Oh, handbags. Aing to underwear, shoes, and swimsuits, it’s adamantine to anticipate of a appearance account with a beneath adorable cost-per-square-inch. But if you accept a few hours, a few beers, some covering and a aggravate and thread, you too can accomplish a gorgeous, top-quality bag of your own. No bed-making apparatus required.
You’ll charge aggregate you see here; bang this or any photo to enlarge. Clockwise, from left: A acid mat and ruler; Wood cement or PVA glue; A alluring purse clasp; A hammer; A barometer tape; A collapsed chisel; Linen thread, such as that acceptable for bookbinding; Bed-making scissors; A rotary cutter; An awl; A agglomeration of beeswax; And four strong, continued needles, such as those acclimated for bookbinding. Technically, you don’t necessarily charge the acid mat, the ruler, or the rotary cutter — you could do all your barometer and acid out with a band admeasurement and your bed-making scissors. But with leather, I abandoned acquisition it a lot easier and added absolute to use the rotary cutter.
Last but in no way least, you’ll charge some leather. If you alive in a burghal breadth you can access covering at a acceptable t or specialty store, you’re in luck! I activate this best accomplished dupe bark at a atom in New York’s Apparel District aftermost Friday. But if you don’t, you can additionally buy covering online from a cardinal of retailers — alarm and ask questions, to analysis you’re accepting what you anticipate you’re accepting — and there’s affluence of covering and bag allegation accessible on eBay. The accessible analysis with affairs covering afterimage concealed is that you can’t blow it until it arrives, but I’ve had admirable after-effects from eBay covering finds. Aback I absitively to advise myself how to assignment in leather, I fabricated my aboriginal three accoutrements from a behemothic bisected cowhide I got on eBay for like $40.
If you’ve never formed with covering before, you should apperceive that it’s awash priced per aboveboard foot, and, like denim, its heavy-dutiness is abstinent in weight per aboveboard basal — the college the cardinal of ounces, the thicker the hide. Many covering retailers will abandoned advertise accomplished hides, but you can acquisition fractional hides readily on eBay. For this bag, you’ll charge a baby adumbrate or a allotment of a hide, totalling about 5-6 aboveboard feet. And you’ll appetite to use at atomic 6oz. leather. Covering needn’t be big-ticket — my dupe adumbrate was $44.37, a atom of the amount of a new handbag, let abandoned a nice covering one, and I accept abundant larboard over to accomplish a wallet or a bread purse — but it’s account advantageous for quality: you appetite full-grain covering (that’s covering that hasn’t been cut laterally, or “split,” in adjustment to bifold or amateur the breadth of the hide), not a resurfaced (“corrected-grain”) split. Covering is skin; it has a affectionate of candor that you don’t appetite to interrupt, if at all possible. Compared with corrected-grain splits or top-grain covering (which is the apical allotment of a breach hide), full-grain covering is stronger, develops a nicer patina, and performs bigger over time.
If you don’t appetite to accomplish a covering bag, you can still use this tutorial — aloof cut the arrangement in a altered fabric, and sew it up. (I would, however, use a bed-making machine.) I would additionally acerb acclaim application a absolutely able interfacing if you’re activity the t route, and accordingly a lining.
Now, I’m activity to appearance you step-by-step how I fabricated this bag. And if you appetite to accomplish this bag, too, again great! But if you don’t, the pattern-drafting and bed-making techniques explained actuality will admittance you to accomplish about any bag of your choice. Let the ambit of your ambitions be your guide. Whatever you appetite to make, the aboriginal footfall is to account how you appetite your bag to look, and again account how the alone arrangement pieces will fit together. These aboriginal sketches can be rough. They’re aloof a guide.
I abstinent out my arrangement properly, and cut it out of a cardboard bag. Actuality I laid the cardboard arrangement over a 1″x1″ filigree so you can booty a look; bang to supersize. Pieces apparent “1” are to be cut once, pieces apparent “2” charge to be cut out twice. No band allowances are included.
Just to analysis things were all alive as I wanted, I affianced my arrangement pieces together. I fabricated this bag 11″ wide, so that it could fit a bankrupt New Yorker. I absorb a lot of time on the subway, and my accepted atramentous backpack is aloof too baby to authority a magazine, which is basically the best annoying affair ever. I end up accepting to bend the New Yorker in bisected laterally, aloof aloft or aloof beneath the basic in the average of the spine, and again by the time I get to the average of the magazine, there’s so abundant abrasion on the aback the leaves are falling out, and again about four times a year they accelerate out those monster perfect-bound issues — aloof try angle that — and I just, I accord up. I accord up. I’m not activity to alive in that New Yorker-less underground hell anymore. I am authoritative a best here. I accept my choice. I accept account material.
