Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Handmade leather wallet, using supplies from home

This year, I have had an increasing interest in leather, mostly from going to Winterfest, and deciding I really need to make myself some historically accurate footwear for next year. I have been lucky enough to pick up some cheap pieces of leather, some $2 pieces from a stall at Winterfest, as well as some from a local antiques/curiosities shop. Coming up to Christmas, I thought it would be a great idea to use some of this leather to make some handmade leather wallets for some of the men in my life.

I trawled through pinterest for patterns and ideas, and decided on this bi-fold wallet pdf pattern and tutorial  for my first attempt.

I traced around the pattern pieces with tailors chalk on the wrong side of the leather, which wasn't great, but not much else was going to show on the black, then simply cut out the pieces with my paper scissors. I was going to use my rotary cutter, but I couldn't find it, and the scissors did a pretty decent job any way

Although I know I have sand paper, I couldn't for the life of me find it anywhere, so I did an almost embarrassingly girly thing, and used an nail file to sand the rough edges instead. As I was making a few of these, I did end up buying a 50c piece of extra fine sandpaper from Bunnings the next time I was there.

Norfolk Island Honey and Beeswax soap

I don't have the money to be going an buying the proper gum stuff to burnish the edges of the leather, but I saw in the tutorial that I linked previously, that the person doing it was using saddle soap instead. Now I don't have any saddle soap either, but I had a look in my bathroom and found some soap from Norfolk Island that contains beeswax, so I figured, close enough! If you don't have any saddle soap or soap containing beeswax, just use the most moisturising/conditioning bar soap you have (I don't think liquid soap will work) you could also try leather wax either in a colour that matches your leather, or in clear, as these do seem to be available at a few of the large supermarkets and department stores in my town, usually for less than $10

burnished piece on top versus
raw cut piece on bottom

As for the tool to rub along the edge to help shape it, I just looked around my house until I found a utensil with a grooved wooden handle to run along the leather edge. I ended up using the threading hook from my spinning wheel, but I also have a few old school bottle openers and fondue forks with similar handles. If you don't have one, check out a local op-shop, you can probably pick one up for less than $1

I also decided to just machine stitch my wallets, instead of punching holes with an awl and hanstitching. really you could do it either way, although I would only recommend using a machine that can handle leather. I used my old Janome with a walking foot. I followed the construction order from the tutorial, and was pretty happy with the end result.

Finished Wallet

Inside of my handmade leather wallet

With my first attempt finished, I am hoping to also create another one for my husband, although he likes to have a coin section in his wallets. While I didnt find a free pattern with that feature that I liked, I found it easy enough to modify the first pattern I used, by drafting my own coin pouch section, based on the one from this wallet making video.

Anyone else been sewing with leather lately?


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