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: Maxi Looks for Summer

Happy Saturday All!!   This summer break seems to be flying by so quickly and I only have one month before I return to virtual teaching.  After parent surveys, union, and school board meetings our school district is returning to virtual teaching and learning next month.  The cases in Miami Dade County have surged over the last few weeks and with over 70K cases in the county where I teach, and a growing 300K + cases in Florida, I don’t even know when things will return back to normal due to COVID-19.
I have been heartbroken but the only thing I can appeal to others is to stay safe and wear your mask. I am blessed so far to have no immediate family member affected by this pandemic. It has been a tough year for most of us but I am pretty sure that this too shall pass.
Now let’s get into my summer sewing plans!!  Last month I selected 2 prints: a zebra chevron and an animal print and knew I wanted to make maxi looks for summer. Unfortunately, both challis prints are sold out but there are…

Made by a Fabricista: Autumn Transitional Dress and Cardis

Hello Fabric Mart friends!

So nice to say hey again!  Just want to take this opportunity to wish my awesome, sweet and amazing firstborn a Happy 5th Birthday this week.  It's hard to believe he's already FIVE!

Like many folks I've been spending a lot of time at home this Summer, which has translated into lots of sewing.  I've often had a thoughts about sewing for the upcoming season to get maximum wear out of garments, but often seem to be playing catch up for the current season.  But not this time:  here are my first transitional pieces for Autumn, entirely inspired by the wonderful sweater knits I kept spying at Fabric Mart.


First up is the cardigan:  Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan


This is the third Blackwood I've made, but the first of the shorter iteration (view B).  It makes me want to sew up a 3/4 sleeve cropped version!


The fabric is a delightfully mottled abstract blot poly/lycra sweater knit.  Unfortunately, it's sold out at the site now but you…