Guess what? I made another bag recently. Although I used the same patterns as my previous tombstone bag (here), the main difference is the leather that I have used. This was a thicker, stiffer leather and apparently, is the same leather that is used in Louis Vuitton bags! GASP!
This time, I also tried to sew the bag at home using a domestic sewing machine. A few extremely important thing to remember if you are attempting this with your domestic sewing machine. Leather sewing with a domestic is at your own risk as not all sewing machine can handle the thickness of the leather. Always do a sample and if it does not work, leave it. On top of that, leather sewing needles are extremely important as it slices through the leather and make for smoother sewing. I also found out that although the thread must be strong enough, a thicker top stitch thread causes all sorts of problems with tension. I used a thinner but equally strong heavy duty thread which is much smoother and runs through very easily.
The other thing is to be extremely patient.
As with everything else, the process starts off with me tracing the patterns on the back of the leather. I used this bag patterns with such frequency that I’ve actually transferred it to card.
With all the pieces cut out, I begin to construct the elements of the bag. This time, I decided to add a leather piece to the strap as it make it more comfortable on the shoulder when carrying heavy stuff. I also had a chance to use my newly acquired leather tools.
As I start to make more bags, I feel that my techniques are improving and the experimentation with different types of leather and techniques has ended up with a more professional finish. One of the finishing technique I use is edge slicking using gum tragacanth and an edge slicker. You can see from the picture below the difference between a finished edge (on the left) with a raw edge.
I was pleased to see that the bags I made is starting to look more like the ones sold in shops but I’m such a glutton for good stuff and I ended up keeping all the stuff I make.
The eagle-eyed among you would have noticed that the initial colour of the leather pieces is red and the bag is blue. I actually cut out pieces for 4 leather bags, with one pair in red leather and the other pair in blue. I am thinking of mixing and matching the pieces with those colours but thought I should try sewing a sample to see how it works first.
Seeing all the fun I am having with leather, I am now saving up to buy a second-hand leather sewing machine. It’s a very old 70s Singer sewing machine and apparently from the description, it sews leather and heavy materials. Until then, I hope it is still there when I get the money. Fingers crossed.