I made another pattern for a leather bag and this time, I experimented with a stiffer leather and an over lapped stitch. I have also remembered to document the process including the pattern making.
With the pattern, I decided to use my eyes and judgement instead of drafting it by measurement. When I was studying pattern making, we were constantly told in class that we have to use our eyes and make a judgement on the shape, proportion and also details. Sometimes the pattern may come out looking strange but if the final product looks good, then there is nothing wrong with the pattern.
So, I started my experiment by folding a sheet of pattern paper into half and ensured the sides were at right angle. Then I folded the sides of the rectangle in a slope and taped it. The idea was to create a bag with a wide opening but a rectangular base, like one of those popular branded bags out there.
The pattern is then opened and the corners of the base nipped to decide the size of the base. A strap is then quickly made, taped to the main piece and the paper toile assessed in terms of proportion and size.
My choice of leather this time round was not a very wise one. I chose a matt turquoise colour leather with a stiff texture. However, it was the structure of the leather that got to me as the stiffness limited the flexibility when sewing. I had to turn the bag inside out a few time and this slightly creased the smooth finishing, although an iron did the trick.
As with all my other leather bags, I started out with the straps first which was just glued into place. The next task was to construct the inside pouch which was just mainly glued together. The glue I used is a water based contact cement and it is absolutely easy and wonderful to use.
With the pouch constructed, I proceeded to sewing the main piece by overlapping the side seams and edge stitched the seams together but with an overlap. The corner of the base was then sewn shut from the inside and straps sewn to the main piece.
This leather was quite easy to sew and I had less trouble with the thread this time round. Within a few hours, the bag was completed, exactly to how the paper model looked like.
I really like the pouch feature of the bags as it keeps your more important things safe while your less important stuff just sits in the base.
This is actually a very pretty bag but I would have preferred a softer leather so it flops. I also need to check to see if I can find something to condition the leather as it leaves a mark when your hands are oily or wet. Not a good thing on a sweaty day!
But I hear you saying who this bag is for? It is not for me as I find the shape of the bag a bit too feminine. Well, it is actually going to my mom. She tends to be a bit precious about expensive bags and always shuns it when I offer to get her one. But as this bag is made by me and is some sort of a prototype that needs to be tested out, I am sure she would be more than happy to use it daily. Maybe the leather will also soften with frequent use too.
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