Step 3- Layout
Now that we have a design, its time to transfer that design to a template, and then, the leather. The first thing to do is trace the outline of the gun on a piece of paper (newspaper works well for this, with its large format). Make a mock-up version of the holster, cutting it out of paper with scissors, and using tape to add additional length if required. When you have successfully created your mock-up, transfer it to your leather. If your holster is going to use more than one piece of leather, it helps to move the template around for least waste. Trace the template ON THE INSIDE SURFACE, and cut it out of the leather, leaving generous margins around the edges (at least 1/2” on all finished sides, and on stitched areas, 1”). Its easy to cut more off, it's much more difficult to add leather. Depending on the thickness of your material, the outside dimensions will vary A LOT from your initial measurements. Additionally, if your design involves a bent piece of leather with a lamination, cut the first piece, then use more paper to template the second piece.
This will save you a lot of time and effort. When in doubt, exaggerate the size. As mentioned before, its easy to make it smaller.
Once all your pieces are cut, you can dye them the right color, or you can wait until the end. Leather dye is usually alcohol based, so be aware that it can shrink leather, so if you wait until the end, make sure the gun is left in to dry. If you elect to dye now, be prepared for the mess- when you wet the leather later to mold it, a lot of the dye will get on your hands.
For more on Holster Making, see these additional Posts