Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Dog Days of Summer.........

The Dog Days of Summer.....

Oh my this summer has been wonderful for the weather.......last summer was great, but I loved the heat of this summer.  The door to my studio was open until 11pm at night, it was so warm.
And I loved it!!
This is Jackx playing with some new friends at Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach yesterday.
Tomorrow we are going to Manzanita...cannot wait.
Wonderful way to spend the Labor Day weekend with my buddy Kim in Oregon!!
But am laying the plans for Fall.....schedules soon to come!!
Have a wonderful holiday weekend!
smiling in Lake Oswego.....
Cheryl and Jackx!!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Gospel of Pleather, Day Four.......Dress up any Magnetic Clasp with Pleather!

This is what it looks on to see how to do it!!

One of the most important facts to remember when creating anything is to think about how it will be used, so that it can be created to last.....
My thoughts about the weight of a metal magnetic clasp was the place that I started at when I developed this technique!  The pleather detail is perfect, but it will also hold the weight of the clasp....but in addition to this, I like to layer another piece of pleather behind the lining that extends up to and is sewn into the top of the bag.  The beauty here is that the clasp is extremely well supported, and should never tear out, even with all the abuse they normally get being latched and unlatched resulting in a lot of tugging on the lining itself.  Hint.....I line my handbag linings with a layer of muslin, making the lining have a richer feeling

So lets get on with it.....

Cut a pleather square at 2" x 2"......and while you are at it cut another pleather square at about 4" x 4".

You get the idea........

Then cut off the slightest amount with a pinking shears on all four sides.  I think the pinking gives the pleather a finished look.

Next, I generally place the pleather square down 3 " so that it clears however the top of the bag is finished.  Because the clasp will be covering up the middle of the 2" x 2" pleather square, it is okay to pin in the middle of the pleather to hold it in place.  Then see the scrap of pleather.....that is the 4" x 4" piece that is slipped behind the lining.  The point is to to sew the pleather square onto the lining while also sewing through that scrap pleather on the back at the same time.....which makes a more stable environment for the clasp to be inserted into!

So here is where the pleather is pinned....scrap pleather in back....

And sew the pleather square on with 1/8" topstitch seam allowance....with only one pin the square can still shift a bit...make sure that it is straight when sewing the first 2 sides.
You can see the scrap pleather on the right side of the picture....

This is what it will look like after the square is stitched down....

And this is what it will look like on the back as the scrap pleather is sewn through too!!

Make sure that the scrap pleather is now trimmed flush with the top of the bag, and how ever the bag is finished, the scrap pleather should be "caught" in the top seam.

This is the catch for the clasp, that actually goes on the back side...but first we will use it to draw cut shown below. 

Use an ink pen to draw the lines on either side of the center hole.....

Do not cut the lines with a is difficult to cut pleather with scissors, but easy to make the cut with a seam ripper.  Be careful so the cuts are not bigger then the line.  Hint:  Cut through all layers and this will keep the seam ripper from cutting too much.

On the right side slip the class through the cuts to the back, and then put the metal disk to fit over the clasp metal tips...... 

And then carefully bend the metal tips of the clasp out and away from the center.....taking care to pull out as much of the metal tip as possible.  If the clasp is at all loose, then the full length of the metal tip was not pulled through the back.  With a loose clasp bend the tips back up, then rebend outward, so that the clasp is secure and not moving at all.
This is what the back should look like when finished....

And of course this is what the front will look like!!

Thanks for reading The Gospel of Pleather.
If you have reached this far....thank-you for reading this series to the end.  If you care to leave a comment, I will be doing a drawing for a Paradiso Handbag Kit from all comments on this post. Deadline for drawing entry will end Monday August 15th at 12.01am.   In your comment please tell me what you liked in this series.....and your favorite Paradiso Handbag pattern, what color of pleather you love....and if you need or silver please?
Thanks for it chatting soon!!
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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Gospel of Pleather.....Day Three.........Grommet no more, introducing the Strap Slot!!

The Gospel of Pleather
Day Three
Strap Slot Tutorial!

