To some extent this was my most ambitious project so far because of the potential for many mistakes, as well as the hours spent obsessing over the steps (for once I was actually spending more time on the procedural aspect of the item rather than the design!). But more significantly, I like this project because it was a way to push myself out of a malaise, and was a good way to benchmark my progress (especially regarding gussets: more on that later!)
The usual 5 aspects come to play here:
- Zipper pocket
- Cork lined
- Saddle stitched by hand
- Expandable main pocket
1) Cutting the sheet
The leather I used for this project was a side of Italian crazy horse belly. Although its a little thinner than the leathers I usually like, it’s got a great pull up colour that resembles tortoiseshell.
If it was not already readily apparent, here it is: I love tortoiseshell. Watch the video below for an excellent application of tortoiseshell, or leave it in the background for its excellent music.
There’s the main body, the zippered pocket and two rows of leather to hold cards in.
First comes the zip pouch. Straightforward, despite being the first time I had to use pliers on a zip as part of the process to cut it down to size.
Next up were the card flaps.
Gridded cork lines the main body.
The snaps were then hammered in, and the edges burned to get rid of stray cork or fibre strands. I like the burned edge look; it reminds me of those old treasure maps placed in wine bottles before they get tossed out to sea.
The gussets are then cut out, and ready to be attached.
5) Putting everything together
This was the hardest part of the process. As the leather gets thicker, the harder it was to stitch together (bearing in mind that there was no glue involved for 99% of the leather!) and I came close to bending my needle several times. Perhaps I should invest in a curved needle…
I forgot to mention that I edged and burnished each of the pieces before sewing them together, and in some cases re-burnishing them after they have been stitched.
Side note: Improvements
I’m happy with how the end result turned out. The gussets in particular were a huge improvement over the last time I tried to make them, and there’s nothing quite as satisfying as tangible proof of improvement.
So here it is, a cork lined clutch wallet, ready for the Christmas season! All in all, I’m pleased with the project. The only thing I would have done otherwise is got rid of the extra 1cm error allowance on the left hand side, which i left in just in case something went horribly wrong during the stitching process and I had to cut off an entire side.
I think my favourite bit is how the snap button sits on the edging line.