Have had a yen to try and make some small luggage, cases and purses etc. but research material on the subject is not easy to come by.

Experimenting with leather

A friend who I am less in touch with than I used to be had a little rattan and leather case that she had co-opted into a purse, which never failed to garner a complement when it was presented. I thought it might be neat to try and duplicate it, but I don’t have it to look at anymore I have to guess a bit.

It turns out, that for leather, and leather like, rigid cases, there are a wide variety of techniques used to construct and stiffen them. sort of depends on how much you’re willing to pay for the final product. I have seen references or examples that use wood, Masonite, cardboard, or even just more leather to stiffen the face seems and edges of a case. From a sort of casual standpoint, what makes it difficult to figure out is the location of some of the stitching relative to the backing material. You cannot stitch through Masonite, for example, unless you pre drill every stitch. So where exactly are some of those stitches going?

Research subjects, ready for dissection

That brown suitcase for example. The main fabric is pretty thoroughly glued down, but the leather (looking) edging is stitched through. But through what? The curved wall appears to be sort of wood like, and I can see at last a couple of the stitches on the inside, where the little blue case is not much of a mystery, in that the backing material appears to be cardboard like, which can be easily stitched through. And while I was at the Monroe junk hunt today, I found a couple of other leather suitcases that were beaten up enough for me to see that the leather the case was made of was actually quite thin, but was laminated to a couple layers of bookbinding cardboard before being sewn.

The two cases that I did buy, shown in the picture, were selected for variety and for my willingness to take them apart. The tweed case especially, I’m hoping that will tell me a lot. I think part of me is approaching the creation of cases like I approached upholstery. I think that I will end up similarly disappointed to find out that it’s actually much less clever than I imagine it to be.

Expect a few more posts on this subject as the experiments get under way the end result is to make a high quality version of my friend’s old purse if I can, and to make myself a quality attaché case of some sort. After my experience with my wallet, I find that leather construction is kind of pleasantly therapeutic. The stitching at least is kind of like knitting.

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