Friday, October 31, 2014

fear fabric: leather

This past year of sewing has been all about facing (not necessarily conquering) my fears -- fabric fears being one of them. I mean, just think of how many wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses I had to work with. That's a lot of chiffon, satin, organza, netting, lace, beading, charmeuse, and many more types of shiny polyester that nearly suffocated me mid-bustle. Nothing's scarier than being trapped under the train of a two-ton wedding dress, swimming upstream through miles of scratchy tulle as you try to find where you dropped that hand needle...

So when Beth of 110 Creations announced her Fear Fabric challenge again this year (I sewed lace last year), I was stumped for awhile deciding what kind of "scary" fabric could top bridal fabrics. The Project Runway devil on my shoulder made me briefly consider neoprene or, ha!, fringe. I don't know where to find those fabrics locally though, or most importantly, where I would wear those garments locally. 

I decided to return to the basics: leather. I've sewn vinyl before, as seen on my beloved Portside Duffel, but never the real deal because it's expensive and I figured my machine couldn't sew leather. The ethical issue I won't really get into here, but I've recently swung my moral pendulum after a lifetime of purchasing cheaply manufactured fake leather items from Target that peel or fall apart before the week is through. Which is now an industry I'm no longer keen to support. Anyway, I bought a black leather hide remnant at a local shop on Fabric Row in Philly. The piece was damaged so I got it at a discount. I know that my machine (and wallet) can't handle much, so I decided to keep it on the small scale and just use it as an accent on a bag.

This pattern is a foldover clutch that students learn to make in Sewing 101 at Butcher's Sew Shop, the studio where I work sometimes. Appropriate that I'm sewing with cow skin in an old butcher's shop? That's dark. I'm at the studio quite a bit, so I'm always getting inspired by what the owner and the students are making. Those newbie sewers blow this bag out of the water, by the way (example here).

This is a lined zippered bag with D-rings on the sides to attach a strap. I did not make the strap shown in these photos, and I know it doesn't really match, but my machine would NOT sew through the layers necessary to make my own leather strap, try as I might, so I swiped this one from my camera bag for the time being. The fold in the foldover clutch is also supposed to be deeper, but I wanted to make it tall enough to carry my laptop/tablet thing.

The upper layer is camel colored wool, also purchased locally at yet another fabric store that is going out of business in this world. RIP PFO. 50% off though, yo. I used a gold metal zipper and lined the bag with a quilting cotton print I bought, like, pre-blog. I applied fusible fleece to the lining pieces because I originally hoped to use this as a laptop bag, but the zipper I used isn't long enough for my laptop to fit through, horizontally anyway. Nice planning!

Other than the strap issue, my machine did okay with the construction. I found it slightly easier than vinyl to sew because it was more pliable and less sticky icky. I used a walking foot, a leather needle, and Wonder Clips instead of pins to keep the layers together. I bought 20 Wonder Clips two weeks ago and I'm already down to 14, with the lost six huddled together somewhere hidden, giggling at me. How does that happen?!

Happy with my bag because obvi I love black and camel as a color combo, so it matches like 85% of what I've been wearing lately. I'm also happy that Corey recognized the genuine leather on this bag and thus assumed I didn't make it. Boomy. I did.

Paired here randomly with New Look 6299 that I made in black and gold stretch denim. Unblogged, like most of what I've made in the past 6 months. Sorry about that. Rest assured that most of what I've made is either black and white, black and tan, or black and brown. Or are undies.

Thanks for hosting the Fear Fabric challenge again this year, Beth. And Happy Halloween, spooksters!