Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Perfect Stitch

In my latest adventures with leather, I have been researching and experimenting with different threads, needles and trying to achieve the perfect stitch. While asking my good friend Google questions, I came across a forum post by a factory worker who sews leather items and he mentioned not to waste money on thicker thread and just use a regular, good quality thread. It really won't make a difference. This is good to know BUT I really, really love the look of those thicker threads on leather. It adds to the personality of the bag - especially when the stitch is nice and done in a contrasting colour.

So far I have tried: Gutermann polyester thread, Gutermann extra strong thread, Coats and Clarke all purpose thread and lastly, Gutermann upholstery thread.

The all purpose threads - they work. They work really great actually. They are quite tough and the seams seem to be fairly sturdy. They just don't show up very well and that's not the look I am going for!

The extra strong thread works but I found I needed to use a bigger leather needle (100/16 at least) so the thicker thread would go through the needle without fraying. This is a problem however because I've found that the smaller leather needles go through multiple layers of leather a lot easier (go figure!) My bobbin casing DEFINITELY does not like this thread and it would fray immediately. This one is out!

Gutermann upholstery thread - after hours and hours of research and a lot of trial and error I think I've finally figured it out. This is a very thick thread and looks really great. Pros - can be threaded into a variety of needles sizes and works perfectly fine in my bobbin case. Cons - not many colour choices at my local store and I find the end does fray and unravel quite easily. HOWEVER, here is what I had to do so my stitches came out perfectly top and bottom:

1. lower bobbin tension almost to the lowest tension
2. use my maximum top thread tension setting (mine is 9)
3. go with a bigger needle size than my usual 80/12 leather needle. I can manage with a 90/14 but found it better with a 100/16.

Here is the end result:

I'm a pretty happy girl. I'll have to give it a try with my next bag!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Convertible Clutch Pattern Review

I was browsing on Pinterest today and came across this pattern for a convertible clutch by LBG studio. I love bags that can be used in more than one way as you can probably tell by my convertible bags. So on a whim, I bought the pattern and since it was a rainy day I figured it was the perfect time for a small sewing project.

The pattern is very easy to follow and I think this bag could be made by beginners. I did make some changes to the handle because I like my handles very sturdy so I inserted 2 pieces of heavyweight Pellon interfacing (the sew in kind) into each handle at the last step where you sew the top band onto the body of the bag. The pieces were approximately 7 inches x 1 inch. It did make for some thicker sewing but Pellon is so easy to sew through and I like how sturdy the handles are now.

Another change I made was to insert the magnetic snap to the lining pieces before attaching the lining to the outer shell. It just made more sense to me and I always make bags this way.

This bag is a good size at about 11.5 inches wide x 8 inches high to the bottom of the handle and about 3 inches deep when it is unfolded. It comes with a small pocket inside that is the perfect size for a phone.

I'm not sure if I will start producing these for my Etsy shop but I did enjoy making it. You can buy your own version of this pattern here.