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Sewing with Real Suede - Boho Leather Fringe Bag


While browsing my favourite Bag Maker Blogs I came across this free tutorial by Samantha Hussey (At home with Mrs H) for SewMamaSew.  It's called the Boho Leather Fringe Bag.  

I decided I wanted to try this.  I went back to my pile of suede and picked out a lovely purple to work with next.  The pieces were all roughly the same size, but the thicknesses varied, so I tried to pick pieces of the same thickness. 

Reading the tutorial I discovered I shouldn't have used my lovely Gingher Shears to cut my suede as it blunts them.  I did try my ordinary scissors and they couldn't do it.  I did use my spare rotary blade as suggested, but I couldn't get right up to the line accurately for the fringes.  It had to be my Ginghers! 

I used my Clover Chaco for marking as it brushes off easily, and Collins Washaway Double Sided tape to hold the fringes in position for sewing.  (I didn't have a fabric glue stick at the time).  I fitted my leather needle and used my even-feed (walking) foot with a longer stitch length (3.5) but despite all this my sewing machine did not like this suede.

I had this lovely Makower fabric in my stash, called Summer Garden Pansy, a perfect match for the purple suede.  I used it to make the lining, zipped and slip pockets as per the instructions, though I have to confess I did make my zipped pocket up the other way (with the fold at the bottom and stitched across the top) because that's how I alway have made them.  

I decided to do my top recessed zipper slightly differently; I left the zipper long and added tabs either end.  (This was instead of cutting them, folding the ends back and stitching them to the underside of the zipper panel).  When open, the zipper panels lay flat against the sides.

I stitched the zipper panels in and finished the linings as per Samantha's instructions, turning down and pressing the top edge then fitting it inside the outer bag. Here it is from the top, with the zipper closed. 

However I didn't turn the top of the exterior bag down though, as I knew the extra thickness would be a problem for me.  I fit another new needle and stitched the lining in place and stitched across the top of the side seam to reinforce it.  Unfortunately, when I tried to fit my rivets it was too thick and they wouldn't reach!  I had to remove the lining and trim the side seam allowances back on both the lining and the exterior, then replace it all.  So remember to do that before fitting the lining!

I did a variation on the side tabs, making them extra long on the outside and cutting them into a fringe.  (Because I like fringes!)  I had never come across triangle rings before, and ordered mine from Bobbin Girl here in the u.k. but you can get them from Emmaline Bags.  They are really nice, far more professional looking than the ubiquitous D rings, and Alison has them in 1" and 1.5" sizes and 2 colours.  I stitched them close to the bar to stop it moving around.

I riveted them in place as per the tutorial, using double cap rivets as they will be seen from both sides.  However I chose to fit two rivets, one either side of the seam, instead of a single central one.  I didn't want to risk breaking my side seam stitches at this stage, and two will be stronger and prevent any 'swivelling'.

I've added my bling - a silver Handmade tag (from Emmaline Bags/Bobbin Girl), and a few silver beads on the tab fringes. After the struggle my machine had with the suede I ordered a purple leather strap from e-bay, but when it came I didn't like it, so decided to try and make my own after all.  

I carefully chose the thinnest piece of suede I could find.  I had to cut 3 strips 2" wide, and stitch them together diagonally (which reduces bulk) to get a 50" length; then topstitch both sides of the seam.  I spent ages persuading the suede to fold over and meet in the centre, it was very stiff and resistant.  I tried pressing with a dry iron, and used my new Collins Glue Stick (thank you Bobbin Girl).  It was much stiffer than the hide I used for the Dragon Bag

Eventually I flattened it enough to topstitch both sides of the strap and both sides of the central join.  Then I fitted a 1" snap hook on one end and a 1"slider and another snap hook on the other end.  I didn't have the right snap hooks, mine were too big, so I ordered some really nice ones from Bobbin Girl.  Unfortunately they were out of stock, so it was all put aside until they arrived.

Here is my lovely shiny new snap hook!  I've been disappointed before with the quality of some snap hooks, but these are great, shiny and slender.  I'm so glad I waited for them. Rather than attempt stitching through all those layers, I used a couple of rivets for both the slider and the hook closure.  Bingo, an adjustable cross-body strap!  

I love this bag, the real suede smell, the fantastic colour, the fringes and bling!  It's a slouchy bag, my suede is not capable of standing up by itself (unless I fill it with ballast).

Thank you for a great tutorial Samantha, you have made an old hippie very happy!

Making Leather Bags

from: Craftsy

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