in the lining. Sew the opening closed.

Optional: Topstitch around the upper edge of the bag to keep the lining in place.

Step 9: Attach the Strap

Cut your strap to your desired length.

  • If using leather, finish all edges as desired.
  • If using a nylon or polyester strap, consider melting the edges to prevent fraying.

Using either a straight stitch or a zig zag stitch, sew the strap to the sides of the bag.

Step 10: Trim Any Loose Threads and Enjoy Your New Bag

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    5 days ago



    Reply 4 days ago


    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    8 days ago

    Thanks for sharing! I love how this came out, love that patchwork look :)


    Reply 8 days ago

    Thanks! I want to try the same concept with other quilt patterns now, too!


    Reply 8 days ago

    Thank you!


    Reply 8 days ago

    Thank you!