Mustard yellow leather bag

This bag was long overdue, so I finally managed to squeeze in another HotPatterns Nairobi bag this weekend, made for about the 6th time now(?) I think!

It was originally a download-only freebie pattern, but it’s been long discontinued until a few weeks ago, when they started selling it again in paper form for a limited time! I highly, highly recommend getting this pattern if you don’t have it already!

I find it’s really difficult to photograph bag linings once they’re done, so I’ve taken some photos of the lining before assembly so you can clearly see my pockets!

Here’s the side with my organisational pockets (and the reverse so you can see the stitching lines). From the left I’ve got: my FehrTrade Moo cards (with the removable key leash attached to the edge), two pen pockets, a headphone pocket with a velcro strap (the shape of the headphone case means it’s always popping out otherwise!), and my Oyster card / business card pocket.

And on the other side, I’ve got two zippered pockets. The top (red) one is for miscellaneous small stuff like chapstick, USB keys, nail files, tiny mirror, etc. The smaller (green) pocket is made of fleece with the exception of the top strip, and is a lovely cushiony home for my iPhone!

The mustard yellow leather was something I’ve had in mind for my next handbag for ages now, but I usually get my leather very cheaply from the leather jacket shops near my office and they’ve only got limited colours like black, brown, claret, and dark green. So I bought this super soft leather on Goldhawk Road and even though it was twice the price (still, under £30 for the two skins) I’m really happy I stuck around for the colour I’d been dreaming of.

Leather’s really not difficult at all to sew yourself, either. You just need a leather needle and either a roller, teflon, or walking foot, and a few paperclips to hold it all together instead of pins. I never use an iron, either, instead just pressing seams open with my fingers on my sewing desk.

This bag is a really quick one for me to whip up now, even with all my lining customisations. I sewed up the lining after about two hours on Sunday, and then that long again on Bank holiday Monday and I’ve transferred my things over and wore it out to work on Tuesday!

Here it is with its most recent predecessor:

Yes, I used the same Alexander Henry lining on both, but that’s because I really like it and it makes me happy to see it each day! And this is my third straight Nairobi bag in a row, with various pocket improvements along the way. I made my last one (seen above) in November 2007, so that’s a good 18 months of hard wear, (ab)using it every day. You can’t get much more useful than something you’ll be seen with nearly every day, so it’s got to be functional, hard wearing, AND stylish, which these bags totally are.

You know what? I think this version is even better! And that’s not just because my brand new red passport arrived today!!

As you’ll recall, I only naturalised as a British citizen two months ago so this is very, very exciting! (and we’re not allowed to smile or wear glasses in British passport photos, fyi).

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