Sunday 25 September 2016

I bought the most marvelous leather hide over a year ago.

Burnished to a beautiful hue - neither gold, nor bronze, nor pewter or platinum.

But somehow a magical mix of all, straying to one hue or another in different lights and with various backgrounds.

Magical perfection.

And LARGE! So far I have made a clutch, sandals and this latest bag and I still have plenty left!

I had been dreaming of making a supersized tote out of this leather. I even stalked my neighbour's RTW tote, whose design lines and seaming intrigued me no end. I borrowed it and took photo after photo of all the details. But I just couldn't figure out how I'd achieve all the exposed seams and a similar pattern was not forthcoming.

And so my hide languished, occasionally brought out to be stroked and yearned over.

Then at the library last week, I stumbled across this book...

And lo and behold as I flicked through it's lovely projects, I saw this awesome sling bag...

And the decision was made. It's big, it's interesting, but still simple and stylish.

This make wasn't without swear words. Whilst the outside of this hide slides beautifully through the feed dogs of my Janome, the insides... oh my, the insides.

You see this beauty has a black heart. Literally. The backing of the hide has been dyed a very heavy black and the suede tends to flake off and get on everything. My Janome was not pleased or enamoured. Oh no, she spluttered and misstepped and basically told that leather to get the hell off her.

But I am nothing if not completely single-minded and bullish and I forced that baby through. I might want to consider a leather foot or walking foot for future leather projects, I know.

The topstitching was dicey to say the least. The bag is formed from four pieces, with the front and back composed of two pieces joined in the centre, with the handle cut on and seamed at the top. Those seams are sewn as normal with right sides together, then the seam allowances finger pressed open and topstitched down from the right side.

I used a size 16 leather needle and regular polyester thread to start, but realised the thread broke very easily which alarmed me (wasn't my regular Gutermann, let's just say that). So I switched to upholstery thread (which I used on my clutch) which I do think is great for leather sewn on a machine. It's strong and I think it's weight is more visually appealing on anything above garment weight leather when the stitching is exposed.

Side and bottom seams are not pressed open or topstitched.

Needless to say I am ecstatic with the result and see myself getting bucketloads of use out of this. It's truly a statement bag and since metallics are my neutrals it'll go with pretty much my entire wardrobe... especially those lace ups...

Stay tuned to see my next pair of leather sandals which are in progress. Just waiting for an awesome water-based (non-toxic, yippee!) glue to arrive.

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