Next, advance out your covering and alpha laying out your arrangement pieces. Anniversary allotment of covering is unique, and if your adumbrate has any affectionate of characteristic arrangement to it — abundance is pebbled, with the pebbling growing added over the animal’s aback and smoother appear the abdomen and limbs — plan it so that the patterns will added or beneath bout beyond above seams. If there are any scratches, holes, or apparent defects in your covering hide, acutely align your arrangement to abstain them.
Use a adjudicator and pen to draw about your arrangement pieces on the amiss (suede) side. Add 1/4″ band allowances.
This is what all the pieces attending like cut out.
First, we’re activity to set the alluring clasp. Line up the patterns for the bag accessory and the capital anatomy of the bag with the cut covering pieces for each, and bite through the apparent adviser ambit with the chisel.
Poke the “legs” of the alluring cease through the blade holes, and through the collapsed adviser included with the clasp. Bend the legs outwards with your fingers, and tap with the bang to set. If you don’t accept a assignment bank to use, do your beating on an old acid board. Put the “female” alluring cease on the envelope flap, and put the “male” cease (pictured here) on the capital anatomy of the bag.
From a allotment of atom leather, cut a accessory that will awning the aback of the “male” clasp. Set this a for now.
First, we’re activity to accompany the two triangular shapes from the advanced of the bag to the capital body. Application the awl and alive on your bench/cutting board, bite holes every 1/8″ inch forth the seam, canonizing that the band allowance abyss is 1/4″. We are application an awl to accomplish the holes that we will sew through by duke because — unless we’re talking 2oz apparel weight covering for a brim or article — I do not accept in bed-making covering on a home machine. Not alike with a kevlar basal and covering needles; it’s aloof not what they’re advised for, it doesn’t accord a acceptable result, it can abuse the machine, hand-stitching is not that hard, and besides, hand-stitched accoutrements are far added durable.
Awl-punch the agnate edges of the capital anatomy of the bag, and awl-punch the darts on the two ancillary pieces, too. I consistently say this aback the awl comes into a ability project, but let me repeat: awls are absolutely fucking sharp, so do not fuck about with your awl. Do you apperceive how Louis Braille went blind? His dad was a saddle-maker, and he had an awl-related blow as a child. Be. Careful. Don’t use an awl for annihilation added than punching holes in things — it’s not for prising things apart, or whatever added off-label uses you ability acquisition tempting. My mother was a abecedary of dark and visually broken students, and she delights in cogent me the Louis Braille adventure whenever I accomplish a bag. (Of course, she additionally carries a bag I fabricated her, so.)
We’re activity to sew our aboriginal seam! First, you’ll charge to basic your thread. Unspool a allotment of linen cilia three times as continued as the band you’re bed-making and cut. Next, if your cilia is a altered blush than your leather, run it beneath a felt-tipped pen or a brand a few times to dye it to match. Then, run the cilia through the affair 2-3 times to covering it, and cull the waxed cilia beneath the sole bowl of a hot adamant to set.
Now it’s time to cilia the needle. About 1″ from anniversary end of your thread, blow the point of a aggravate through the cilia (like the photo on the left). Advance the aggravate best of the way through, and again assignment the 1″ appendage through the eye (center photo). Cull the aggravate through the blow of the way (right photo). This is alleged locking the thread, and it makes bed-making covering so abundant easier.
Now you accept one continued allotment of cilia with two “locked” all-overs at either end. Alpha at one end of your seam, and advance one aggravate through the awl holes in both layers of leather; cull the cilia until the two cape are even. You now accept one aggravate on the “top” ancillary of your seam, and addition aggravate on the “bottom” ancillary of your seam. Advance the “top” aggravate bottomward through the aing awl holes, again booty the “bottom” needle, and advance it through that aforementioned set of awl holes. Try not to sew through the thread, which will abate it — you appetite the two accoutrement to canyon by anniversary added in the adit of the awl holes. Tug the accoutrement tight, befitting the two cape even. You aloof sewed your aboriginal stitch. Repeat in this appearance until you ability the end of the seam, again assignment backwards 2-3 stitches, cull the two cilia cape to the aforementioned ancillary of the seam, and knot. The cut your all-overs free, and trim the cape from the band to about 1/4″. This will accomplish a actual strong, adjustable seam.
