Structured Purse, Part 1

Now that we are into big projects – totes and purses! – instead of accessories that can be done in one or two classes, I am going to write about this current project in parts as I did my first tote! So here goes… 😀

After a couple of days of hand skiving, the majority of the Advanced Workshop at Amblard Leather Atelier is devoted to the Structured Purse project. As with the tote, there are guidelines we must follow but do have some creative input. I sketched out two themes with two to three designs each and settled on one with lots of angles. We are also allowed to use something exotic so I jumped at this opportunity to work with something other than calf leather.

Did some shopping on my own when a friend and I went up to Napa last week. The Hide House is an amazing retailer of leather and I was like a kid in a candy store! One of the finds was a soft metallic hide in dark pewter – a dark grey piece with a touch of greenish bronze shimmer that I will use for the inside lining of the purse.


The exterior is black with an accent of snake skin!


I am so excited to get going now that all the pieces are cut!!!



Hand Skiving Leather

Along with the completion of my tote project was the end of the Intermediate Workshop at Amblard Leather Atelier. I was eager to start the Advanced session to further my skills. You know what they say … “Be careful what you wish for!” The session started with two weeks of an invaluable skill – hand skiving! We learned how to bevel the edge of the leather all the way to “zero” using a skiving knife without damaging the front (right side) of the leather edge. It involves muscles AND finesse! Since this is something we will HAVE to do if we are serious about working with leather, we were determined to master this skill!

Here are a couple of practice squares:


Then we covered a 2″ x 2″ cube with six pieces of hand skived leather.

Of-course I am showing you the one perfect corner of my cube! 😉

Then we were to repeat our first project – Card Case – but instead of our teaching machine skiving the seamed edges, we did that by hand. Fortunately, we didn’t have to skive to “zero” on these pieces!

Pictured here is my $8.99 hand skiver – we have since purchased one with better steel that will (hopefully) hold its edge longer!


Now that we got that skill “mastered” (hahaha!) … guess what? We are designing our next project – the Structured Purse! WOOHOO!

The Making of the Leather Tote, Part 4

I did it! I managed to finish my leather tote so I could take it with me to my annual glass conference – the International Society of Glass Beadmakers Gathering – in Vegas last week. It was a hit even though most of my glassy friends thought I was crazy to have stitched this entire tote by hand!

With this project behind me, I will be starting my Advanced Workshop at Amblard Leather Atelier next. VERY excited! We will start with hand skiving – along with a couple of small projects – then a structured purse! WOOHOO!


The Making of the Leather Tote, part 1

Many of you who stuck with me these past six months are probably tired of my “talking” about my TOTE – the project I have been waiting to create since starting my leather workshops with Amblard Leather Atelier back in August. You can safely say that the TOTE was the reason I took the class and have been waiting – impatiently – to get to it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed all the smaller projects until now – and completely understand Beatrice Amblard’s skills-building agenda. Let’s just say that I have learned many invaluable techniques and am THRILLED that I am finally at the project of my dreams! 😀

So I decided to chronicle The Making of the Leather Tote and share some of them with you! If you are interested, may I suggest following my blog?

It literally took a full day to design a few components (based on some set parameters), cut the paper pattern, and then cut all the leather pieces. I believe there were 30 pieces in all.

Of-course I went with green, Lichen, and green, Aloe – dark on the outside and light on the inside, both in grain leather, with black hardware (will have to take a picture to share later) and black linen thread. (The brown you see top of the picture is only the backing and won’t be visible).



Leather Clutch

As promised, here is my latest finished project – a hand stitched clutch – at my Intermediate Workshop at Amblard Leather Atelier! I have to admit that I tried my best to zip through this project so I might start my TOTE! Fortunately, it contain fewer new techniques than some of the other earlier projects – curved gussets, padded construction, inside pocket, and magnetic closure.

I again picked dark green smooth leather on the outside and Aloe grain leather on the inside to match my wallet (and zipper pouch)! 😀




The TOTE has commenced!!!