How to Make Your Own Leather Passport Holder

Because the theme at this month's market is On the Road, Alicia Jepsen of Jepsen LeatherGoods was kind enough to share a DIY project with us today that she posted on her blog recently on how to make a leather passport holder. You can see larger pictures and instructions here.  Also be sure to check out her beautiful bicycle tool bags along with other beautiful leathergoods at her shop here or at our market this month here.


How to Make Your Own Leather Passport Holder by Jepsen LeatherGoods

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 (

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!

Copyright 2011 Jepsen LeatherGoods LLC Madison, WI 


Jepsen LeatherGoods LLC was born of owner and lead maker, Alicia Jepsen, in 2011. Led by the simple desire to create products that you only have to buy once in your lifetime, they began selling quality leather accessories handcrafted in Madison, Wisconsin. Each item is individually cut, dyed, and stitched by hand. They use only the best full grain vegetable tanned leathers and durable waxed linen thread. Full grain leathers have not been sanded or buffed to remove imperfections. This means that each piece is unique and carries its own distinct characteristics.

poppytalk handmade:

Jan Halvarson


Grace said...

This is fantastic! And seems easy... Thanks for the tutorial!

teak garden furniture said...

Great item! The instructions are really simple and the finished wallet looks amazing

Dana Fox said...

this is so cool! it looks really simple :)
xo dana

Nikki McWilliams said...

This looks fab! I might try and order some leather and make one before I go away this Sunday:)

Michal Anne said...

I love the idea. I've been wanting a leather cover for my molskine and I think this should do the trick.

What really caught my eye was the red and white card in the holder. I didn't know why at first, but that's a Madison Public Library Card- just like the one in my wallet! I love this idea and I'm so excited that this shop is in my local Madison!

Sonia Valdez said...

Wonderful, step by step, and explanation of the tools of the trade.

Grace said...

This is a great project!

xx Grace

jacqueline said...

Dearest sweet Alicia and poppytalk, this is awesome! Such a detail wonderful tutorial. I am starting to work with leather and this tutorial came at such a right time!! Thanks so much for sharing. Have a lovely merry happy sunday! Love to yoU!

DogpackMOMMA said...

Great job & many thanks for the PDF - Happy Trails!

Unknown said... I just need to buy the tools and have my hubby show me how to use them. I'll have to show him this; maybe we could make it together, since he's done this before and I haven't. Thank you for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great tutorial and design.

I did make some modifications to the original design to incorportate a third internal flap for a boarding pass on the card side of the holder and added a strap with 20 series snaps to keep it closed. The strap was included as part of the cover layout on the card side of the cover.

The card flap center stitching must be done prior to adding the boading pass flap and stitching the outer edge.

You would need to set the male portion of the snap into the passport side of the cover prior to sewing the pieces together.


Rosie said...

The pattern link for the passport holder pdf is not working!

sophknaps said...

Can't get the pdf file anymore! :(

Bee said...

Hi is there any way to get the PDF?

Unknown said...

Is it supposed to be 3/4 oz leather or 3-4 oz leather? I can't seem to find veg tan leather that's 3/4 oz.

Jan Halvarson said...

Sorry everyone - I will check on the pdf file and get it fixed. Also it should be 3-4 oz leather.

Jan Halvarson said...

The pdf is working. Just checked.