I can’t speak for you but I’m not wild on practice exercises. Since I like immediate gratification (we should be rewarded for trying, no?), I decided this would be an easy thing to make that is difficult to mess up and even if you do, somebody is going to want it so it won’t go to waste.
I did not invent this concept, it’s been going around the web for awhile now. Most of the ones I’ve seen are made out of paper and paper is just fine but using leather makes it a little longer lasting (plus we wouldn’t have a sample sewing exercise so I wouldn’t have anything to write about). There is also a cute one you can make out of discarded lotion bottles.
Since I didn’t have any dimensions to go by, all I’d seen was a kit you buy, I cut a rough rectangle out of oaktag, punched a hole in both ends and figured I’d reiterate from there. That worked out pretty well, I measured it after the fact and it was roughly 9″ long. To neaten things up, I made the final pattern 2″ wide but I’m thinking it could be narrower than that. By all means, lather, rinse and repeat to suit yourself.
From there I laid the final pattern on the leather and traced it out as shown below:
In the typical course of affairs, you’d trace the pattern, cut it out and then sew it. We’re not going to do that. No no. We’ll trace it out, sew it and then cut it out. In the photo below, you can see I didn’t do so well on those little circles.
But hey, it’s a first mock up, not even so grand as to be designated a proto. Consider this portion of the exercise as a matter of making sure you’re using the right needle size (I wasn’t, I had to upgrade to a size 14 for this double layer of garment weight pig suede) and that you’re using the right foot (as coincidence would have it, the foot fell off!) but it still ended up okay.
It is only after you’ve sewn it that you cut it out. That way you can get very close to the stitching and everyone will marvel at how precise your stitching is, ha ha.
Normally, I wouldn’t show something like this but I thought it would be good for you to see how organic and crude the process of design, pattern and construction iteration can be in real life. Which is not to say that there won’t be a plethora of tutorials on this all over the web next week, in prettied up photos from people who actually have wall paper or designer outlets and of course, no attribution assigned. Such is life.
Anyway, once you have some confidence in handling the materials, you can graduate to doing something prettier such as the white one I made that I opened with. I may give that to Martha on her birthday since she doesn’t read the blog. With that one I used scalloping scissors, all metal ones, not the plastic-y ones from the craft store. They don’t make the metal ones anymore but regular pinking shears would give a nice edge too. The holes I created with a die I bought at Tandy years ago. I think it makes 1/8″ holes but you have to hammer it (use a mallet or sewing hammer).
Stay tuned next week when we’ll make leather coasters!
PS. Mr. Fashion-Incubator walked in during the proofing of this post and he says OSHA would say “NO!” and that “the fire marshall would have an aneurysm”. So there you go. You can have the awesomest idea ever and it won’t fly because it could burn your house down. Alternatively, you’ll have to figure out a way to make your project safer.