Canberra Frocktails : Clutching leather
As soon as I decided I was going to Canberra Frocktails I had a vision of a silk dress, a leather clutch and some knock-out heels. Making the dress was a no-brainer (it was a sewing gathering after all!) but I decided that I would ‘have a go’ at making the leather clutch. It was time to learn some new skills!
With no real leather-making experience I trawled the internet and Pinterest for inspiration, tips and tricks. I soon decided that a zippered clutch was out of the question as my sewing machine wasn’t fond of sewing leather… even if I used a leather needle, top stitching/embroidery thread and a long-stitch length. I’ve since learned that a walking foot might solve all my problems… so I’ll be testing out that theory soon.
As using a sewing machine wasn’t on the cards, punching the holes and hand stitching stitching it together was the next best option. I’ve recently subscribed to Creativebug and the leather classes were really helpful. Little tips like using craft glue to secure the two layers together before punching the holes, were gold.
After checking out the leather on offer at the NSW Leather Company (they have a showroom in Collingwood) I ended up buying from The Fabric Store as they are able to cut some some hides and this magenta had my name on it!
I designed my clutch myself, ensuring that a mobile phone, credit-card sized purse, hankie and a room key would fit. I mocked-up a paper version to test the size and then cut my leather with my trusty rotary cutter, quilter’s ruler & self healing mat. The edge of the flap is actually the natural edge of the hide and I really like how it softens the whole look.
My leather tools (hole punch, hammer & some other things for another project) were purchased at Leffler Leather. Leffler’s also have a huge range of hides and let’s face it… all things leather!
With my leather purchased, my how-to research completed and the template sorted…. well that just left the closure. This is where my previous bag making experience (see here) came into play. I opted for a small magnetic clasp which lead to a little bit of ‘making it up as you go’ crafting.
The clutch wasn’t going to be lined and the areas where the magnetic clasp are attached (remember there is a front and back to secure) requires interfacing. My solution was a little square of leather sown on the inside of the flap, hiding everything underneath, and creating some decorative top stitching on the front. I was pretty pleased with my solution… I mean design feature!
The other on-the-fly decision was to add interfacing to a portion of the leather to give the clutch some much needed structure. I have no idea about the ‘rules’ when it comes to interfacing and leather… I just did my own thing. This is one of the benefits of being a newbie! After testing it out on a scrap of leather, I ended up using 100% cotton fusible interfacing which is sometimes referred to as buckram but is I purchased it from Clegs under the brand/product name Shapeform. I only added the interfacing to the section of the leather that became the inside of the clutch pocket (the bottom third of my piece of leather).
Jillian also made a clutch for Frocktails (did I mention that I was in fine company?) and she stitched a thinner piece of leather to line the back of her clutch and add structure. Something I’ll definitely keep in mind for next time.
I brought waxed linen thread for this project from Luccello. I used orange for the design feature and a bright blue for the rest of the stitching. If the truth be told, I’ll be looking for slightly thicker waxed linen for any future leather makes. I used the smallest hole punch available and I would like the thread to ‘fill up’ those holes a little more than they did on this.
I can attest to having caught the leather making bug. Currently, I’m dreaming about making a leather tote. I wonder if it will become a reality?