Machine-Stitched Bag!

As of Saturday the 11th, I have concluded all the projects of the year-long program at Amblard Leather Atelier with the completion of my machine-stitched bag  (I have even learned how to split leather using the skiving machine)! To think that a little over a year ago, my sister and I independently found Amblard the same day and decided to give it a try. We started with the two-hour evening class and knew this was what we wanted to do during the first class of just cutting paper! We did six evening classes and as soon as a new session started, we were on board for each of the four 12-week full-day programs. , We can’t thank Beatrice “Bea” Amblard enough for providing this incredible opportunity sharing her knowledge of the centuries-old craft of refined leather working. Bea and her daughter, Amelia, are amazing artists and teachers!


Interior with zippered and iPhone pockets, as well as the magnetic closure.


There is always a cattle brand on each hide. This one was H5. I utilized it as my initial HS and used it as the bottom of the bag.


The slide allows the strap to be shortened so I can either carry it short on my shoulder or long across the body.


Next up … project of my own design without any restricted guidelines!!!


Photo credit – top photo by Amelie Amblard


Machine-Stitched Bag

The machine-stitched bag is the last project in my year-long workshop at Amblard Leather Atelier. Can’t believe I have gone through Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced sections and am well into my last project in the Master class! I did a lot of homework in order to make it through all the required projects. The motivation behind this is that I will get to design my own project next! If you think my anticipation in working on my first TOTE when this journey began a year ago was over the top… it pales in comparison in my excitement in design my first bag! 😀

But first I must finish this machine-stitched bag! I wanted a smaller cross-shoulder bag for everyday use but was told that the smaller the bag, the more difficult it was to be sewn on the machine. So a compromise was struck.

After my usual blacks and greens, I decided to go with a fabulous medium dark slate grey leather named Oceania. It reminds me of stormy sea and will work perfectly with jeans. The project normally encompasses top-stitched seams on the sides with two straps on the front and back. I wanted a two-tone asymmetric design and moved the seams in the front and back pairing Oceania with Black for a more contemporary style. This also enables me to have the tabs with the attachments for the long cross-body strap (one instead of two) on the sides of the bag.


Piping is one of the techniques and I surprised everyone by choosing an accent color in mustard yellow named Kayak! It is reinforced by having the tabs and the entire interior lining in the same color!

A couple of classes were spent on putting all the pieces together – phone pocket, zippered pocket, tabs, bottom with feet and piping, etc. Then it was time to learn how to use the industrial-grade Juki leather sewing machine. It took a bit of getting used to but with my sewing experience since the age of 10, it wasn’t too difficult to pick up – except for the fact that you can’t pin or hand baste anything before hand AND if you make a mistake, the holes are permanent!

The up side? It’s FAST! I machine stitched the bag and its lining in one day – something that would have taken days and weeks if stitched by hand – and there is no finishing required except for a handful of areas!

My homework is to finish the edges on the strap, then add the binding on the top edge next class and my last required project will be done!

Now off to design my next project … so exciting!



Structured Purse – Complete!

The last of the annual series – Master Session – at Amblard Leather Atelier starts Saturday so I have been busy finishing up my Advanced Session project in order to start another 12 weeks of leather fun (finally leaving hand stitching behind and will be using a machine!)


Structured Purse Part III

Want to share a few work-in-progress pictures of my structured purse! Stitching the side gussets and finishing those edges are the final steps! Master Workshop at Amblard Leather Atelier starts on 14 July… so I better hustle to get this done so I can leave hand stitching behind and finally get to use the Juki sewing machine!






Structured Purse Part II

I have been remiss in updating my structured purse progress! Lots have happened in the last month and we only have a couple of weeks left in our Advanced Workshop at Amblard Leather Atelier! And yes, both my sister and I have signed up for the Master Workshop to complete our full-year leather learning fun!

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, I am using black grain leather with an accent of snake skin. This is the classic-style structured purse with leather rope handles and reinforced bottom.

Here is an action shot! Hand stitching! The awl is to pierce through the multiple layers of the bottom.


Here is a quick shot of the front and flap showing the python accent, slim silver-tone hardware, and asymmetrical design.


Feet and closure hardware set, rope handles attached. I have finished hand stitching the handles onto the front and back (an extremely persnickety process!) It’s finally looking like a purse!!!


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!!!