Another red leather handbag

The changing of the seasons… the circle of life… and another Nairobi leather handbag for me!

I’ve become a bit boring with my handbags, but I just love everything about the Hot Patterns Nairobi bag and my own little evolutionary improvements that I just can’t bring myself to mess with a good thing. My mustard handbag has lasted over two years of heavy, every day use now, but it’s on its last legs, so it was time to create a new one.

This bag is very similiar to the bag I made Pip for Christmas last year, but without the central strip (I find it just too big with it in!), and with my own special lining pockets added inside.

The leather is leftover from Pip’s bag, and I was able to squeeze this out of the nearly-complete hide that was leftover. I’d bought this super soft, cow’s leather from Global Leathers when we were in NYC, and the brass rings in the strap are from Botani, bought on the same trip. I’d actually bought two skins of pearlised green leather to make myself a handbag, but Frugal Me realised that if I made this using the red leather, I’d have enough green to then make clothing instead of a bag…

Here’s a shot of my internal lining pockets, but I pretty much did the exact same configuration as in my previous handbag, so you can see the photos in that post. Even the lining fabric has stayed the same in my last three handbags, but this was the last of the Alexander Henry “Light Bright” quilting cotton, so I’ll have to change it up next time.

On one side, I’ve got two zippered pockets – the top for various small bits like chapstick, emery boards, eye drops, pills, mirror, etc, and the lower pocket is lined in black fleece so my iPhone is nice and cosy and unscratched.

The pockets on the opposite side of the lining are patch pockets specifically sized to carry: my Oystercard (tube/bus pass), headphones (with added velcro closure), pens, and business cards. I’ve also got a matching, long key leash with a closing clip so I can unlock my front door without fear of my keys dropping in the river!

To be perfectly honest, my crazy personalised pockets have forever spoiled me from purchased handbags ever again.

This must be the 8th? 9th? time I’ve made this Hot Patterns Nairobi bag pattern, no exaggeration. It was originally offered as a free pdf download pattern, but it’s so popular now that you can actually order a paper pattern from Hot Patterns now, and it’s well, well worth the $15.

To anticipate the inevitable “You can sew leather?” questions – yes! Get yourself some sewing machine needles for leather, and a rolling, teflon, or walking foot, and off you go. The only important thing to remember is that pins and needles leave permanent holes, so you can’t use pins (those plastic prawn clips that come in men’s shirts are a good substitute), and you have to be very sure your seams are correct before you sew, as any ripped out seams will leave holes that weaken the leather.

This is only the first of my enthusiastic Fall sewing over the past week or two, but there’s plenty more to share later…

Leave a Reply