1 - Table of Contents, and why in the first place.
2 - Research.
3 - Designing.
4 - Tooling.
5 - Other Leatherworking Steps.
6 - Dyeing.
7 - Assembling.
8 - Sewing a lining.
9 - Finished pictures!
Other leatherworking stuff.
I bevelled all the edges of my leather so they’d look a little bit nicer, with a safety beveller. I also used this tool to skive all the edges.
Skiving means thinning the leather, literally to remove layers. Think about it this way. I have an edge that is going to be folded over another piece of leather. If I leave them as is, rectangular, they are going to be nice and thick. But if I skive them both down to a more triangular shape, together they’ll make a rectangle. More in depth.
Another thing that will make it look nicer is having the stitching sit about even with the leather. I didn’t do this with my entire bag, which I should have, but I did do it for some parts. What you do is run an adustable groover along the edge of your leather.
You adjust it to the width that you want there to be between the edge of your leather and your stitching line, and then you take the solid piece that is part of the handle, and run that along the edge of your leather. The adjustable ‘L’ piece will take off a thin bit of leather. It’s pretty neat! It will take off more depending on how hard you press.
After that, if you are handsewing this leather LIKE A BOSS, then you need to take what is basically a quilting tool and run it along the groove you just made. (It’s actually called an Overstitch Wheel System.)
It has different sized wheels that will put the stitches different widths apart.
You can see the marks that the little wheel makes in this image:
... I swear you can. They’re not terribly easy to see, one thing I read recommended going back and putting a mark with a pen or a pencil or something on each mark, so you can see it easier.
To make the leather fold nicely, I used a V gouge to gouge out some V grooves on the folds on the inside of the leather. Then I wet the folds, and put them over a sharp corner, and used what was basically a bone folder to get the crease as sharp as I could get it. I also took the leather off of the corner, and then folded it right in half, and went over that. I was trying to have it basically be in the correct shape, for when I would assemble it down the road.
All this, and I still needed to punch the holes so I could sew this together. I couldn’t use my sewing machine, which is a nice little domestic Brother who would cry if it even saw a piece of leather. I believe the accepted method to assemble something like this is to use an awl to punch holes in the leather, or a leather punch. My very small girly hands are not strong enough to use the leather punch... I was worried.
Luckily my Dad was thinking, and said ‘Why not use my drill press’?
So I did. No picture, though I could have sworn I took one of my sweet set up!
The other problem was drilling the holes so that they would line up, when I assembled this at my own home, in another province. The solution that I came up with was to use some clips, padded with other pieces of leather so they won’t mark my good stuff, and then to drill a couple of holes in the middle and near each edge. Then I used some upholstery thread that I had to do what my Mom described as a tailor tack but isn’t really to hold it all together. After that, I could take off the clamps and drill holes right to the edges.
I think we’re ready to dye! You want to make sure that you have done everything you need to do to the leather first, because if you have to cut another groove, you’re going to cut through the dye (obviously) to the undyed stuff underneath. I could look pretty cool as a design element, if you wanted to do that!