The Gospel of Pleather, Day 6, What exactly is Pleather? What to look for when shopping for pleather.

 What is the big deal about Pleather?

It is a beautiful alternative to leather!

Neon Green Stitching on Distressed Silver Pleather

Pale Pink Stitching on Black Ostrich Pleather

In 2006 I started my independent sewing pattern line with 4 handbag designs.  One thing that elevated these designs were the addition of pleather/vinyl straps. I used my own sewing technique to make the straps, because I did not want to turn them inside out after sewing them.                                                                                                      

                                               I could not find a way to clean fabric straps.                                                   

And I wanted to be able to make a designer bag!

At that point I used whatever vinyl I could find at local Seattle stores.  

Many moons ago I worked at Nordstrom.  I started there when I was 14 years old as a stockgirl.  Do you know how incredible it is touch a real Calvin Klein blazer...such a memory!  Anyway I would pour over all the details of clothing and then designer handbags, and it was a great way to learn about how designer items looked and were constructed!!                                                                                             I learned to see the details and what makes designs work, it was fabulous.

SO...when I started making my own handbags I knew I could do better.  Fact, I LOVE to go hunt through fabric stores and see all the goodies, tools, and what they are for.  Then I found vinyl & a love affair was born!

I started out with vinyl from Joann's and a local store here in Seattle.  I decided I wanted to offer real hardware (not painted plastic) & good sturdy pleather.

It took me about 4 years to source my own collection of embossed great pleather.  

Here are the things to look for in great pleather to use for straps and handbag parts!

1-  It has to look like leather.  Like I mean really look like leather if you know what I mean!

2- It has to feel like leather!

3- It has to have a good backing material allowing the pleather to be folded easily.  I like the ones that are a polyester, that looks almost like nesting material.  I believe the pleather/vinyl is poured into the forms that gives the exterior embossed texture.  To hold the exterior and give strength the pleather also had a polyester fibers that are embedded into the pleather.  These fibers also add a padded backing.  Which is fabulous for my strap sewing technique, which has the the strap formed by folding, then stitching to secure the folds.  It means a strap can be made simply and not having to turn anything inside out. 

This tiny strap is being formed by folding, then stitching down the folds.

Here is how to sew a 1" OR larger strap width here!


4- Other pleathers/vinyl work also.  I also like vinyls that have a tricot poly woven backing, it provides that padded backing also.  I have found vinyls like that in bright colors at Joann's.

5- There are also vinyls/pleathers that have a woven gray flannel backing.  So of these are on the lighter side, but have a beautiful hand (like nubuck/suede feel) to them for smaller bags, and straps come out beautifully too! 

Below is another pleather from my collection.  I love to use 2" x 2" squares and pink the edges, then use them as a backing for magnetic clasps to elevate the look & strengthen the backing material the clasp is adhered too!
These straps are required for the Brooke Tote Bag.

The Okashi Courier Bag has interesting tabs that hook into the bag side in an interesting way!

As you might be able to tell...I love pleather and it is a passion to use it in my handbag designs and sewing patterns

Please feel free to leave any questions in the comments.

                                                            If you would like to touch & see the                                                             Paradiso Pleather Collection, you can order it here!

And here is the link to  my website!





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