This was to thank a family friend who knows of my hobby and generously donated an old handbag with nice hardware I can upcycle into a new bag.
I split a remnant piece of black chaps leather for all the visible parts. The pocked backs (not visible) are recycled garment leather (from a skirt); hand stitched with sage green linen thread and finished with gold edge paint.
This was an experiment…a reverse engineered handbag fashioned from recycled leather…a couch!
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! 🙂
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.
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”.