My summer projects have been focused on leather handbags. My first handbag was a bucket bag, adapted from a pattern by Fabu-Leather.
I used beautiful lightweight leather purchased in New York, on my shopping adventure with Sheryl documented in a previous post. The big question with sewing leather is : Can I sew it with my home machine? Well with with this ½ ounce leather, I was able to use my home sewing machine (Bernina). It is recommended to use #69 bonded nylon thread. Check out Arthur Porter’s video on thread here. I used this nylon thread in the top needle, but the bobbin had to be regular weight polyester thread as my tension did not like nylon thread in the bobbin. So yes, with a few modifications and using lightweight leather, you can sew a handbag on your home sewing machine.
My next creation was a clutch, using a pattern I designed myself. This handbag was constructed using a heavier rose colored leather (about 1 oz weight). With this weight of leather, it definitely needed an industrial machine. But you can sew the lining with your home machine.
Industrial machine or home sewing machine for leather? Depends on the weight of the leather.
Companies advertise that their sewing machines will sew on the heaviest of fabric, but I couldn’t have done the heavier leather on a home computerized sewing machine. That would be more stress than I would want my “baby” to handle!
What’s next? Think I will get my mother’s old Singer sewing machine repaired and sew my next leather purse on that machine. No computerized parts, and maybe this will be a good compromise so I don’t have to find space or money to buy an industrial machine.
Here is a picture of my two handbags. Our guild is starting up a neighborhood group focused on handbags – using either fabric or leather or a combination. Check out our calendar and come join us for accessory making fun! – Debby Bowles