Yesterday, I finished another custom order bag. This bag. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so proud about a bag! Really. I purchased new tools earlier last week because I’m receiving more leather requests which is really great, leatherwork has always really intrigued me. I wanted more control over the making of my leather pieces, more control that I get using my machine. Don’t get me wrong because I love my machine and it kickass, but it’s not technically a leather machine. It’s great with some leather and straight lines if the leather is thin enough, but I know it would hate it if I added more layers or ran a thicker leather through it.
I’ve been watching countless of videos on YouTube over the last few months on leather work, so I knew what to generally look for. I learn very good this way… by seeing. I can see someone doing something and I try to Simon Says it- try it out myself. I feel that I generally require a lot of trial and error on a number of crafting projects but I found myself thinking “this is so so so easy” while I started stitching these leather pieces together. Not to mention is was so much more meditating. These are my new tools (and new leather – the thick one of the right is for new straps!!):
Prepping the leather to be hand-stitched by creating holes looks like this. This part is fun because I really love mallets and hammers. Always have. Ever since I’ve been a kid. True story right there.
I picked up a few leather hole punchers so that I could start hand-stitching and I picked up an xacto knife so I can have more control when cutting my shapes. I need to order a few more helpful tools but I think I have to order them online because I can’t find anymore… I have to ask the leather repair guy down the street, if he has any local tips, just to make sure. I personally think that using tools takes a lot more attention than using a machine which might not be appealing to some makers, but it’s great for me because I love to sit and think, especially about puzzling shapes together and it requires me to use my hands in a lot of different ways. More time is required when more attention is needed. It took me 3 or 4 days to finish this bag but I spread my hours apart each day so I could also work on another custom order. Normally, it only takes me 1-2 days to make fabric bags. I totaled my notes of hours I was working on this leather duffle and I came up to a total of pretty-damn-close to 15 hours.
The black and white textile on this bag is a blanket that was weaved (most likely on a traditional loom or by hand) in Oaxaca, Mexico. Textiles is huge in Mexico. I am very fortunate for this and have fallen in love with blankets and rugs because of it. I’ve always loved them since I kid but so much more now… because I appreciate the hard-work and tradition put into them. Each piece of the blanket on the bag is probably finished and backed with appropriate stabilizers so that it will not fray away from the bag. The curves of the bag are hand-stitched with nylon waxed thread to give a softness and flexibility to the seams…. and last pretty notable detail, this is fully lined in black cotton with 4 pockets and a leather key fob (but you’ll see in the pictures below).
15 1/2″ wide with a 14 1/2″ zipper opening
9 1/2″ tall and 7″ deep (front to back)
There are two leather pockets at 3 1/4″ x 4 1/2″, one cotton pocket 7 1/4″ x 5″
The strap drop can be customized but my drafted pattern has them at 41″ long, with a drop of 46″ when clipped onto bag. (I’m adding shorter straps to the shop soon – which is why this design is detachable)
This bag is for Carly (the wonderful, most beautiful, stylish, and kind hearted lady pants of the Black and Bronze Etsy shop!) but I really like this style and enjoyed making it so much. I would love to do more leather duffle bags like these. If anyone would like a custom order of this bag, similar to this bag, or if you have an idea for your very own just contact me here and I will respond to you as soon as I can with more details – I’m the only one who reads the Bird Trouble emails! I’ll be adding this design to the shop as soon as I can so you can just order it off of there, but contact me in the meanwhile or if you just want to. Whatever! 😉 I only accept Paypal as a form of payment and I will ship worldwide and I have multiple options for shipping – regular mail (2-4 weeks), DHL (3-5 days), or FedEx (3-5 days). Let’s schedule you your very own handcrafted Bird Trouble! – Alexz