Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Caramel Clutch

Here she is, my first experience in sewing with leather!

I think I did OK for my first time, but there are some things I'll do differently from now on.

I took Andrea's advice and used binder clips to hold the leather together.  It worked like a charm. She also said not to backstitch - it's amazing how automatic backstitching is, and I really had to remind myself with each seam!  I wasn't sure what kind of thread to use, but I was pretty sure that normal sewing thread wouldn't be strong enough, so I used some black upholstery thread I had left over from a pleather pillow I made years ago.  Since it is pretty slippery, and I hadn't backstitched, I tied the tails off with a surgeon's knot at the ends of each seam.  I didn't worry about it much, since all the knots end up hidden inside the lining.

I had two problems with putting this together.  First off, I used some leftover hot pink dupioni from the stash for the lining:

I always think of dupioni as a heavy-ish fabric because it is so crisp, but it really is quite thin.  If I use it again, I'll add some interfacing so I don't have to struggle with it as much.

My biggest problem was with the pleat in the leather.  One side was OK, but the pleat on the other side was so thick that I couldn't get it shoved all the way inside the channel of the frame.  I'm really hoping it holds.  In the future, I'll clip open the pleat on the inside a little bit so I don't have to try to fit three layers of leather folded over on themselves into the frame.

I mentioned when I made my first clutch that I wasn't sure what kind of glue to use.  I did a little looking around at purse making supplies on Etsy, and a recommended glue was Beacon 527; turns out this is one of the glues I used (and which I have always called barge cement, since that's how it was sold to me by a shoe repair man years ago).  So I picked up a new tube on my weekend trip to the fabric store.  My new tube has a long thin neck, which makes it much easier to squeeze glue into the channels of the frame.

I was happy with myself after finishing this one, but a little exhausted too!  After taking a few pictures, I rolled up all my leather and put it away for another day.


  1. Gasp! It looks great - you're a pro! You know what else works to fit the pleat into the channel? Trimming the seam allowances and hitting the bulky part with a hammer - but place another layer of fabric on top so as not to damage it.

  2. Gail, you and Andrea are AMAZING! I really can't imagine attempting to work with leather!

  3. I left a comment on yesterday's post but it disappeared. I hope this one shows up! You are very lucky to have a place nearby that lets you buy remnants!!

    The clutch turned out great! What foot did you use on your machine?

  4. The hammer idea is excellent! Thank you, Andrea! I'm really tickled with it. I did a pleatless one yesterday that is OK, but I love this one to pieces!

    Ginger - It's not really that hard! The leather needle is amazing: it went through three thicknesses of laether with no problem!

    SKP - I used a normal foot, and I did follow Andrea's advice about putting tissue between the feed dogs and the leather. Worked great!

    Thanks for all the compliments, ladies! I do love my new clutch! I think Andrea has created a monster!!

  5. Another for the Win Column, Gail.

  6. I'm in love! I wanted to make a clutch before but now I really want to make one. You did such an amazing job, Gail! I look forward to seeing what else you do with the leather.

  7. Thanks, Lizz! I can't seem to stop! I really didn't intend to make one today, but I got out my leather "just to look at it" and before I knew it, I had clutch #4!


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