I’ve been promising a fringe tutorial for what feels like forever, and I just got my sewing machine back from a tune-up, so it was time to give it a go. I was inspired by some DIY fringe ideas I rounded up here and here, but the bag ended up as kind of a cross between this one and this one. It might be my perfect summer bag, just refined and simple enough to be able to go easily from music festivals to brunches and everything in between.
Leather (medium weight)
Leather sewing machine needle
D-rings, 1-inch wide
Bag strap or chain (You can buy one pre-made, or recycle one from an old bag)
Swivel hooks and split rings to attach them, if your bag strap doesn’t have them
1. Measure and cut four pieces of leather.
Bag body: 18.5 inches by 11 inches
Fringe: 9.5 inches by 11 inches
Two strips: 1 inch by 4 inches
2. On the 11-inch wide edges of the body piece, insert the magnetic clasp. On the back/wrong side, measure to the center (5 1/2 inches) and 1 inch down from the top edge and mark with chalk. Place the metal backing piece of the magnetic clasp so it’s centered and the bottom is on the 1 inch mark, and mark the holes with a bit of chalk. Use a seam ripper to make small holes and insert the magnetic clasp prongs through the hole from the right side of the leather. Cut a small square of interfacing with holes for the prongs, and place this on the prongs, followed by the metal backing piece. Fold the prongs inward to secure. (This video shows the whole process of inserting a magnetic clasp, if you’re at all confused.)
Repeat on the other short edge of the body piece.
3. Take one of the edges that you just added the clasp to, and fold it down by 1 inch. Mark where to fold to with chalk. Spread glue on this surface (especially the edges), fold down, and press firmly. Repeat on the opposite edge. Wipe off any excess glue that seeps out. Put heavy books on top of the folded edges, and allow to dry.
4. While the glue on your bag body is drying, cut the fringe. I just eyeballed the fringe size, but the only tricky part is that you need to try to keep the fringe fairly straight, meaning perpendicular to the top edge/parallel to the sides. You can do it with scissors, but you’ll get much better results with a rotary cutter and cutting mat. Leave 1/2 inch uncut on the top edge.
5. Glue the top uncut edge of the fringe to the bag body. I was going to do mine straight across, but then I decided I liked it better in more of a U-shape, so that’s how I glued mine. It’s up to you! Put some heavy books on top of the glued area and let it dry.
6. After your glue is dry, sew a line of stitches across the top edge of the fringe.
7. Fold the bag body right sides together, and tuck the fringe inside. Line up the top edges, and clip together. (After I sewed my edges together I cut off one fringe piece from each side because they were sticking out funny, so I recommend that you do this before you sew.) Sew the sides of your bag together, then turn it right-side out.
8. Now we’re going to add the holders for the bag strap. Take the two small strips, slip each one through a D-ring, and fold the leather in half. Sew a line of stitches as close to the D-ring as possible, then sew the strip onto the top edge of the bag body, on the side seam.
9. If necessary, assemble your bag strap by using split rings to attach swivel clips to the strap. Clip it onto your bag.
Wear everywhere, all summer long.
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