A First Time for Everything

A new project in the pipelines.  An item that my customer used to be able to find easily and one that is not so easily available in the style and quality required.  A clutch bag or summer bag for use by both men and women.  The video clip shows some of the cutting while the photographs show the skived edges, the lining attached and the top of the panel lined and stitched.

The bag will be double gusseted with flap and a solid brass lock for the closure.  This variation has been specified to have a hand carry strap.  The alternative is a shoulder strap.  This one will have a strap anchor point on only one side.  The main items to be carried are a file-o-fax and a book along with a few small loose items.  The purpose of the bag is to enable the user to carry essential daily items in warm weather without the bag lying against the body and without a shoulder strap that will interfere with the neck area of the clothing.  So a combination of comfort in warm weather and practicality.

The materials are the replica Russia leather from J & FJ Baker tannery, Fil au Chinois Lin cable thread, double dyed goad kid suede lining and solid brass lock.

We are considering putting a coat wallet pocket on the back panel on the inside of the bag.  One of the small features to aid in carrying small items is a small loop and split ring on the inside of the bag close to the top.  An inner flap will enable the user to carry loose items without fear of them dropping out from the tops of the gussets.

The design of this bag is a joint effort between my customer and I.  Therefore it is highly customised and bespoke.  I may make some changes to the design as I go along which happens usually in the first one or two makings of a new design.  If the design works well I may add it to my young and growing range of completely hand made luxury leather items for sale.

As per my customers’ request I will be uploading further posts detailing my progress.

A bit more about the photographs for those who are interested.  The panel being prepared is the middle partition between the two compartments.  I have chosen the same Russia leather as the outer so that there is some contrast inside the bag and to balance the bright red lining.  The alternative is to use cheap thinner leather such as russet and line it on both sides with the goat suede.  The edges have been feather skived so that when the gussets are attached on either side of the  edge of the panel, the edge of this middle panel is not visible.  This ensures that all of the edges of the bag, front, middle and back seams are of equal thickness.  The first photograph shows my saddle stitching the top of the panel using my awl to pierce the leather and the two threaded needles that form the saddle stitch.  The stitch density for the whole bag is 10 spi (stitches per inch).

The lining is also feather skived so that the bright red is not visible from the outside.  From the outside the bag is brown and when the front flap is lifted it reveals a deep bright red lining.  A contrast both in colour and in texture.

I was a little nervous cutting into this exquisite (and expensive) piece of leather but the moment the knife touched the leather the nerves vanished.  I spent most of my day today at the Walsall Leather Museum preparing this panel.  In between I was able to visit a friend (a master, award winning saddler) to use some of his tools after forgetting mine at home!  Walsall, again, being the perfect place for leather craft.  The Museum is such a peaceful place on a quiet day.  The sun streaming through the traditional metal framed single glazed windows, the creaking of the wooden floorboards, the mesmerising fragrance of vegetable tanned leather and the resonance left behind by the many men and women who spent hours, days, months and years making leather goods by hand.  Doesn’t get much better!