These neat little leather bags are a traditional style bag made by the Sami people of Scandinavia. These bags are found with a variety of names but the most common is a coffee bag or pouch.
I had a few request on some forums for a leather bag such as this so I decided to make a tutorial of the process for making one.
First I start out with some soft suede that I inherited from some of my brothers belongings. You can find a pattern on the internet, but it is really not necessary. All you need are the following pieces cut to the approximate size you want your finished bag.
Then you start by sewing one end panel to the long strip of leather which will form the bottom and sides of the bag. Usually I sew all my leather by hand and use a saddle stitch, but for this bag I decided to use my trusty old Speedy Stitcher that has not been used in years.
Once you have this end panel on it is time to sew on the second one. A word of caution at this point. The leather on will stretch different then the first panel if you don’t consistently use the same tension when sewing. This will result in the panels not being even. The best way I have found when sewing soft leather like this is to tack the pieces in place with super glue before sewing them together. This will help keep things aligned and save a lot of frustration later.
The next step is to sew in the top collar of the bag. This is a little awkward to figure out as the bag is sewn inside out to have the seams on the inside of the bag when finished. However the collar has to be sewn inside the bag while it is inside out. Confused yet by my description? Me too. Hehe. Here is a picture that should help explain what I am talking about.
At this point the top collar is left too long. This makes it easier to get it to the right length when sewing it all together. If you cut it to size before sewing, it might end up small after all the stitches shrink things up.
Now back to the confusing part. Once you sew around the edges of the bag you need to pull out the collar and sew up the seam for the collar. Again this seems odd because the orientation is now different then when you sewed the collar on, but it all works out in the end.
When you get to this point you can cut the collar to length and sew up the seam. You can now trim the height of the collar if you feel it is too long. I decided to make the collar a bit shorter than some of the ones I have seen because I like it this way. It makes it easier to get things in and out of the bag. Some people make the collar really long yet have the drawstring at the bottom of the collar by the bag seam. To me this does not make much sense, but to each his own.
Now the bag is basically finished other than adding some holes for a draw string. It is easiest to use a punch and hammer to make these holes vs the plier style leather punch.
I decided to make up a deer antler button for the main draw string stay, and some little leather buttons, or washers, to go on the end of the draw strings.
That is the finished bag. It is more time-consuming to make then a lot of other style leather bags, but the result is a very nice bag that you can use for just about anything. I decided to use this as my primitive fire starting bag. Everything in the bag is also made by myself including my flint and steel.
Hope you enjoyed the tutorial and can use this information to make your own Sami style bag from it. As always if you have questions or comments I would like to hear them.