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Simple Leather Tote | DIY

It's been a while since i've shared a DIY project on my blog and recently I realized how much I missed it. Creating DIY projects to share on my blog is energizing for me and takes a lot of pressure off since I also make leather goods for Shop Always Rooney. I hope you enjoy this simple leather tote project. It is a great beginner project and you'll leave with something you can use every day!

I'm not usually one to carry around a big tote (admittedly, this turned out larger than I planned) but with a water bottle, notebooks and extra books in tow I've enjoyed having more space to carry around daily necessities.

When exploring this idea, I knew I wanted to use a soft pliable leather and keep it hardware free on the exterior so it kept a more relaxed feel as opposed to a structured bag. I feel like the tube straps did just that!

You'll love this tote because:
- its so simple to make!
- the large middle panel is one piece which makes it strong so you don't have to worry about seams breaking.
- the soft camel leather keeps it relaxed and goes with everything.
- the inside pocket keeps small things organized.
- it has a key hook so no more digging for your keys
- you can make it any size to fit your needs.
- it is easily customizable.

Now let's get to it!

About two yards of leather, leather glue, clips, scissors or rotary cutter, 7 inch zipper, rivet and rivet setter, keychain hook, and sewing machine with matching thread and leather needle.

How To:
First make the body of the bag.
- Cut one rectangle panel for the middle to measure 11in x 40 in.
- Cut two rectangle side panels to measure 5 in x 15 in.
- Line one rectangle up to the top of the middle panel with the good side of the leather facing each other. You'll follow the long side of the side panel and glue it in place.
- Glue in place by first adding a thin layer of glue to both pieces and letting it dry until it is tacky. Then press the panels together and use a clip to hold it in place.
- Repeat this around the rest of the side panel rectangle and then on the opposite side of the bag with the second panel.
- After the glue dries, sew along the sides you just glued together. Don't forget to backstitch at the beginning and end. You can burn the threads to make sure they don't come unraveled.
- Fold the bag right side out.

Next, make the inside zipper pocket.
- Cut a rectangle measuring about 9 in x 6 in.
- About .25 inches from the top of the rectangle, cut a .5 in x 7in strip for your zipper.
- Attach the zipper by lining it into the strip and sewing around the sides of the strip.
- Cut another rectangle measuring 9 in x 8 in.
- Sew the first rectangle on top of the second with the insides facing each other. You'll have about two inches at the top left that you will fold over and sew to finish off nicely.

Create a quick keychain holder.
- Cut a strip of leather that measures .75 in x 6 in.
- Fold this in half and slide on the keychain hook.
- Punch a hole right below where the hook lays and attach a rivet with your rivet setter.

Next, make the straps.
- Cut two long rectangle pieces measuring 3 in x 24 in.
- Fold each piece in half and sew along the side to create a tube.

Finish it up.
- Now, attach the straps by measuring 4 in in on the sides of the bag and gluing in place. Use clips to hold while this dries.
- Sew along the top of the bag to secure the straps. You can follow this thread along in a square or x pattern to make sure they are strong!
- For the other side of the bag, line up where you want the pocket and strap to go. Put the strap behind the pocket and clip in place. Go back and glue the strap and pocket and sew along the top.
- Finally, glue and make a few stitches for the keyhook.

That's it! You have a new simple leather tote!

Other ideas to customize this tote:
- change up the side panels and use a different leather color or a sturdy canvas.
- go smaller in the scale of the bag body and make the handles longer
- add an outside pocket

I hope you enjoy making something new with a few materials to stretch a creative itch you may have. This bag helped me do just that :)


The Simple Joy of Making Something

This past weekend I spent some time making things around the house. First, my plan was to makethis dress and call it quits. But the creating bug bit me and it ended up being such a fun weekend making little things here and there. 

That’s what originally started this blog, Always Rooney, that has over the years turned in to a brand. I personally needed this past weekend. I needed to be reminded of the simple joy of making something for fun..even when they didn't turn out perfectly. For me, my view of God enlarges every time I slow down to create for fun. I think that’s with anything you’re gifted in. Whether that be creativity, speaking, writing, dancing, running, caring for others, cooking...I think He uses these things to connect with us more personally. 

I’ve been thinking about how God is The Master Weaver. He takes everything - good and bad- and weaves it together making sure there are no loose threads. Have you looked at fabric closely and noticed how many threads make up just one square inch? Hundreds! He weaves people, stories, purposes, triumphs and tragedies and makes everything beautiful in its time. 

Schedule in more time to just create or whatever you are gifted in or whatever simply brings you joy!

Here are the tutorials for what I made in case you're itching to make something!

Linen Slip Dress (I made mine into a skirt), A Linen Tank (no tutorial yet, just copied a shirt I already had), No Knead Bread and Simple Flower Arrangements


The Making of Always Rooney Spring 2019 Collection

This is the first year I've launched a limited release collection for Always Rooney and I'm so excited to share how it all came together! First, I came across the perfect yellow leather randomly while shopping for leather, I was nervous to buy it but knew it was the perfect shade that is hard to come by. When I buy leather it is already dyed a color or specific shade so it is difficult to come by large quantities since I have a small brand and I'm not having the leather dyed myself. This made the color selection process pretty interesting.

I looked all over for the perfect colors to play off of the yellow leather and landed on four spring colors to complement the tan and black that will stay as capsule colors in the shop.

After some planning, sketching and prototyping I landed on this clutch design that you can carry by itself or throw it in a larger tote. Plus the wrist strap helps carry the clutch hands free!

These colors were a little outside of my comfort zone since I've always used black and brown to create products. With a new season comes new growth so I feel this collection represents that new growth. Things that are going on behind the scenes that you just can't see yet and new ideas coming to life. It has been so fun to put together that I am already scheming the next collection. (pssst it will be so different!)

Not only did I release new colors but a new product: leather journals! I have always kept a journal since I was young. I journal every morning and often at night to write out my thoughts, prayers, ideas and gratitude lists. I have seen so much growth in my life from this and looking back on years of journaling is the quickest way to turn a day around because I'm rereading moments of God's faithfulness. You don't need a fancy journal to start but sometimes a pretty one is just the inspiration you need.

Every journal can be customized with a different quote or name in gold foil. Plus, they fit perfectly in the round leather bag!

It has been so fun to create a limited edition collection and has really stretched my creativity. I can't wait for the next one!

Colors are limited and a few colors only have one or two products left!