Friday, June 1, 2012

Leather? Not so much

A client asked me to make a bag out of leather.  He supplied the leather.  The front and back panels were stiff leather and the front had a photo of his nephews on it.  The remainder of the bag was made of supple leather that felt like butter.
The good news is I did complete the bag.
The bad news is I found out that I'm not happy sewing on leather.  Even with using wash away stabilizer on the top and bottom (it did make it feed better), the stitch quality was not good.  My machine doesn't like sewing leather either.  I tried using the walking foot but the space around the needle was too big and allowed the leather to pull upwards with the needle and wouldn't make a stitch when that happened.  I ended up sewing the whole thing with my zipper foot as it's the one that has the smallest clearance around the needle.
Once I had it done, lined and everything, I wasn't happy with the zipper.  I'd made it too short so opening the bag was cramped.  The opening was about 2" shorter than the bag on each side.  So, I took it out and made another top panel with a longer zipper.  Now I'm satisfied.
Another problem I had was, when I taped the stabilizer in place on the back panel - no problem taking it off.  When I took the tape off the front panel - where the photo was - it pulled a chunk of the finish off.  My client says it's not a problem and he can refinish it easily.  Add to this that the clearance around the needle on my Horizon is not meant for bag work when  it's not made of scrunchable fabric.  The upper feed dogs for the walking foot fold up and back, but were definitely in the way when trying to manoeuvre the bag in the tight spots.  We just won't discuss how many expensive leather needles I went through.
So, the long and the short of it is- I'm sticking to fabric.

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