Saturday, November 16, 2013

White Leather Bag

Past summer I enrolled Don Morin's course in Craftsy: Making Leather Bags. I am thrilled about everything I learnt! Did you know that only with some supplies we can sew leather at home, with our domestic machine? Let me explain you about it...
 I didn't like the pattern Don was offering, so I made my own pattern and tried to apply everything I had learnt during the course. My experience with Craftsy online courses is that it is better to watch them while sewing something easy, and start the project once I have watched the whole course.
I found some cheap goat leather in the internet. We can find leather bargains in the internet, specially small pieces.
To start, I bought all the tools I was going to need to complete my project. A self-healing mat, a rotary cutter, a Teflon foot, hand and machine sewing needles special for leather, double sided mounting tape, and since I couldn't find the cold rubber tape Don was using, I substituted it for some surgical tape (made of clothing, it performs the function of preventing leather form stretching when sewn):

As Don recommended, I started by doing a mock up bag in felt. It proved to be helpful, because I changed the measures, and then used it as pattern to cut the lining and leather.

Secondly I proceeded to cut the lining and its interfacing:

Then I made a zipper pocket with its bag, and on the opposite side, I sew a rectangle and divided it into two pockets for phone, etc.

I reserved the lining for later. I cut the leather on the self-healing mat with the rotary cutter. I practiced with some scraps first, and I missed some metal ruler, but I got quite nice cut pieces at the end.
The first thing I sewed was the handles. I put some felt inside for them to be thicker. It took some essay and error to adjust my machine to make good stitches with the thick nylon thread I used, but I managed to do an acceptable job after all:

 Then I put the surgical tape all around the pieces of the bag, and applied the double-sided mounting tape on top of it before sewing two pieces together. Since we cannot use pins or basting with leather, we put the two pieces to be sewn together with this tape. Avoid putting it in the needle's path, we don't want the glue stuck in in the needle.

I sewed the two lateral pieces, stoping in every corner, then taking the thread to one side and knotting them up, since we cannot go backwards with the machine when sewing leather.
I measured the complete lenght of the bag opening and then finished the lining (with mitered corners) and its leather belt on top, which had to be the same lenght as the bag opening. I attached some magnetic fastener in the middle of this leather piece. I sewed one side at a time, previously applying double sided tape, and knotting the treads together after sewing each of the four sides:

And this is the final result. It is a lovely white leather bag, just as I had imagined it, but winter has come, and this project, planned in summer, will have to wait in my wardrbe for the sunny months ahead: