The Cana

This was an experiment…a reverse engineered handbag fashioned from recycled leather…a couch!

The name of this bag is a play on words…kanape’s; it means sofa in Greek.
This bag has a nylon zipper, is hand stitched, and all edges are hand finished.
Side view.
The Cana Interior
The Cana inside back with a zippered pocket.  The inside is surprisingly roomy too.


The interior fabric was leftover from a dress and the zipper recycled from a skirt.  I bonded clear vinyl to the back side of the fabric and used water repellent spray on the printed side.  What an exciting way to recycle!  🙂

More Tools

This little beauty is a skiver and can be used to split leather too.  A shout out to Dan at Campbell Randall and his team for crating this baby up so she arrived ready to go.  🙂


I said I needed to “up my game”…

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.



Another try with new hardware

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”.

Reverse Engineered Handbag

I bought this handbag in the late 1990s at a London department store; I carried it often and it barely survived my 2007 truck fire (too worn and smelled of fire/smoke to carry).
It took me a while to take it apart, inventory and create the pattern pieces and then work up the courage (and skills!) to make this bag.
I used the original hardware along with a remnant piece of funky textured, almost metallic flannel-backed vinyl for the shell.
I think the handle can be a little thinner and shaped more so it will lay flat on the top edge of the bag. The rigidity is from Texon (thanks to Kayla at Lyn-Fle this is the thickness I needed!)
Another remnant for the inside/lining this was some knit material that worked rather well. I placed my logo under the back zipped pocket.


Metal feet similar to the original. Now that I did this first one, I know more can be done and possibly even with some really nice leather…first I must call Anne or Sandy at Ohio Travel Bag for supplies, I see they have just what I need to make this bag again only with new hardware.

Not your run of the mill trip to the midwest…

So a friend mentioned something he saw on television about an enclosed bone bed that was a museum and working dig site…
It was an amazing adventure; our team was small – just four of us and the site staff. Yes, that is a mammoth skeleton and there are plenty more to be excavated and preserved.
I would recommend this to someone looking for a completely different vacation and would consider doing it again.

Special Outfits for an East Coast College Graduation – where has the year gone?!

A little black dress with tiger print insets to celebrate an East Coast University graduation.
Rather than a black patent pump, I used the same fabric to cover these shoes.
To tie it all together, I put together this little bag of black quilted vinyl double zip openings and a tiger printed chain. Spring rings on either end of the bag allow me to change the chain to silver colored metal.


Look close – the pattern on this is hotdogs! We have an inside family joke of sorts with the Graduate sooo I made this little dress to wear to dinner.


Pink Leather Baby Shoes with Flowers

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…

Top view. Each shoe is hand stitched and alledges finished with leather edge paint. In the center of the little hand-cut flowers I used a peridot (green) colored stone rivet.
These Mary Jane styled shoes have tie closures and are lined with a cotton blend polka dot fabric.
For add a more finished look, I top stitched along either side of the back stitches. Each of the little tags has a hand stitched “S” for Spadoni. The yellow ends on the ribbon are leather edge paint to prevent the ribbon from fraying. Now if I can only find the right box.

Thank you again, Tim for helping me with my site/blog.