Tandy Leather Expedition Bag: Sewing a Saddle Stitch

8:47 PM

Sewing. Oh sewing. Sew intimidating.... ;)

I've sewn fabric with a sewing machine but I've never attempted leather. I would watch my grandfather do it and it looked like a struggle, painful, and hard. Thankfully the Tandy Leather Expedition Bag comes with pre-punched holes so all you have to do is put a needle and string through the hole. It was the stitch that confused me the most. Which stitch do I use? This pattern does not come with stitching advice. Help! Thankfully those lovely employees at the local Tandy Store were helpful in letting me know what stitch to use. I probably would have just weaved the string through the holes and my bag would have fallen apart by now. Of course I Googled it. I didn't have any time to sit in a Wednesday class and learn. That's why I started this blog. There weren't very many useful sources to go to that I could look at and figure this out. So here for you is how I learned.

None other than Hermes himself. I told you earlier in my first blog post why I know leather bags run high on the price scale. I still know why. I respect their price but I simply just can't afford it. But now I have a piece of my own that I labored over and I'm very proud of. Anyways- Hermes delivers the highest qualities of leather work and sewing that I can come across. The stitching was revealed in a diagram and all I kept thinking when I was studying the picture and sewing the bag myself was "these stitches better hold! I'm not doing all of this hard work for nothing!"

The point of the saddle stitch is that if, and I repeat "IF" one of your stitches may break along the way this stitch should keep the whole bag from unraveling. It gives you some time to make a tiny repair. Thankfully after using my bag every day for 6 months I haven't lost a rivet or broken a stitch! Whoo Hoo!

To begin my sewing feat I started at the back panel and front flap because  it seemed like the best place to start.

Then I sandwiched that piece with the back pocket and side.

Then I moved to the middle, a bit more difficult because of the bags middle section, but I just matched the middle section up with the bottom holes of the bag and temporarily tied them together. Then I started to sew from the top all the way around.

Finally I finished the front panel. Which is a good finish because it's so simple and easy after you've done all of the hard stuff.

Your bag should be sewn all up! You should feel proud of yourself!

I bought extra beeswax string so that I could use the longest string possible and make my way from one end of the bag to the other so I didn't have to tie it off and start my stitching over in the middle of the bag. And when I passed the strings through the hole I pulled on the string as hard as I could. I would wear gloves for this part. I used the ends of my sweatshirt because after you've pulled each stitch as hard as you can your hands become red, sticky and sore and your sweatshirt will have beeswax residue all over them forever. So go for gloves.

I was stubborn and just wanted the bag finished so I did the stitching part in two days. I probably could have done it in one but with a baby crawling around and needing my attention I only could do it in two days. And boy was a relieved. So relieved in fact that I still haven't burnished the sewn sides together- so that will be a blog post I can do with you. Maybe my first video tutorial. Maybe.....

If you're interested in how the Hermès Birkin Bag is made look at this link. It's a fascinating look into the craftsman ship of each bag. http://houston.culturemap.com/news/fashion/06-04-12-exclusive-photos-inside-the-hermes-factory-where-birkin-made/



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