The strap slot above is a cool way to incorporate a graceful entry for a strap to pass through, not to mention a really cool look!!

So....let's get started.  As seen here, cut a 2" X 4" strip from your pleather of choice.
I mark a chalk line in the center this way first

And on either side of the center line 1/8" away chalk another line...

And it should look like this.......

Next, chalk a line 1-1/8" on either side of the centerline, opposite of the first set of lines that were chalked...exactly as you can see below....

This is the type of chalk roller I makes pretty sharp lines.

So this is a fabric sample sandwich of what the side of one of my handbags may feel and look like to show how this is done. And you can see the sewing progress, and recognize which side the strap slot is started and then finished on....  FYI...the exterior floral fabric is Field Day By Alison Glass.....super awesome fabric!  The lining fabric is an organic from Clothworks!

So now it is time to chalk a line on the lining about 2.5" from what would be the top of the bag.

And after centering the pleather piece using the center lines chalked to a side seam in the handbag if this applies, tape the pleather piece in place to hold it is so easy to think you have a hold of this piece...but I have been fooled....and after I have sewn it, I have found that oh did in fact shift, then I have to redo....
anyway, please tape it!!

Generally I use my BERNINA # 1D foot to sew this step with the dual feed as I am going through a number of layers. 

As you can see I started sewing it at the top and am being very careful to make sure I am accurate on the corners as I stitch on the outer lines of the chalked box.  I like to use a 2.5 stitch length.  I like to have a little smaller stitch so that I know this is going in securely.  If I need to I stop sewing and leave the needle down, and raise the presser foot to see where I really am at....

And you can see where you are at.....

And here is another look........

Almost done stitching the box..........finish by back stitching 4-5 stitches, and then 2-3 forward.  Clip the threads closely. 
Sewing Tip:  Never start sewing at the start of a seam, where there may be a stress point.  Here I started about 1/3rd away from the corner.  By starting here, once I have clipped my threads closely and using a smaller stitch, and starting not at the corner where it will be a stressed area, my thread ends are then "buried", and will not reveal themselves, because they are far enough away from the corner.
Use this same technique when sewing a seam....start about a 1/2" forward from the "real start"  of a seam, then backstitch to the real start of the seam, then stitch forward, and your thread ends will always be buried. once the box is stitched, then it is time to cut the center to allow the flipping over of the pleather. Do so with a very sharp pair of nips, so that the clip can be accurate to the corners, and not clip your stitchline.....

Clip, clip, carefully Clip, and then about 1/4" from the end, diagonal clip to each corner to get as close as possible without clipping the seam at the corners or anywhere else for that matter!!

This is what it should look like after clipping.......

Now you can see the diagonal cuts to the corners....

And now pull those edges of the pleather on the lining side through the just cut center to the exterior side, and prepare to do the final stitching to secure the pleather down.

Using the #52 Teflon Foot to glide over the pleather....but...there are so many here for the list of feet that can be used for sewing on pleather in general, and for other pleather textures.

Onward to seen in this close-up, I like to start about 1/2" from the corner on the top, as I know this will be hidden when the strap loops through the strap slot!  I topstitch around the center opening with a 1/8" seam allowance........Take your time and make sure to turn the corners with the needle down!  I do not pin here, but if needed, the strap slot pleather could be pinned by pinning first into the fabric under the strap slot, then coming up with the pin to catch the felted back of the pleather to hold it in place.  I actually hold  the pleather as I sew it.  This involves making sure that the pleather is fully turned out so that a bit of the lining can be seen at the center opening.  I adjust as I sew around the center opening, basically the 1" or so in front of where I am sewing, until I have stitched the entire pleather box edge.

Once the center opening has been secured with topstitching, then it is time to topstitch around the pleather edges, again with a 1/8" seam allowance.  Again starting at the top where the strap will cover up the start/finish stitching.

Another view of the finished strap slot.........

Here is a strap through the finished strap slot!!

Here is another  look........

And maybe a better view here........

