27 Aug 2017

Classic English Briefcase with a slightly different design No.2

The briefcase I'm going to make is a replica of this briefcase. It is basically the same as this one but with a longer flap, different color and thread. In this build I'm also going to use Natural Veg Tanned Tooling Butt from metropolitan leather with a thickness of 3,5mm and with a smooth finish applied to the flesh side much like the leather I normally use.
I had planned to make the gusset of Natural Veg Tanned Tooling Shoulder also from metropolitan in 1,5 mm thickness. This a bit thicker than what I normally use but I made a test and it seemed to work. I ended up using my "normal" leather for the gusset as the leather from metropolitan was discolored when I applied water to the folds. Actually I made the gusset 3 times as the second gusset had the wrong color. Something I did not notice before it was already done

I had a plan about dip dyeing the leather which I did but the color came out way to dark even though it was diluted. If someone wants a bag that is almost completely black let me know! Also the leather became so stiff that I had to apply 3 heavy coats of neatsfoot oil to get it back to normal.
I might try to dip dye a big piece of leather again though. I also learned how not to drag the leather through the dye. I was holding the leather in a U-shape. This resulted in drips which luckily got covered with a second coat of dye. Instead you have to "snake" it through.

Making the gusset has always been kind of hit and miss regarding getting it to the correct length. I decided to change the order of the process a bit to make sure it was exactly 101,8 cm long as this is the length of the perimeter of the front piece (43 cm x 30 cm with corner radius of 1,4cm)

You can see below the steps I took to ensure this. So did it fit the front piece? No it did not. In fact it was almost 1 cm too long. I cant get my head around why this is. Maybe when bending the leather at the corners it stretches it making it longer. I did manage to make it work as leather is very forgiving. I encountered this problem before when making the Music bag but for some reason it had forgotten about it.

When making this briefcase again I will make it maybe 8 mm shorter. (it is better to have it a bit too long) The sides were made to 29,7cm but will now need to be 29,3cm. The bottom will remain at 42,4 cm.

Here you see the first gusset made of 1,5 mm leather. I made the foldes wet as I normally do but it left the leather darker. This goes straight to the scrap bin.

This is the second gusset which turned out to not match the color of the bag. This also goes straight to the scrap bin :(

The handle was cut a bit different which worked better

Strap holders cut 23,66 mm wide to fit with the pricking iron

The straps was cut 95cm long from the end of the buckle. The total length of the strap is 101,5 cm

glue the topstraps together before sewing to avoid them slipping

when placing the metal bar cover look at the front to help determine the placement


  1. I am so glad to have found your blog after almost a year at leathercrafting. After watching way too many YouTube videos and surfing countless websites I have to say that this is one of the best out there.
    You are generous with your knowledge and time and even post your templates! You are a gift and resource to the leathercrafting community.
    Thank you!

    1. Thank you very much. I try to make my posts as describsive as possible and I wish more people would do the same. As I don't do this for a living I have no problem sharing my templates but I understand whey people who need to make a living from leather work won't share them. But then again.. if somebody wanted the pattern they just have to buy the product and take it apart.

  2. Excellent, great work!

  3. will you make one for me? price? how many decades to get it? thanks,
    work of art!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. How much would you charge to make for me the Classic English Briefcase with a slightly different design No.2 with internal divider - so two sides inside - the back side will be for small laptop. Keep the same thickness as this one (or at least as thin profile as possible).?

  5. Or if interested - sell me yours :)

  6. my email is chilton@vodik.com

  7. Hi, beautiful work!
    Can I ask what color dye and what color thread you used for this briefcase?

    Best regards from Sweden!

    1. Thank you 🙂 the color is a mixture of tan, yellow Brown and red Brown. I dont know the exact ratio The brand is “roc narvsværte” the thread is Lin cable in brown

    2. The thread is Fil Au Chinois