How to Make a Leather Folder

Written by kate kotler
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How to Make a Leather Folder
Make a leather portfolio folder as a gift for Dad on Father's Day. (leather image by Alex White from Fotolia.com)

A leather folder or portfolio is an elegant gift. If you're the crafty type, you can make a simple leather folder at home, saving the cost of purchasing one retail, and adding sentimentality to the gift. Add embellishments such as a decorative closure or tooled leather to make an even more sophisticated folder. This pattern is simple and takes about three or four hours per folder to complete.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • One 8- by 20-inch piece of cardboard
  • One 8- by 3-inch piece of cardboard
  • Two 10- by 25-inch pieces of leather (thin to medium thickness)
  • Matching thread
  • Six small bulldog clips
  • Utility clips
  • Leather needle for a sewing machine
  • Sewing machine
  • Tape measure
  • Grommet kit
  • Hammer
  • Decorative closure
  • 6 inches of matching leather lacing

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Lay the piece of leather meant to be the outside of your folder flat on a table with the right side facing up. Measure 3 1/2 inches from the right vertical edge of the leather and mark. Attach your decorative closure following the directions on the packaging or with a needle and leather thread. You may need a thimble to push the needle through the leather.

  2. 2

    Flip the leather over so that the closure is on the left side and the wrong side of the leather is facing up. Place your 8- by 20-inch piece of cardboard so that it is aligned to the left corner of the leather and there is about 1 inch excess on the left (outside), top and bottom sides. Place the 8- by 3-inch piece of cardboard so that it is aligned to the right corner of the leather and so that there is about 1 inch excess on the right (outside), top, bottom and in between the two pieces of cardboard.

  3. 3

    Lay the second piece of leather on top of the cardboard so that it lines up. Clip the leather and cardboard into place using bulldog clips at the four corners of the 8- by 10-inch cardboard and outside corners of the 8- by 3-inch cardboard.

  4. 4

    Measure 11 inches in from the left side to find the centre of the folder. Mark this measurement and flip the folder over carefully and sew up the middle of folder on the outside of the project, creating a place to make a crease. Then, sew up the centre of the space between the large and small piece of cardboard, on the outside, to create the portfolio flap.

  5. 5

    Sew around the edges of the folder on the outside of the project, as close to the edge of the cardboard as you can. Remove the bulldog clips as you go. Trim any excess leather from the edges neatly.

  6. 6

    Measure 4 inches down on the outside of the flap and hammer a grommet into the leather/cardboard following the directions on the grommet kit. Use a slipknot to attach the leather lacing through the grommet, leaving the ends hanging free.

  7. 7

    Fold the folder on the sewn centre line and press down so that the crease flattens out.

  8. 8

    Place the flap on the outside of the folder and wind the lacing around your closure to secure shut.

Tips and warnings

  • You can add pockets to your folder by adding 6 inches onto the vertical measurement of your outside piece of leather (so it will be 16 by 20 inches) and folding it up over the inside piece of leather. You will want to trim away the excess leather on the flap and sew the pockets into place separately from the outside and centre seams.

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