Awhile back at a sewing meet-up I was talking to a fellow sewer (Stacey) about using leather. She had quite a bit of experience with it and the next time we met she bought a scrap for me to practice on. It was a really generously sized scrap though, and was pretty thin – so easy on my machine. I was curious to see if I could screenprint onto it, so I cut out a purse sized piece and did a basic trial, just using masking tape to create a section.
The coverage isn’t perfectly even and although I did try to heat set it without damaging the leather, I’m not sure if it will wear off over time. I sewed it into a purse but it’s a bit crude – I didn’t allow enough space at the ends of the zip, and didn’t line it so… it was a practice version 🙂
Shortly after this was Fabric-a-brac, a market where people can sell their secondhand fabric and notions, which I went to with some of the sewing girls. I managed to get two small leather hides for $5 each, one a purple suede and the other gold. I do have mixed feelings about using leather (especially at that price) – from an animal welfare perspective it doesn’t feel great, but in terms of longevity I do find my leather bags and shoes far outlast the synthetic versions. It’s one of those tricky topics – hopefully I make good use of the pieces I bought.
A relatively new friend had a birthday recently and, not knowing what to get her, I thought a handmade clutch/bag might be nice. I did a test run for myself first using a textured silk and the gold leather – which is pretty thick.
I’m pretty happy with how it turned out but there a few missed stitches and I couldn’t get a nice sharp point in the corners so I went back and purposely curved them. I loved the fabric combination so decided to replicate it for the real deal.
I went a bit bigger this time (it can hold an ipad) and was a bit more careful with the construction – using both clips and staples to hold it together before sewing, a leather needle, walking foot, glueing the seam allowances down etc.
I couldn’t find a long enough metal zipper so used an open ended one that I stitched shut and covered with little tabs.
I actually think this one looks pretty professional apart from a tiny perforation at the bottom which is not that noticeable. The silk could have done with another stiff layer of interfacing, but I think the thickness is just passable. I am really, really happy with it!
And finally, because I’m on a screenprinting / gold paint kick at the moment, I made another little purse with the purple leather. Again, the paint coverage is not as even as it could be.. but it could be like that on purpose 😉 This was much easier to sew because the leather is thinner. I made a tassel for the zipper pull too, for fun.
I really had fun with these projects. I’ve been trying to recycle some old garments and scrap fabric recently so as not to send them to landfill but it was beginning to feel like a bit of a chore. Nice to make something exciting!