Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Leather & Doily Change Purse

Hi! I hope that you all had a great holiday weekend.  I wanted to show you my latest project...it's been in the works for a good week and a half now, because I had to make three of them to get it juuuust right!  The other day I finished a cute leather purse complete with fabric lining and snap closure.  It's also decorated with a vintage doily!

I've actually been using it as a protective case for my fancy schmancy iPhone.  And in some cases when I don't want to bring my whole purse, I can actually fit all of the essentials (phone, credit cards/license and even the valet key for my car) in there too!  

In this post I'll give you the run down of how I made it, plus the lessons that I learned from the first two versions that I made.  If you want, you can even skip the lining, which will cut down on the amount of time that you spend on it.

The Materials:

  • scrap piece of leather (mine was 11'' x 6.25'')
  • snap closure
  • piece of fabric for the lining that's just a little bit bigger than your leather piece
  • leather needle (for your sewing machine)
  • doily that's about as wide as your leather piece, or even a bit smaller (mine was 5'' wide)
  • hand needle and thread that matches the color of your doily
  • spray adhesive
  • thimble
The leather needle for your sewing machine is optional.  I have heard that it can throw the timing off on your machine, but if your leather isn't too thick, and you aren't sewing for very long you can probably get away with a regular needle.  (I actually sewed the first two purses with my machine's regular needle) The thimble is also optional, but I found it helpful for the hand sewing, as the leather can be a pain to get a needle through!  

I got my leather piece at the Tandy Leather Factory, because there is a store in my city.  You can also find leather at craft stores, or maybe even places that do furniture reupholstering.  Because it was a remnant, I paid less than $3 for the piece.  

Try looking in antique stores for doilies!  I went to one near my house and the owner gave me a deal on them...I ended up getting 9 doilies for $12.  At Joann Fabrics, they were selling for about $5 apiece.  

The How-To:
First, take your leather piece and fold up the bottom third or so to make the pocket of your purse.  My pocket ended up being about 4'' tall, which gave me enough left at the top to form a nice "flap".  

Leather doesn't really slide around too much, but if you're worried about it staying still while you sew, you can use a small piece of rolled tape on the inside of the face layers.  Don't tape the nice outside of the leather because it could leave sticky marks.

Use your sewing machine and stitch up both sides of the pocket.  It might help to test a small piece of leather in your sewing machine before you do the real thing.

Take your spray adhesive outside and spray the backside of the doily really well.  I did this on a piece of cardboard because it temporarily stained my deck the last time I used it (oops!).  Position the doily over the flap of your purse and press it down.  Work quickly cause this stuff dries fast!  It's also super tacky once you spray it on, so be sure of where you want to place it.  I ironed my doily before hand to make sure that it would lay down nice and flat.

NOTE: do NOT spray the leather.  It will leave this "awesome" residue that is impossible to remove from the leather ;)  don't ask me how I know this...

Trim the flap of your purse if you want to mimic the shape of the doily:

Use your hand need and thread to the sew the outer edges of the doily down to the leather (and maybe the center of the doily if you're feeling ambitious!).  The spray adhesive is not enough to hold the doily down securely during normal wear and tear.  Maybe there is a more permanent spray adhesive out there, but I haven't found it yet.  If you find something that works well, let me know!

Sew the bottom part of the snap to your purse before you line it.  This way, the lining of the purse will hide your stitches on the back side of the leather.

Take your piece of fabric for the lining and fold over one of the short edges.  Sew it to make a nice finished edge (I used a scallop stitch on my machine, but a regular straight stitch works too!).  Then sew up the sides of the lining to make a nice little pocket.  Try fitting it inside your purse to make sure that it lays flat.  If it's too wide/tall, it might bunch up.  Just sew it a little smaller and trim off the excess.  

Use an invisible stitch to sew the finished edge to the front side of the leather pocket.  This blog post here gives a nice tutorial on how to do an invisible stitch.  There are also tutorials on youtube!  

You'll be left with the loose lining under the leather flap, kinda like this:

 Trim it so that it's just a little wider than the leather piece:

Again, use the invisible stitch to fold under and then attach the lining to the leather flap.  When you're done, it should look something like this:

Attach your top snap.  I usually position it under part of the doily so that I can hide my stitches under the doily.  



What do you think?  If you chose to skip the lining, it would pretty easy to make one in about 1-2 hours.  By the time I made this one (my third one), I finished it in one night of watching TV, with the lining and everything!  (It took about 4 hours or so)

Lessons learned:

In my first leather doily purse, I learned that the spray adhesive helps to keep to center of the doily close against the leather, or else it kind of "slides" around (see where I'm pulling it up a bit with my fingers?).  I also learned that continuing the lining up the inside of the leather flap would make it look prettier.  I still might go back and color in the white thread with a dark-colored pen or marker.    

In my second leather doily purse, I learned that you need to make the leather flap long enough so that it overlaps adequately on the pocket, or else you'll end up with little "ears" on your purse!  Also, I learned not to spray the leather with the adhesive (only the doily!).  If you look closely on the middle picture, you can see small spots on the leather from the adhesive.  

So there you have it!  Email me if you have any questions, and as always, let me know how it turns out if you ever make one!


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