Leather Colorblocked Tote (+Giveaway!)

The Leather Hide Store provided the leather for this project and the giveaway prize. All content and opinions are my own. Make sure you read through to the bottom of the post to enter their giveaway!

leather, canvas, tote, sewing, knitting, bag

I think this might have been the hardest sewn gift to give away yet. I made my sister this knitting bag for Christmas, but when I slipped my knitting things into it for these photos, they looked so at home in them…

Leather color-blocked divided tote, knitting bag friendly - designed by sewfearless.com

That’s how much I love my beautiful big sister, who put up with my annoying “you are so bossy” complaints in my younger years, and now talks me into knitting projects so we have excuses to message and call each other as adults.

Leather color-blocked divided tote, knitting bag friendly - designed by sewfearless.com

Beth has classic style and loves autumn colors, and I tried my best to choose colors that reminded me of her, but my O.M.G LOUD COLORS!!!! preference burst through on the pocket lining. If she hates it, she can just keep that sucker closed. sorry, sis.

The Bag Design Details

At first glance, this tote looks simple and straightforward. Well, it is simple and straight forward, but it has some fun design tweaks that I am nerding out all over.

Leather color-blocked divided tote, knitting bag friendly - designed by sewfearless.com

First, leather! Is my leather enthusiasm getting to ridiculous on here? It just adds so much class to a project that I keep coming back to it. (I’ll tell you more about where I got my leather in a minute.)

Leather color-blocked divided tote, knitting bag friendly - designed by sewfearless.com

Second, this isn’t a straight up rectangle tote. The top opening is smaller than the base which prevents it from tipping over, and keeps the top “winging out” like  a poorly drafted a-line skirt (if that makes sense).

Leather color-blocked divided tote, knitting bag friendly - designed by sewfearless.com

Thirdly, the leather provides just enough structure to the bag,without getting into all sorts of stabilizers and interlinings. Structured, but not too structured.

Leather color-blocked divided tote, knitting bag friendly - designed by sewfearless.com

Finally, I figured out how to sew in a divider pocket into a flat-bottomed tote.  (happy dance of victory!) I really should write it up sometime, because I can’t be only Bag Making Geek that is interested in this sort of thing.

The Leather

Dark Copper Mountain Leather Hide remnant from leatherhidestore.com

When my package from The Leather Hide Store came, I was more excited than a kid on Christmas. They shipped it safely rolled in a long skinny box, and despite it being a “leather remnant” there.was.so.much.leather (about 20 square feet). I may or may not have danced around my living room wearing this hide as a cape. heh. The hide I chose for project is called “Dark Copper Mountain Saddle” and it is a nice thick leather, but it is not so thick that your home machine can’t sew through it. (See their Leather Buying Guide for more details.)

Dark Copper Mountain Leather Hide remnant from leatherhidestore.com

Leather really has a bad, and undeserved!, reputation for being difficult to work with. If you are intimidated by it, give it a chance to win you over! Use a “leather needle”(I used a size 18 for this 3 oz leather), a roller or a walking foot to help it feed nicely, and no pins. That will do it. I’ve cover these leather sewing tips in more detail here. 

To help you pull the trigger on your leather sewing, The Leather Hide Store is giving away a $50 gift certificate to one of you!

But what should you show with such luxury as genuine leather? Well, I’m glad you asked, because me and some other Super Fabulous Bloggers have been collecting all the amazing leather tutorials and patterns that we can find. Check it out…



Then don’t forget to…

Enter The Giveaway

This giveaway will award one winner a $50 gift certificate to leatherhidestore.com. It is open to residence of US & Canada, 18 years and older, only entry per household. It will run until January 27, 2014th at 11:59 PM EST, winner will be chosen and contacted within 48 hours and they will have 48 hours to accept the prize. (Detailed terms and conditions found in the link on the Rafflecopter widget.)  Enter using the widget below. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Leather color-blocked divided tote, knitting bag friendly - designed by sewfearless.com

Good luck!

Again, thank you to the Leather Hide Store for sending me this leather to work with and for sponsoring this giveaway.

Custom Fit Leggings

Custom Fit Leggings- SewFearless.com #scaredypants2014

Here it is! The first #scaredypants2014 post!

Don't be Scaredy Pants - 2014 sewing resolution - sewfearless.com I decided to ease my way into the pants sewing world by sewing up what I would consider the “t-shirt” of pants sewing – leggings!