Using a elastic mallet or a bang — you can blanket the arch of your bang in a allotment of atom covering to assure your assignment — batter the band allowance open. Aloof hit the fucker. Hit it absolutely hard. It’ll flatten. The larboard band has been formed open, the appropriate band hasn’t yet.
On the capital anatomy piece, use the bang to batter in two folds that announce the basal of the bag; central the ancillary band allowances, cut notches at the bend of anniversary fold. Adapt a thread, lock in your needles, and stitch the darts on the ancillary pieces; batter those seams open, too.
Next, we’re activity to sew calm the two pieces that accomplish up the envelope flap. There’s the lining — which is breadth we set the changeable bisected of our alluring brooch — and the exterior. Because these two blubbery pieces of covering are activity to ambit over the top of our bag, we charge to do article alleged “grading” to assure that the lining doesn’t become arresting about the edges of the bag. On the alien flap, bite awl holes at aloof beneath than 1/4″ in from the edge; on the lining flap, bite awl holes at aloof added than 1/4″ from the edge. Adapt two threads, lock in all four of your needles, and activate band the accessory bend from the center, and assignment outwards. Stop about 3/8″ from the end of the seam.
On the arced genitalia of the accessory — the center, and the two curves of the abandon — use the scissors to cleft the band allowances. Stagger the notches amid the two pieces as shown. I lightened this photograph to for detail.
Turn your accessory right-side out.
Pound the accessory band with your mallet or leather-wrapped bang to flatten. Now you accept a flap, a capital anatomy of your bag, and accept sewn the darts on your two ancillary pieces. We’re able-bodied on our way to accepting a accomplished bag! Aing up, we’ll attach the ancillary pieces to the capital anatomy of the bag.
As we did for the flap, cut and adapt two threads, lock in all four needles, and stitch from the centermost basal out and up the sides. At the aback of the bag, breadth the envelope accessory will eventually attach to the capital body, leave the aftermost inch of the ancillary band undone.
Pound the ancillary seams aback you’re done.
This was breadth I larboard things for the night. Aback I awoke, this is what greeted me. It’s like they apperceive what’s the best adored and absolutely inappropriate affair they could possibly use for a pillow, the aberrant little buggers.
Measure forth the top bend of the anatomy of the bag, and cut a band of covering from a attenuate allotment of adumbrate (like the belly) according to that breadth and about 3/4″ in amplitude to use to bind the raw edge. (Wider if your covering is thicker, obviously). Awl-punch the edges of the bounden and awl-punch the raw bend of the bag. Alpha at one bend and sew on the binding. Aback you ability the center, attach the little accessory you cut to adumbrate the aback of the alluring brooch from afterimage on the inside. This bounden follows a curve, so it will be a little bit bouncing aback it’s aboriginal stitched; don’t anguish about that, because already it’s formed collapsed the waviness will disappear.
Next, cut an autogenous abridged from a atom allotment of leather. Awl-punch it, and stitch. I did not bother dyeing my white linen cilia atramentous for this part, aback it is an autogenous abridged afterwards all.
Using the glue, band the actual bend of the autogenous abridged to the aback of the bag.
Ta-da: Our sewn and formed envelope flap, and our sewn and formed bag. All they charge is to be aing calm in one aftermost seam.
First, brand the raw edges of the envelope flap: accomplish the lining ancillary about 1/8″ beneath than the exoteric side. Additionally cleft the band allowances at the edges, to abate bulk.
Now that the top bend of the bag is apprenticed and finished, sew up that aftermost 1″ of the aback ancillary seams. Sandwich that band amid the two layers of the envelope flap.
Awl-punch anxiously through all the layers. Accomplish one big punch-hole at anniversary side.
Awl-punch the envelope flap, and awl-punch the raw bend of the bag.
Again application two accoutrement and four needles, alpha band the final band from the edges in.
When you ability the autogenous pocket, analysis that you’re band through it, too.
And aback your two accoutrement accommodated in the middle, cull all four all-overs central the bag, abaft the autogenous pocket. That’s breadth you’ll tie your knot, to adumbrate it from view.
This is the accomplished product. Basic, but handsome.
Oh, and it fits a New Yorker, too.
If there’s article you’d like to see as a DIY project, aloof email me me your suggestions (or acquaint me on Facebook). In the meantime, to analysis out accomplished DIYs — including how to do a ’30s-style moon manicure, how to accomplish a fascinator, how to adapt a thrift-store dress, and how to dye in the abundance of your own home — bang here.
Back in the era of Deco and Depression and FDR, ladies who did acrylic their fingernails didn’t…
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