Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Paisley Purse, Please

Well, I almost managed to get a second purse done before I went back to work, but not quite.  It took me an extra two days to finish.

My second purse is very similar to the first one: same shape, same upholstery leather.  For this one, though, I was mostly playing with how I could make a filigree-punched Paisley pattern for the main decorative design. I have a set of filigree punches from Tandy (triangle, diamond, moon, heart, flower) as well as my circular drive punches that I usually use for punching holes for rivets and such.

I started with a paper sketch of the Paisley shape, and I started punching right through the paper into the leather.

It got kind of zen-like as I just started punching one line of shapes after another, just following the sketch lines.  By the time I was done I had my punched leather layer and a really cool paper doily.

I used diamond chisel punches (forks with attitude!) to punch holes for all the stitching.  I have three of them: six teeth, two teeth, and one tooth (which helps you get around curves).  I embroidered the blue lines to hold the punched layer to the gold leather layer.

I laced the purse together with a different type of lace this time.  It's something called EcoSoft Lace from Tandy, and it's microfiber!  You know, the stuff "high-tech" cleaning cloths are made of.  It's nice and soft and comes in more interesting colors than regular leather lace.  The one downside I found is that it's difficult to skive (shave off) the ends into a tapered shape for splicing two pieces together.  You are only supposed to work with about two yards of lace at a time so you avoid wearing out or fraying the lace by the time you get to the end of the piece (since you pull the whole piece through each lacing hole).  Since the double loop stitch uses a lot of lace per inch of leather edges, I ended up having to do several splices.

The last big different thing I did on this one was to do saddle stitch along the two edges of the shoulder strap. Saddle stitch is like running stitch with two alternating needles, or what my husband calls "racing stitch". There are lots of videos out on YouTube for learning to do saddle stitch.  I punched all the holes first with my diamond chisels again.  It added several extra hours of work to the project to do the stitching, but it does really improve the look.  The strap is made of two layers of the upholstery leather glued back to back.

Here are the two finished purses, along with the usual gratuitous dog pose.  Lacey and Tulip will endorse anything for enough treats!

Well, leatherwork was a good way to while away a good chunk of four weeks off work, and now it's back to my day job!

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