Espresso Leggings by Cake Patterns

There are a number of “draft your own” leggings tutorials out there, including this one on One Little Minute, but after hearing the rave reviews for Cake Patterns’ Espresso Leggings pattern, I decided to make life easy on myself and try it out. (This pattern is available as an instant download or a paper pattern. I opted for paper and saved myself the hassle of printing and taping together the pattern.)

Make Custom Fit Leggings with the Espresso Legging Pattern- SewFearless.com #scaredypants2014

It looks nothing like any pattern you have seen before. Steph walks you through taking detailed measurements, and then, based on those measurements, you connect the dots corresponding with your measurements to create your very own custom fit pattern. This is such a clever idea! It  has all the ease of a predesigned pattern, but without having to fuss around with adjusting a pattern piece that is based on industry averages. You get “custom fit” without needing to complete a course in pattern-making yourself!

Custom Fit Leggings- SewFearless.com #scaredypants2014

When I finally pulled these leggings on, I couldn’t get over just how “right” they felt. They fit my (rather high) waist, my thighs, my knees, ankles, and they had the length my long legs need. I have never felt a pair of pants fit like this EVER in my adult life. There is nothing “average” about the ratios between all my curves and I am thrilled to death that I started off this year with such a successful project. THANK YOU,CAKE PATTERNS!

Custom pattern piece - Sewfearless.com

Legging Fabric

Custom Fit Leggings- SewFearless.com #scaredypants2014

Finding a good fabric was probably the trickiest part of this project. For my first attempt at this pattern, I used a cheap clearance jersey and it didn’t have enough width-wise stretch which caused the legs to pull up too short. Twitter consultants recommended finding some 2-way stretch knit instead. One my second Joann’s search, I was able to find the black cotton/spandex jersey. It is from their “performance” knit line and feels more like yoga pants fabric than a cheap t-shirt. If they had this in more colors, I would buy them all. It is just the right weight for leggings.

use a bit of satin ribbon to show which side is the back of homemade pants - sewfearless.com

On an aside, I put a bit of satin ribbon into the back waist bang. It’s always so hard to tell the front from the back for handmade garments. (I saw this tip on Pinterest and couldn’t find it again. I wish I could give proper credit!)

Custom Fit Leggings- SewFearless.com #scaredypants2014

That covers my January pant-sewing obligations! February is just around the corner. I better get cracking.

Don't be Scaredy Pants - 2014 sewing resolution - sewfearless.com

(Click for more Scaredy Pants posts.)

If any of you are diving into pant-sewing this year, make sure you leave a comment so I can cheer you on!

Glass Gem Pattern Weights

"Decorative Glass Marbles" can be used as pattern weights - sewfearless.com

My husband is brilliant. Really. Andy saw these “Decorative Glass Gems” sitting on a dirty shelf, underneath a display of dusty faux silk flowers  at the local  the Dollar General. I would have walked quickly past the depressing display, but Andy, being who he is saw their potential.

"Decorative Glass Marbles" can be used as pattern weights - sewfearless.com

He was right, of course, these extra-large flat marble things do make fantastic pattern weights. They are larger than the usual marbles that are more commonly used in vases (They measure roughly an inch and  quarter.), and have a satisfying weight to them, and the 24 ounce bag was only two dollars. Two bags are more than enough for any pattern weight needs you might have. If you don’t have a Dollar General nearby, I would look for them at a craft store in the floral department.

"Decorative Glass Marbles" can be used as pattern weights - sewfearless.com

Mostly, I must admit. I just enjoy drizzling these over my pattern pieces like some sort of queen scattering diamonds across her table.  It’s a deeply satisfying experience. One I hope you get enjoy for yourself soon.

"Decorative Glass Marbles" can be used as pattern weights - sewfearless.com

 

Experiments in Waxing Canvas

Waxed Canvas Bag with Leather Straps - SewFearless.com
This is certainly making new records for the Longest Running Bag Project Ever. It’s just another Mommy Poppins Bag, but “man-ified”, with a canvas exterior and me-made leather straps.

The thing was… the canvas was just. so. pristine.

Canvas and Leather Bag (before Waxing) SewFearless.com [Read more...]

MORE Sewing Tools to Buy at Back To School Sales!

zipper pencil cases for the sewing room - sewfearless.com Two years ago, I suggested 5 things to pick up for your sewing while shopping for school supplies. This year, I have two more things to add to that list. [Read more...]