Skip to main content

Made by a Fabricista: The Leather Bonnie Handbag

Hey all!

Sometimes the pattern inspires and the fabric follows, and sometimes it's the fabric that creates the drive to create.  The latter is definitely true with this make:  my first shot at sewing a leather handbag!




I've eyed the leather hides that show up at Fabric Mart here and there in the past, but never bit because I couldn't decide what I would make with them.  When the Michael Stars goatskin hides showed up in full force I decided it was time to figure it out.  Sorry to say they're sold out now.


This goatskin is so thin and supple and beautiful; it definitely seems thin enough to use with a home sewing machine, but my sewing it was not without issues (more to come on that).  The goatskin came folded up in large ziplock bags; when I've seen leathers in the past, they've been either hanging or on rolls, and the folding did create some creases that I was unable to get rid of and unavoidable in cutting, but really aren't so bad.  There were also a few very severe creases along the edges that I had to avoid completely.


This is not my first rodeo at bag making (see here and here) but I by no means consider myself experienced in the art, and I've always used faux leather or fabric.  I decided to let this beautiful leather really shine by going simple with the Swoon Bonnie Bucket Bag.  So simple that I even decided not to include the external welt on the bag; I was nervous for the possibility of messing it all up.


To make up for the lack of that external pocket, I sewed one into the lining of the bag.  I'm a little surprised that there isn't a pocket designed into the interior already, but it's an easy thing to add.  The lining of this is a lovely double faced very sturdy satin.  It's sold out now, but this would make a very nice substitution.


This pattern is definitely a great introductory way to start making bags: it has very minimal notions needs (two O or D rings, 1-2 zippers, and firm sew-in interfacing) and creates a very nice handbag with clean lines in a very usable size.



I had two of the 8-10 square foot skins, and ended up using about 1 1/4 of them to make this bag fully in leather.  This pattern also has an option to use a coordinating fabric for one half of the body.


Leather is certainly a snarky mistress; I had smooth sailing in some areas, and in others had some terrible looking stitching on the bobbin side of the stitches.  Unfortunately, some of this is visible from the top edge of the bag.  Since stitching leather creates perforations that cannot and do not "heal," like fabric can, so I've left it for now for fear of weakening it by ripping and restitching.



I have a Pfaff Performance 5.0, which does have a walking foot, but according to a Pfaff Facebook group I'm in, I would've benefited from a Teflon foot, going super snail slow in my stitching (instead of just fairly slow), and even greater tension than I used (I was at a 7; the default on my machine is 4.6).  I used Coats & Clark "Heavy" thread and used a bit of a longer stitch (3.5) and a size 18 leather needle, which cuts/pierces the hide more than a sharp would.


I feel like I've learned a lot but there is still so much for me to know about working with leather.  My machine definitely seems to struggle with it, so I may not revisit it in the short term, but despite my struggles, I'm really quite happy with this bag!

Until next time, friends!
Jess

Comments

Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving a comment! All comments are reviewed before posting to help us eliminate spam. Your comment will be posted within 24 hours.

Popular Posts You Might Like

Made By A Fabricista: Wintry Chic in Wool

Hello, all! Here we find ourselves in the midst of winter and it’s still chilly, but most of the festivities are over. I feel all the doldrums this time of year and mostly wind up wearing shapeless sweats much of the time, but I’d like to shake that off and aim for something much more stylish. I suppose we could file this measure under dopamine dressing, too. Hard to not step a little lighter in pretty clothes! I planned this outfit idea around a wool skirt. This design is luxurious, classic, and so easy to wear, and I chose a medium-weight wool suiting fabric in a tiny houndstooth to attempt to make it more transeasonal. I love a good larger plaid, but that pattern type definitely screams fall and winter to me, and I’m thinking this would be equally snappy worn with a graphic tee and some clogs for spring.  The threads are mostly black and cream, but the design is so tiny that this skirt really reads gray, and I love this more muted appearance; it’s really neutral and pairs with so mu

Made By A Fabricista: Luxe Viscose Rayon Wrap Dress

I've always loved long flowy dresses that skim the floor, no matter what the season is. However, particularly around the Springtime! It's been a while since I've created one but since Spring is right around the corner I'm getting the itch to add them to my wardrobe.  For this months Fabricista feature, I sharing a selection from Fabric Mart's gorgeous viscose rayon collection.  I fell in love with this beautiful viscose rayon fabric which, if you know viscose, you know it  is the perfect fabric for a flowy floor length piece. It's lightweight, yet still opaque, fluid and soft to the touch.  Also, I think viscose is just heavy enough that it's not annoyingly slippery and hard to handle as satin and silks.  Needless to say I was taken by this bold vibrant print! If you know some of my previous pieces I've made, bold and vibrant is my jam! I chose to create a rendition of my Early Spring KnowMe Pattern ME 2020. It's a wrap woven wrap dress with cargo po

Week 4: Jeansmaking- What They Made

This is it, the final round! And we certainly did not go easy on our three remaining contestants this time. This round they had to make their own pair of well fitting jeans. I think they all did an absolutely outstanding job! Take a look what these ladies accomplished & be sure to vote for your favorite! (Link at bottom of post.) And, don't forget to show us your me-made jeans on Facebook or Instagram. Details at the bottom of this post. Danesha from  Classyfied Life So first I must say that this entire challenge has been just that...a challenge! Two weeks ago there was hurricane Irma and I was blessed enough to not lose power and then I went out into the aftermath to capture some photos of my submission. Then two weeks ago I had a big trip planned so I had to do EVERYTHING  in two days . Then the BIGGEST challenge of all...THIS week! I got the challenge and I was super excited to have an extra few days and then before I could even get started I ended up in the eme