DIY Tutorial: Black Leather Shopping Tote (Juu’s)

December 10, 2011

With one yard of pleather from Chinatown (~ SGD$14), both Juu and Ros set out to make their own leather totes which they would use on a regular basis. Here’s Juu’s rendition — Inspired by the calfskin shopping totes from Maison Martin Margiela.

The Original, with a pricetag of € 386.20 from Luisaviaroma

Here are the materials needed:

  • Leather (or any other fabric you prefer)
  • Scissors/Craft cutter
  • Measuring tape/ long ruler
  • Pins
  • Fabric Pen (not pictured)
  • Grocery Bag


1. Firstly, find a grocery bag the desired size of your bag and measure it. Here are the approximate measurements of my bag.


2. Cut out the correct amount of leather — this might get tricky. Turn it inside out and sew down the sides.

Length = 2 x 12″ (width) + 4 x 2″ (handle width) = 43″

Height = 21″ (height of bag + handle drop)


This is how it should look like after you’re done.


Here’s a closeup. Turn it over to the right-side and start working on your tote!


3. Lay the piece flat on a table and push the sewn side inwards as shown. Make sure that both sides are folded in to the desired width of the handle you want to achieve. Pin it down and repeat to the other side.


4. Sew straight across the bottom on top of the folded sides, securing it all down.


5. Now working on the top, use a fabric pen and draw out the handles. You can simply cut out a rectangle but I chose to add a slight curve.



This is how mine looks when it’s done! Remember to cut through only TWO pieces of fabric & not the folded in sides!!!


6. Should you try and carry the bag now, you’ll find that there are no “holes” for the handles. Snip downwards as in the picture (for the side without the seam) to create the armholes for the handles.


7. For the side with the seam, simply snip downwards right beside the seams, cutting them away and creating a hole for the handle.


8. Finally, sew the top of the handles together!


You’re done!!! :D


I took my bag for a spin while meeting my friend in town for waffles and it fits just everything I need! I specifically had it sized to be able to contain at least A4 papers so I can use it for school as well. Yay to reusable pleather shopping totes! Hope you’ve liked this tutorial! We’ll love to hear from you! xx

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  • Reply Emmelyn October 21, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Hi! May I know where did you buy the leather from in Chinatown? (:
    Love your site! Am gonna try my hands in making one too!

    • Reply Ros C. October 22, 2012 at 12:14 am

      Hi Emmelyn! We got our leather from Brighton, which is located on the second floor of the people’s park food centre (next to OG). Thank you and have fun making your tote! ^^

  • Reply Vivien November 19, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    I am absolutely IN LOVE with your website, looking forward to more!

    Just curious, and perhaps this may be a little silly question, but where did you purchase your measuring tape? ;]

    • Reply Ros C. November 22, 2012 at 1:30 am

      Hello Vivien, thank you!! So sweet of you. You can get the measuring tape almost anywhere! Perhaps try any of the button shops in Chinatown or daiso :)

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