This project represents my first real leather project from scratch. The process and pattern comes from Handmade by Droids at the TechStop. I used the template files on the Epilog laser cutter at my hackerspace. This significantly reduced the work involved and really was what convinced me to undertake this. I found that while making leather goods takes care, it is not as difficult as I anticipated. My process very closely resembles the Instructables, so for detail consult the tutorial.
I did not own a stitching pony nor did I feel spending $95 on one. Instead, I dug up some carriage bolts and scrap lumber at my hackerspace and knocked together one in about 20 minutes. From there, I just followed the Tandy Leather tutorial below using a saddle stitch. On future projects I will be more diligent on keeping finishing ends on the back side.
I found the existing pattern a bit tight for a Beretta 92 (and likely any double stack semi-auto), but the 1911 was a comfortable fit. I do not have a blue gun for my 1911, so I just wrapped mine in cling wrap for the molding process to avoid excessive water contact. I may do a tag board laser cut scaled up 120% or so in the future to test fit wider firearms. The trailing belt loop side's stitching would need to be reworked to accommodate a 1911 with integral rails or handguns with a light.
I used eco-flo dark coco brown dye on this project and followed this tutorial. On my next project, I'll wait more than five minutes between dye and finish to see get a better view of where the dye has not completely soaked in. Even though the dye may be dry to the touch it has not completed permeating the leather.
Overall I'm very happy with the results. With the use of a laser cutter I honestly do not have more than three hours of work invested (not counting the stitching pony I had to fabricate). Now that I have a template I may have to scale it to fit other firearms and experiment with other dyes.