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While on leave in October, I made myself an oil-tanned leather phone pouch after making an ugly one for a coworker, and it turned out okay.  I was never particularly happy with the retention method, however, which was tacked on way too late in the process to be well-designed.  Still my stepdad liked it a lot and asked if I would make him one (our phones being nearly identical in size).  It took a while to get to, but I’m actually thoroughly pleased with this one, which may be one of the nicest looking things I’ve produced.

Oil-tanned phone pouch v2 021

The exterior is all oil-tanned leather except for a vegetable-tanned retention tab thingy (the official name for that part) and the belt loop on the back, both dyed in that discontinued almost-black Dark Cocoa.  Antique brass hardware, pigskin interior, and waxed brown thread finish it off.

Oil-tanned phone pouch v2 001

I started off sewing a small piece of the lining top down to the front of the pouch.  (I learned this technique from one of Ian Atkinson‘s wonderful YouTube videos.)Oil-tanned phone pouch v2 002

As I fold it up, you can see my not-exactly-brilliant-but-kinda-charming retention slot, fed through two slices in the front and then rapid riveted in place.Oil-tanned phone pouch v2 003


Identical stage, flipped over.  I’ve learned to hide the sewing better since that first phone pouch, too.
Oil-tanned phone pouch v2 004


And now the pigskin is glued in place to the inside of the front of the pouch, forming a nice lip.  Time to attach the side.Oil-tanned phone pouch v2 005

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And then the back…Oil-tanned phone pouch v2 007

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the most common problems I have is not really thinking things through all of the necessary steps, and discovering at step 7 something really clever I should have done at step 4.  Sewing the last of the four corners (i.e. side to back) was the very last thing I did because I wanted to be sure I could make any necessary adjustments to the interior.

In addition to being easier to sew than some options, stitching the outside corners like this bends the sides in, simultaneously providing extra retention for small phones and extra space for bigger ones.

Oil-tanned phone pouch v2 008The bottom was the trickiest stitching; this would be the second-to-last thing I did, after attaching the belt loop and top flap, but before I stitched the other side to the back.

Not much more to tell.  The flap was stitched to the inner back side of the pouch, right at the top.  The belt loop was prepared (dyed, edged, finished, and then), mounted with a snap, and then riveted to the inside.  I stitched/glued another panel of pigskin over the rivets before sewing the bottom and last side.

Oil-tanned phone pouch v2 024

I thought about lining the flap, but the rivets don’t press against the phone; in fact, the flap is long enough that it doesn’t actually touch the phone.Oil-tanned phone pouch v2 023The belt loop is soft and flexible (not much stiffer than the oil-tanned leather), but plenty strong.

The vegetable-tanned leather portions were topped with acrylic resolene, and then I rubbed a mink oil blend over everything, giving it a uniform deep oily sheen and not coincidentally another layer of waterproofing.

The two tightly-stitched layers of oil-tanned leather are together stiff enough that I figured it worth a shot to try to burnish the edges with gum tragacanth.  It sort of worked–better than I’ve achieved before, if still not much of an edge.  The leather is too soft and oily, most of the time it simply doesn’t take.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this one.  Hopefully, Pop likes it, too.

(I finished and wrote this up 19 December and post-dated it until after presents should have been opened.)