Today we're taking a break from the Handmade Dress Up Series to show you a tutorial for making your own leather purse straps! Cheryl from Paradiso Designs sells PDF purse patterns and knows her stuff about making bags! I hope you enjoy this tutorial!
My name is Cheryl Kuczek, and I have my very own sewing pattern company called Paradiso Designs
I have a lot of bag patterns that I started my company with. Some of the bags have straps that look like leather, but they are not! You may have seen another one of my creations gracing the pages of the last issue of Stitch…the Slouch Bag. Here is a picture of the very first Slouch Bag that I made with Italian pleather and Italian laminated cotton. This is a free downloadable pattern at Stitch Magazine on line….click here to get it! You can see the strap that I made using my Paradiso Designs technique!
A) Here are the straps that I make for my bags. The look like leather, they feel like leather, and they act like leather, but they are pleather/vinyl (pv).
You can buy pleather and vinyl at many fabric stores, and it is not too expensive, plus you can then give your bags that designer lok to them. The Slouch Bag looks kinda like a Marc Jacobs bag, but his bags can cost you $1200.00 or more. I think it is dandy to make your own, and look like a million bucks with your own two hands.
TO SEW Pleather…you will want 110 OR 100 needles…they can be just regular, denim, leather or topstitch needles. The topstitch are great because they have a bit bigger eye of the needle, which is nice if you are sewing using one of the newer 40 weight threads which can give the appearance of a thicker thread, therefore stitch.
You will need a telfon foot or put a piece of scotch tale on your regular foot. These are Viking feet. The Telfon works great on most pleathers. Patent like leathers may work better with the scotch tape. I know that these machines have these feet;
- Viking has the H foot
- Bernina has the 52c or d foot that is Teflon, and the same number foot in green (non-stick) and will work on the patent like pleathers.
- Pfaff has a Telfon foot
- Brother/Babylock/White/Janome have a white plastic foot that does work on most pleathers. This foot appears to be interchangeable between Brother, Babylock, White, and Janome.
You really need to cut pleather/vinyl (p/v) with a rotary cutter and not scissors because it is very important to have a smooth straight line! I always cut my strap the entire width of the p/v.
That would be around 54- 60". Just a regular strap starts at about 42".
I have two of the kinds of p/v to use for straps. The brown p/v has a woven backing on it, and the black has a "felted" backing. These are perfect for being very durable and sturdy, exactly what I strap needs to last through wear and tear!
The strap starts out be 3 times its finished size! So for a 1" strap, you would start with a 3" piece wide p/v, for 1.5" a 4.5"piece would be used, etc.
Next, a line is drawn 1/3 of the way across, as you can see in this picture the back side of the 3" pleather is marked with a line 1" from one edge. Use a sharpie only in the same color as the pleather, I have seen sharpie bleed through. On the felted back, I use a roller chalk, to make the line, this one is by Clover. I love it as I cut A LOT of p/v all the time!
As you can see here, this is the start, fold in the edge to the drawn line, I use these nifty "Get a Grip" Clips to hold the p/v folded into place as the first row if stitching is sewn. I like to start 1/16" from the folded edge, and sew the entire length of pleather, 1/8" will work too. Here are more tips…
- Only sew in one direction, otherwise the p/v will twist.
- I leave my threads long at the beginning, and cut them at the end so I do not forget which direction I need to sew.
- Use a 3.5-5.5 stitch length as you will be going through thick stuff here…using a bigger needle and stitch will be easier to sew and will look better
- you do not need to backstitch.
This picture gives you a look at what you will have after that first row of stitching, and look at the stitching…you DO NOT want little stitches.
The second row of stitches will "catch" the other end of the pleather…as the other side is folded toward the first row of stitches. As you can see they edge is right next to the stitches, and this is what makes the edge disappear, and sew the 2nd row of stitching 1/8" away from the 1st row of stitches.
Do not pull the p/v down, or the strap will start to twist, just "fold" to the line of stitching.
If you do not have these measurement marks on your machine, you could make marks of where you must sew to get this configuration.
It is possible that you can get the line you need by moving your needle.
This is really pretty…think about your thread too…this thread matched with the appliqué' on this bag, and made it pop!!
Here is another shot of the Urbanista HoBo Bag by Paradiso Designs…this pattern will be out in late November/December. Old jeans were used upcycled to create the bag outer material. Check out the p/v edging….I will do a tutorial about that next week, the cool bound like strap slot will be the week after that!!
Cupcake appliqué pattern by Paradiso Designs, out in late October!!
Thank-you again Andrea for this opportunity!!