Hello, I have something very fun to share with you today. Not one but two leather bags!
I was contacted by Anna a couple of months back with a link to her new Genoa Tote pattern, which is what I'm showing you. I must admit that I don't love getting freebies because I can feel my creativity dropping when I feel obliged to use something, but I did not feel like that with Anna at all because it was a fairly casual exchange where I felt she wasn't expecting me to use her pattern. I was thinking of making a bag anyway and found it useful having a template!
On the note of freebies I am reviewing something next week, which is unusual for me, but again I really wanted to make the project for me so it was a joy not a chore ;-)
As mentioned above I used the pattern as a template, but I constructed it how I wanted to because I was using very different materials.
This bag was the first one I made in leather and was a gift for a friend. All the leather was bought on eBay and is reclaimed as it's offcuts that were being sold second hand. The strap leather was reclaimed of sorts as it was an offcut thrown in with something else I bought new! It's thick metallic olive green and is perfect for straps. The kind of thickness used for stachels.
The main front has a reverse applique design from some screen prints I have designed and used many times in the past. I sewed everything on my Pfaff Passport 2.0 with a leather needle in and walking foot engaged and it sewed very easily.
I backed the main back front and back with horse hair canvas for a bit more stability and I really like the structure it has provided. I also made the inside zip pocket a lot longer than the pattern.
I preferred to stitch my straps in place rather than use rivets. I punched the holes in a design to echo the cut outs and stitched them on with a thick waxed linen thread. I do have screw in rivets that I could have used, but I prefer this look! I also left the top edges of the bag cut raw rather than folded over as it looked neater than trying to grapple with the leather to fold over nicely.
The leather facing on the top of the lining only has one join (I didn't use the pattern piece for this) and it is joined flat with a piece of horsehair layered underneath to keep it together and reduce bulk. My leather needle snagged the lining on this one a bit which is a shame, but hopefully it doesn't show quite as much in real life!
Oh look, also my pockets are constructed differently! I don't mean to change everything, it just kind of happens as I try to use things from my stash. My red zip is an open ended one, so I had to cover the bottom of it. Rather than make a pocket with the seams on the inside I bound the edges with bias binding which does the double duty of covering the raw edges of the fabric as well as the opening bottom of the zip!
Next up is more of the same with more reclaimed leather. The orange is actually from my old handbag I am replacing as is the key chain thingy. The yellow strap leather was bought new (the metallic olive leather for the above straps was thrown in with this order).
Oh how I love this bag!
The only thing missing was a matching purse right? Sorted and with co-ordinating cut outs!
I made a very simple little bag which I just marked out straight onto the leather and sewed up. The lining is hand stitched to the inside of the zip.
A little flat gusseted bottom for a bit more room in there.
This was so much fun and sewing leather on my machine was way easier than I thought it would be. I would be interested to see if my old Toyota would handle leather with the correct needle, although the feed has always been a bit uneven on that one and there is no walking foot so I probably wont bother.
A review of sorts, but not really as I'm notoriously bad at following other peoples instructions. The pattern in general is very well put together and the instructions look very detailed, so although the pattern is simple you get a lot of guidance on how to make a really nicely finished bag. Hopefully this will provide you with some inspiration for what you can do to personalise your own bag or if you were thinking of working with leather then maybe this gives you some ideas of how you can make it more individual! No blank canvas is safe!!!