I think this is probably the coolest thing I have ever made! I can’t believe I have sewn something with leather and it looks like a real bag! Am I talking this up too much? Take a look while I tell you all the details…
Ages ago, the lovely Chris from Chris W Designs sent me her Snazzy Slouch pattern to review. I had a thought in the back of my mind that it would be really cool to make it out of leather. I’ve never sewn with leather before, but the idea stuck in my head. As is my usual style, if I’m going to do something, I want to do it right, so I started reading about how to sew with leather.
I came across this Craftsy class, Making Leather Bags and it was just what I was after! It’s full of fantastic tips for working with leather and leads you through every stage, from picking your leather to different seams, setting up your machine, designing your bag and how to finish it off so it looks great! I learnt so much watching this course, and it really gave me the confidence to cut into my leather and get sewing! The bags made by students of the course are quite inspiring!
As I mentioned in my last post, the leather for this bag came from an old jacket of my Mum’s. Upcycling the leather added a few extra challenges, because I had limited leather to work with, but it was such a fun experience and I learnt so much!
This was also the first time I’ve used rivets. I’m not sure why I was worried about them because they were easy to add and made finishing the strap off so easy. They also add a professional touch to the bag. Next time, I’ll make more of an effort to line them up… mine are a bit wonky.
Ok, so onto the actual pattern. My ideal handbag has about 284 pockets, one for each thing in my bag and this pattern has almost that many! There are 4 pockets on the outside, a zippered divider inside giving you two sections and 4 patch pockets. Ahhh, handbag organisation heaven! Actually, all of Chris’ patterns have lots of pockets. The pattern itself can seem quite intimidating when you first get it as there are 56 pages, but that’s just because the instructions are nice and thorough.
I love the style of the bag, but went for a short strap as I didn’t have much leather left and I always wear my bag on my shoulder.
I changed the construction in a few places, just to minimise the numbers of layers of leather. The bag was all sewn on my home machine. It’s a Pfaff and pretty tough, but still just a home machine. It coped really well and there were only two spots that it skipped stitches (there were 6 layers of leather). Thankfully, the needle had still punched holes, so I went through them to hand stitch those areas up.
I’ve never had a real leather handbag before and I’m sure I will never be seen without a hand made leather bag again! The leather feels amazing and was lovely to work with! I still need to put the base in the bag and stitch the turning hole closed, but I couldn’t wait to start using the bag!
Have I talked you into working with leather?
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