Watch Jimmy DiResta make this cool canvas and leather tool bag

One reason you can tell Jimmy DiResta is a true craftsman is that he makes what he does look easy. If I tried to make this leather and canvas tool bag, who knows what kind of crazy-angled trapezoid I'd end up with?

In each bi-monthly episode of DiResta (every other Wednesday at 2pm PT), artist and master builder Jimmy DiResta (Dirty Money, Hammered, Against the Grain, Trash for Cash) lets us into his workshop, to look over his shoulder while he builds whatever strikes his fancy. On this episode of DiResta, Jimmy sews himself up a classic canvas and leather tool bag.

DiResta: Tool Bag


  1. I love this guys stuff, but running cloth covered in spray glue through a sewing machine isn’t gong to do wonders for the machine long term. Just saying…

    1. Wouldn’t the “damage” be limited to gumming up the needle (which can be easily replaced)?

  2. Fascinating to watch, but I’ll continue buying my tote bags at thrift shops for a dollar because like The Dude, I am a lazy man.

  3. Running adhesive through a machine can indeed slow the needle and really screw up the inner workings/timing. A buff critter like an industrial Juki can take a lot more abuse, however.

    I am more concerned by the text note that this is a bi-monthly video appearing every other Wednesday. Bi-monthly (“bi” = “two”) means every two months; the word you seek is semi-monthly (“semi” = “half,” as two weeks is roughly half a month).

    1. That’s up for debate actually – bimonthly and biweekly are used as either (meaning they’re useless).  The sooner the rest of the world gets on board with ‘fortnightly’, the better.

  4. I think what ends up taking my projects so much longer to complete are the trips to the emergency room to get shrapnel removed after the spray adhesive can explodes in the fire. 

  5. Seams, esp. in an application like a bag meant to carry heavy stuff, should be avoided because sooner or later seams fail. I dunno if I’d be up for his design, though I can’t quibble on his choice of materials. Why did he opt for seams for both the canvas bottom and the leather bottom as well? Why o why did he cut that leather into two halves and then sew the two halves back together when he could have done it in one unbroken (and more robust) piece? Lookit the size of that leather stock (the skin) he’s working with–he had enough to do it a better way!

    A better design is LL Bean’s time-tested tote, including their version of the handles, which are much less likely to come away from the bag as they hold the load from the base, and the handles are continuous loops. Thusly:

    “Made in Maine for over 65 years and tested to hold over 500 pounds.”

    See how the strap(s) support from the base? They pass right between the white canvas bag and its bottom cover, the second (outer) layer of bag bottom protection.

    Nice sewing machine though. (Drool…)

  6. He does *SO* many things wrong way.
    Horrible hack job.
    He has wasted lots of canvas and high quality leather, he is cutting canvas and expensive leather without any measuring and then throwing away the cuts.
    As one of previous posters said, Why did he have to make a stitch at the bottom? He could have used nice continuous piece of leather for extra strength.

    Just look at how he does the handles. Shudder. He should have used a ruler and make line to cut the cloth by, he wouldn’t have ended with a crooked shape.
    Also, sewing a cloth that was freshly glued is not a good practice.

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