If you want a "leather look" on the cheap, faux leather is the way to go. According to the Faux Leather Fabric website, faux leather is an amazing alternative to real leather. It can look just like genuine leather, and it is more humane since it's made from synthetic materials. If you're crafty, you can make your own faux leather.
Choose the fabric and the acrylic paint you want to use.
Add a little water to your acrylic paint, and then slather it onto your base fabric. The fabric has to be completely covered in paint so it'll seep through to the other side.
Wait for your fabric to dry, and then apply another coat of paint. Repeat this step until you have added several layers of paint. A quick way to conceal the grain of the base fabric is to apply the coats transversely in alternate directions. For instance, if you apply one coat of paint in a downwards direction, apply the next coat in the opposite direction.
Apply the final coat of paint to your fabric. It should be a fine, thick coat of paint. Don't use water for the final coat. Pat the surface of your fabric with another piece of cloth to produce a slight grained effect that looks like leather. Make sure you do this while the paint is still wet.
Once your fabric is completely dry, you can cut and sew your faux leather.
When choosing denim, canvas or any thick fabric, opt for one with an excellent weave. Don't buy acrylic paints for fabric. You can use low-priced acrylics and end up with the same results.
According to Abigail's Crafts, the coarser the weave, the more layers of paint you will have to apply to mask it.