How to Make Your Own Leather Passport Holder

What You Need:

  • passport holder pattern (pdf available online)
  • 3/4 oz. vegetable tanned leather (one square foot)
  • waxed linen thread (~110” total)
  • scratch awl
  • stitching awl
  • utility knife
  • cutting mat
  • ruler
  • wool dauber
  • leather conditioner
  • 2 craft needles (~2 3/8” long)
  • soft cloth

*Many of these items are available from Springfield Leather Company (www.springfieldleather.com). 

Time: ~ 2 hours

  1. Print and cut out pattern. Make sure to print the pdf in actual size. Uncheck the auto scale box in your print window. The large pattern piece (shown in Step 2) should measure 8” by 5 1/2”. The smaller pattern pieces for the pockets should measure ~2 7/8” by 5 1/2” and ~3 ¼” by 5 1/2” respectively.
  2. Lay pattern on leather and trace with a scratch awl. Poke holes through pattern to mark stitch placement.
  3. Use utility knife (and ruler if necessary) to cut out the pattern you have traced on the leather.
  4. Punch holes with the stitching awl. Helpful hint: Laying the leather on an old telephone book allows you to pierce a deeper hole into the leather, resulting in easier stitching. 
  5. Apply the leather conditioner with a wool dauber.
  6. Wipe excess away with a soft cloth. Use the cloth to rub the edges of the leather. This will create a nice, smooth edge.
  7. Cut three lengths of waxed linen thread. You will need two 45” pieces (for the pockets on each side) and one 20” piece (for the credit card divider).
  8. The most common way to sew leather is saddle stitching. Watch a short video tutorial here. To do this, thread a needle on both end of a 45” piece of thread. Line up the large leather piece with one of the pocket pieces and insert a needle three holes from the end of line of pre-punch holes. Pull the thread through the hole so you have equal lengths of thread on each side.
  9. Insert needle in the next hole (closest to the end of the line of holes) and pull through hole.
  10. Flip leather over and insert other needle into the same hole and pull through hole.
  11. You should have equal lengths of thread on either side of the leather. Pull each strand tight to set stitch.
  12. Continue one more stitch to the end. Then backstitch over the two holes you have already stitched and continue the rest of the way around the pocket. Note: The purpose of the two backstitches is to strengthen the ends.
  13. When you reach the end, backstitch two stitches (like you did at the beginning) and cut the threads. There is no need to tie a knot, as the backstitching will secure the thread and prevent unraveling.
  14. Stitch other pocket and credit card divider.
  15. Insert passport and credit cards. Go traveling!