Leather Cup Jacket

1There’s something infinitely comfortable and classic about Kerr jars. Their look is timeless, they are easy to find and they are wonderfully replaceable when I fumble and drop one on the kitchen floor. However, a no-handle glass cup is definitely not the way to cradle a hot drink. Using some simple leather working skills and a few new tools, you can make a great insulator jacket.

Materials

leather scrap (I used 11oz bridle leather)

waxed cord thread

half-pint mason jars

Tools

rotary knife

cutting mat

metal ruler

leather needle

leather hole punch

leather edger

Over-stitch marker

stitch groover

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Instructions

  1. First cut some leather rectangles to create the wrap. These jars are mostly straight cylinders, so don’t worry about any curvatures. If you’re using a different shaped cup, you can adjust the pattern. Cut your leather to a 2 1/4″ x 8 7/8″ rectangle.3
  2. Using a tool called an edger, you can round the hard edge of the leather. It’s a simple tool to use — just push it against the edge of the leather, and it will trim the corner. I edged the top and bottom, just on the front side.4
  3. For a decorative element, I used a stitch groover to cut small channels into the leather. It has an adjustment guide on it, so you can set it to different depths and make multiple parallel grooves. This is normally used to sink your stitches, but left open, it creates a nice contrast design in the leather.5
  4. Once your pieces are edged and designs have been cut, it’s time to punch holes for sewing. I used another tool, called a stitch spacer, to make perfectly spaced marks for punching holes. Make sure you start your spacing at the same place on each side so your holes align, and use a straight-edge or ruler to keep the line straight to the edges. Then with your hole punch, create holes along the stitch marks.6 7
  5. The last step is stitching. I knotted an end, started at the bottom and fully laced the seam once. Once completed, I laced back down the seam again for a strong doubled stitch. At the end, I pulled the remaining thread up through the underside of the stitch. The cord is so waxy that it will hold itself in place.8

You can certainly experiment with the design on the sleeve and the stitch patterns. Maybe try stamping patterns into the leather using tools or stamps or even something like a rock to create interesting patterns and textures. There are many ways to customize it.9

DIY – Leather Lunch Tote

1Today I’ll share you a fun DIY project of leather lunch tote. It may be a great choice to bring some healthy food with a cool lunch tote. Maybe you are not often bring lunch as work but it will also be nice to practice your hand sewing and to make something interesting.2

Before starting, print out the template on your printer using the “tile” function and tape it together to 100% scale. The one shown in the pic was an earlier version before I decided to cut the flaps separately. You can cut this from one piece of leather, but there’s more waste with the voids than with making separate flaps. If you modify this for your own project, maybe it’s smart to use one piece? That’s where this experiment can get really fun.3

Materials

6–7 oz. weight stiff leather

heavy waxed thread

Tools

leather punches — #5 and #00

leather sewing needles

contact cement

rotary knife

ruler

stitching spacer

Instructions

  1. Cut your leather pieces and trim any frayed edges to a smooth cut. I’m using leather that is 6 to 7 oz. thick, and you’ll need something stiff to provide strength for the handle. If you want to use thinner leather, try cutting an additional handle from the template and sew those two pieces together for more stiffness.4 5
  2. Take each of your interior flaps and prepare to mark your sewing holes. Using your stitching spacer and a ruler or straight edge, mark your holes. Use a stitching spacer with a large void, as we’ll be using thick thread, and a long stitch works best.6
  3. Glue the flaps aiming inward to your main piece with contact cement. Use only a strip under where the stitching will go so your pieces stay aligned when punching holes and sewing.7 8
  4. Once the glued pieces have set up, you can start punching holes for sewing. I’m using a punch, but you can use an awl instead. Punch holes according to the spacing marks through both pieces of glued leather. While you’re at it, pinch the handle-receiver end together and also the flap ends and punch some sewing holes through both layers there, too. You can freehand them, but try to maintain the stitch spacing you’ve been using.9 10
  5. The final step is to hand-sew your pieces with two needles and thick waxed thread. Using the two-needle method and backstitching on your ends will give you a sturdy, long-lasting seam.11