Before the advent of the sewn-on pocket in the late 1700s, people in Western Europe carried their money and personal accessories in a small pouch tied to the belt. In the Middle Ages, this pouch was often made of leather, with a buckle to hold it shut. Whether you're a medieval re-enactor, a live-action roleplayer, a leatherworking enthusiast or simply someone who likes carrying a little history around your waist, making a leather pouch is an easy project requiring only basic skills and little more than an hour's work.
Design your pouch and draw a pattern for it. Basing your pattern on depictions of pouches in medieval art is ideal, though you can create your own from your imagination as well. The pattern should have five pieces: the front, the back with flap attached at the top, two identical belt loops and a strap. Make the strap as wide as the inside of your buckle and long enough to wrap vertically all the way around the pouch.
Transfer your pattern to the leather and cut it out. Mark holes with the awl at the intersection of the back and flap for the outer edges of the belt loops.
Stitch the belt loops to this marked point. Fold the loops in half and drive the awl through both them and the back of the pouch every eighth of an inch to create the holes. Thread the needle and sew the loops on, stitching a couple times through each hole. Use pliers to pull the needle through if it ever gets stuck while going through the leather.
Line up the back and front, back-to-back with their future outside edges facing inward. Secure them with bulldog clips and roll the stitch marker along the edge of the front, to make placing the holes easier. Drive a couple holes and stitch through them, continuing as explained previously until the entire pouch is sewn. Turn the pouch right-side-out when finished.
Punch a hole through the centre of the strap, about 3/4 of an inch from the end. Punch a second hole 1/8 of an inch further up, and cut out the leather between the two holes, forming a notch. Stick the tongue of the buckle through the middle of this notch and fold the end of the strap over. Stitch this onto itself in a loop, driving holes with the awl before inserting the needle as before. Run the thread through several times for added strength and cut off any excess leather, forming the buckle end of the strap.
Wrap the strap vertically around the pouch, with the buckle facing upwards a few inches below the tip of the closed flap. Stitch the strap to the main body at both the bottom of the pouch and the flap-tip, to secure it. Punch belt-holes through the free end of the strap so that it can be fastened closed with the buckle.
Things you need
- Waxed linen thread
- 2 large-eye upholstery needles
- Stitch marker
- Curved awl
- Leather punch
- Needle-nose pliers
- Bulldog clips