And know how to use them.
There are assorted right and left handed accessories – best of all is being able to purchase custom stamps!
I considered taking courses at a local college or tech school, but found a one-year program in San Francisco. Beatrice, the owner and founder of the program, and her staff offer intensive programs. I took the beginner three-week session and successfully completed the first six projects.
Yes, there are seven items here…the first is a sample to learn basics like cutting, gluing, stitching (each piece is hand stitched) and edge finishing.
I recommend the program for anyone interested in improving their leather working skills. All students begin with how to properly hold and use the tools and basic pattern making. By creating each piece in the requisite order, students build on their skills to more advanced projects.
For each of these pieces, the pricking irons were used on only the front side. I learned how to hold and use the awl to prick through to the back side while keeping a needle in each hand and completing my stitches. This technique requires lots of practice to develop muscle memory so the back sides will be just as perfect.
This is the back side of the first project, a slim card wallet (of buttery soft leather). Look closely and you can see the stitching lines around the outer edge are not quite straight. An even closer look and you may be able to see the creasing iron marking. My plan is to incorporate creasing and the edge finishing techniques I learned into wallets and leather handbags.
The possibilities are endless.
My thanks to Beatrice (Amblard Leather), Misty, and Emily for three amazing weeks of leather work immersion.
Looking forward to seeing them again.
I need to take more pictures of this bag – I only have the one right now, but I reworked the reverse engineered structured handbag. I finished it a while ago, but am just now getting around to posting.
This time around it went faster except with my post sewing machine, I could not stitch it properly…I ended up hand stitching the final parts during construction.
The first time I carried it a woman stopped me and complimented me on how much she liked it. That was an inspiration of sorts and made me want to “up my game”.
Congratulations to a friend of mine and his wife on the birth of their daughter this fall. I wanted to do something special since Jayme has been so supportive of me and my quest with this little hobby of mine…
Thank you again, Tim for helping me with my site/blog.
A review of my theme bags revealed I needed to up my game in handle making. One designer has a video on the Internet of a worker making beautiful shaped handles. Seriously! Look…
I searched my favorite leather forum and see Al Stohlman’s books are referenced – a TON! So I picked up his volume two “The Art Of Making Leather Cases” because there are a bunch of handle patterns and tips. It is totally worth the 16 or 20 bucks! Plus half a hide of veg tan…
Actually I began the process in October of 2015! Yes, over a year ago and these were the first four. Because I do not have wood-working equipment (or skills) to make a forming block, I made a basic little unit by horseshoe nailing three 12″ sections of a 2″x4″ together and attaching cans to it.
Frustrated and dissatisfied with my results – I got the most encouraging words of all from Alan & Jayne at Shoe School when I said I can’t make those beautiful handles like they do over at “designer house X” Alan challenged me “Why not?” He went on to say that handles are probably the only thing the guy in the video does. Everyday. It is likely he cannot create a bag from concept to final product.
I was inspired; my talent and accomplishments in my little handbag hobby were evident. Like all things – “practice, practice, practice” (thanks for that Mr. Nick! – an art instructor-friend).
The pattern needed changing – I wanted to rid the end rings (for this particular style) and I ordered a rainbow of colored edge paints and channel pliers from Springfield Leather. Once I figure this out…the possibilities may be endless.
I set out to work and as with each of my projects, I took copious notes on sizes, shapes, bonding techniques, stitching holes, thread and needle choices, and more. I created another five handles on my original forming block (the 2″ x 4″ pieces horseshoe nailed together).
With the fifth, I was that much closer to the final version – the problem? The channels created by putting the 2″ x 4″ pieces together left ridges in the handle.
Along the top edge you can see the ridges set into the leather as it dried on the 2″ x 4″ pieces. A shout out to Alan & Eddie at Channel City Lumbar (Ha!! I sooo did not plan that – channels and Channel!) Let’s just say I certainly got Alan’s attention when I put my forming block on the counter to show hime what I was doing and what changes I wanted to make 🙂
So here is version number six being set on the new forming block.
This is it! The finished handle.
The front and back are the same.
So after one or two more tests on the new forming block, I think I will be ready to go.
I am burned out on wallets for now but here is a series of their evolution. The most basic leather with six pockets to hand stitched with hidden pockets and the addition of an ID holder. Yup if you look carefully you can see my really crude prototype of the ID holder wallet in blue garment leather suede. 😮
I’m taking a break on wallets for now, but JP, Pete, and JK are next prototypes for slim card wallets…you guys know who you are. I gotta’ do some handles and baby shoes right now.