Aliya’s leather clutch

A few years ago, my baby cousin graduated from Cornell University. Living in Paris I was not able to attend the event, but I wanted to send her a present to wear on that day.

I had seen a few leather bags online that looked like they were lasercut and was of course drawn to them, so I decided to try and make one too – except I settled for a clutch, in order to keep the construction simple rather than go for a whole bag.

This made the construction fairly simple: each side of the clutch is made from one layer of lasercut leather and one layer of felt so that the holes from the design would allow the felt to be visible underneath.

Being of indian descent, the base of the design was her name, Aliya – which happens to be mine too – written in Gujrati on one side, and henna inspired designs all around and on the other side.

Using a laser cutter meant that I could pre-cut the stitch holes in advance, which means that I only had to lace up the leather rather than hand punch it to add the stitch line.

I protected the surface of the leather with painter’s tape so that the soot from the laser would not stain the leather – given the little details of the design, I had to thoroughly clean the pieces before removing the tape.

I also cut a tassel that I then glued together and secured to the side of the clutch by stitching it to the zipper.

One side of the clutch
If you know Gujrati you’ll see that there’s actually a typo there – oh well

Despite my efforts to tune the laser cutter to the right settings, you can see that some small details still appear burnt on the first picture, especially where the cutouts were too close together.

Here are the files if you want to make your own version :