I believe that pleather makes the fabric super rich looking!
Thanks for reading....would love to hear your feed back...especially you have any additional questions that I may have not covered.
I appreciate you reading!!
Tomorrow the Gospel of Pleather will conclude with Day Four, How to Insert a Mighty Handsome Magnetic Clasp with Pleather Details!!
Also....stay tuned for a chance to win a handbag kit from Paradiso Designs!! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Gospel of Pleather...Day Two...Using Pleather to Trim the Top of a Handbag!

Using Pleather to Trim the Top of a Handbag
Soooooo. I spent some years making a lot of pleather straps.   Then I decided to be more adventuresome with this fab material....and I thought to myself....hey now....I can use the pleather for other details as well, you know!  So the rest of my pleather sermons will be in regards to pleather details in really fun and different ways!!
The cool thing about pleather is that is does not really get dirty, so it is ideal for high use areas of a handbag, which makes it prefect and stronger for the trim on the top edge of a bag as seen above!! is really easy to put on!!
Cut the pleather that will become the trim.....
only a 2" strip is needed to do the trim seen above.....and it just needs to be about a few inches longer then the circumference of the bag. 
Pleather Sewing Tip 1:  Use a rotary cutter and a clear ruler to cut the strips, as it is not an easy task to cut pleather straight with scissors.
Step Two:  Sew the Strip onto the Exterior of the bag. Before I start to attach the pleather strip, I generally sew all the layers of the bag at the top with a 1/4" seam allowance (sa), so that I am positive that nothing can shift when I am adding the pleather.  Then I take the 2" strip and with right sides together using a #52 Teflon foot  I start to sew the strip to the exterior of the bag at the top with  a 3/8" sa to now cover the 1/4" sa, and to give a good base for this top edge finish.  Do not turn under the raw edge of the pleather, and the edge will be fine not turned under as this will not unravel in any way.

This is what it should look like when you are sewing the strip to the top. 
Pleather Sewing Tip  2:  Lengthen your stitch length to allow for easy stitching through the layers.   When you have sewn around the top completely, layer the strip to continue over where the stitching started by 1/2".  Remember to back stitch at the beginning and end of your seams 3-4 times.  Cut off the excess pleather strip that is not sewn.


Step 3:  Now the strip will be folded up and over the top edge of the handbag.

Continue to fold the pleather over the top edge toward the interior of the bag.  It is important to make sure this wrap is done tightly so that there is no slack, the pleather is snug to the bag top.  Clip the pleather into place so that the wrap will not undo as you prepare to sew the final stitch.

the pleather edge is starting to take shape!  Now the photo above is of one of my Urbanista Hoo bags being finished at the top, and this is right before the final stitch in the ditch to secure the pleather on the interior of the bag.  You can see that I use Getta Grip clips to hold the pleather in place.

Step 4:  Because the exterior of the bag is pleather I had to use the # 52 Teflon food to edge you can see below.  If sewing with this method, use the center line on the center front of the foot to follow the edge for the pleather to stitch in the ditch.

I used pink thread to show where the stitching should be, if I was really finishing it then I would use a dark gray color of thread. 
Pleather Sewing Tip #3:  Regardless of what thread you use to sew the stitch in the ditch on the top, use the same color of thread as your pleather and the stitch on the interior side of the pleather trim will blend with the pleather.

I just acquired a new BERNINA foot #55, the Leather Roller foot below.  If I had it, then I would have used it on the pleather stitch in the ditch.

This BERNINA #55 Foot is does edge stitch like nobodies business....a must have experience!!
I thought I would at least give a visual look at how the BERNINA #55 foot looks in action!!
Step 5: To finish it seen below, I flip the edge of the interior up, so I can see the pleather edge.  I get a pinking shears to now cut the pleather a bit shorter, maybe to around 1/4" to nicely finish the pleather edge. 

Carefully cutting.....

And this is what it looks like finished....super professional!!

Here are a few bags made from my patterns with a pleather top trimmed edge.....

An Okashi with vintage lace...


Tune in tomorrow...same bat time on the same bat blog (Paradiso Designs) for Day 3 of "The Gosple of Pleather".....all I can tell you is that you will never need to insert a grommet ever again!!

If you have enjoyed readying my techniques, you can check out my sewing patterns here.

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