I’m really excited about making Betz White’s “Metro Hipster Bag“. As I mentioned earlier it’s going to be faux leather with a fun coral and white home dec weight lining.
But I haven’t had much time to work on it— or much, really. Sewing time has been puny. I knew that working on thread color, stitch length (and type), as well as hardware were going to play a pivotal role in the construction of this bag. After all, faux leather can go from vegan chic to a giant crap sandwich pretty quickly!!
Hardware was first. I knew that I did not want to use off the shelf silver swivel clasps or rings. I shopped and shopped and shopped. There are a lot of choices and I had quite a few recommendations. After the search I settled on Pacific Trimming in NYC and ordered from their Etsy shop. Their service was very good, the shipping lightning fast– and I love the hardware! Note the two silver rings— they’re for a clutch pattern, not this one. Great quality and weight and they look about a zillion times better than off the shelf IF you can find them in the first place!
The finish of everything I purchased (enough for another couple bags and a few pieces to keep in stash) was Antique Brass. I love it and think it looks great with the faux leather. No sandwich here!
What a step up from my local fabric store’s shelves! Isn’t that a gorgeous swivel hook? The pricing at Pacific Trimming was outstanding as well. All told I spent only a bit over $20 for all of my hardware pieces!
Playing with stitches was next, after a couple hours messing around I have learned:
a large needle is best—- if I had a leather needle, I’d use it. Recalling college physics that needle and the thread get HOT going through the synthetic leather. What happens? The thread breaks down. The best fix then is a nice fat needle to make a nice tunnel for the needle to pass through with least resistance AND great thread.
I chose a matte black Mettler thread— it’s a great quality and it looks good.
I messed with stitches quite a bit for stitching that would SHOW, such as topstitching and on the strap.
I sew with a Bernina if the screen above doesn’t look familiar. I chose a triple stitch lengthened slightly to about a 3.1.
Again, what I learned—- the fauxness causes some kind of voodoo with the way it feeds through the machine. It doesn’t want to glide along so there is a dance with how you hold it/push it/feed it/”don’t” it!!!
Because the strap is self fabric, or the faux leather in this case, you cannot cut it double, fold to the right side and turn. No way that would happen. Basically the strap would have to have each ‘raw’ side folded to the center and stitched to secure. So I ran a line of stitches down the center front of the strap and folded each side to the center and worked through two layers, from the wrong side. Not as easy as it sounds, sort of like stitching 1000 pound jello!
The blessing of the faux is that the back of the ‘fabric’ has the woven lining. That does add some stability and frankly keeps stitches from making perforations that would tear.
The first experiment yielded a strap that had ‘galumpy’ spots. Where the strap did not feed through evenly. The galumpy-ness is what led to my final method of more finesse as the strap was fed through the machine. No, I do not have a foot especially made for leather/vinyl— it might have helped I can’t be sure. The galumpy spots are the first pass as the first ‘raw’ edge was folded to the center. The second line of stitching is far more even without hiccups.
I have a love hate relationship with those lumps. Part of me kind of likes them. The realist in me says, what are you kidding? RE SEW on the other cut strap. And I will.
I’ll leave you at the ends of my experimentation with the knowledge that all pattern pieces are cut along with the batting and interfacing. The hardware is purchased and waiting. Hopefully I’ll get back to it soon armed with my lessons! I already see a couple more small hacks that will be necessary since I’m not using fabric in anything other than the lining.
Little Girl dog loves to hang out in the studio. Today, the trash can was full of scraps and a couple of pieces hung over the sides. Silly Hana is known as The Stealer, she will snitch anything to play with and her hiding place is normally full of everything you thought was lost forever.
She was a whirling dervish! Funny dog…