jdwintx

Sewing Around Corners

24 posts in this topic

Here's a question for all you master sewers out there, how do you sew around a corner? I'm making a laptop bag (based on the design on the Saddleback site) and I'm having a very hard time sewing around the corners. Basically there is a middle compartment divider (5oz leather) that seperates two compartments. I have made my divider and the side gussets (3oz leather) but when I get to the corner I'm unable to bend the leather and keep it under the sewing foot of my machine (Cobra Class 4 16). In looking at the pictures I do not see any darts or other cuts to make this easier. Do I need to get the leather wet and pliable before sewing? I figure it is something simple but never having done it I could use some advice. Here's a picture of what I'm describing. Thanks in advance.

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Get the gusset wet and mold it to the shape it needs. Hold it in place with clips of some sort and let dry. Once dry you should have no problem. If you'd like a really detailed explanation with pictures get the book/pattern pack, Custom Made Saddlebags by the Stohlmans.

Dan

Edited by dbusarow

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Get the gusset wet and mold it to the shape it needs. Hold it in place with clips of some sort and let dry. Once dry you should have no problem. If you'd like a really detailed explanation with pictures get the book/pattern pack, Custom Made Saddlebags by the Stohlmans.

Dan

Thanks Dan, I'll give that a shot. I was hesitant to soak the gusset as I have already glued the lining in place and didn't want to chance that coming unglued, I'll review the saddlebag patterns book, it's around here somewhere...... It does seem to me that this would be very time consuming for someone or company that makes many of these so I was hoping there were other methods.

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The only part that needs to get good and wet is the edge where the gusset is glued to the main side panel. And the little bit where you fold the gusset over. The main part of the gusset, the part that you want to look nice, can stay as dry as you can keep it. I guess I'd worry a little about water stains if I only wet part of it but probably just a quick splash vs soaking would do for the middle.

Dan

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Well I tried the method we talked about and all I can say is luckily this is my prototype so I don't mind messing it up while I'm figuring this out. The results were less than stellar as you can see from the images below. Unless I'm really doing something wrong (other than my poor sewing skills) I'm still unable to get the corners smooth enough to sew straight and there is no way that I could do a double seam on this as moving further into the leather around the curves would be impossible.

Any other ideas or suggestions?

post-9688-083563300 1317926174_thumb.jpgpost-9688-025078100 1317926176_thumb.jpgpost-9688-072315400 1317926177_thumb.jpg

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Yeah...do your gussets with a thinner chrome tan leather. Like a chap leather. The thick veg tan is for the front and back (and divider) of the bag and doesn't flex when being sewn. The thinner chrome tan then can flex and be contact cemented to the front/back panels before sewing. At least that's how I've done saddlebags in the past. I wouldn't even attempt a veg tan gusset on a bag, even a thin one that's been wet formed. Seems like a hassle. That's just me though.

You probably want the veg tan for it's stiffness to help protect the laptop (a bit) against crushing though. If I ever were to attempt this (which at this point I still wouldn't) I'd probably skive the edges as thin as I could get then maybe put a "V" cut on the inside of the leather where it needs to bend. As well as wet form of course.

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I've made saddle bags with 4/5oz veg tan gussets. Accordian gussets. The explanation in the Stohlman book does not make it easy, but it does make it straightforward. You wet form, use a hammer to get the corners flat and then tack the whole thing in place until it dries. When done you have a very impressive bag. I've used the same technique for a bag similar to the OPs, though just two side panels and 1 gusset. It was easier than the accordian gussets.

Dan

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Well I sat down and gave it a lot of thought last night and I think what I'm going to do is build a wooden jig that will mimic the inside dimensions of the divider and then wet form the gussets around the jig to have top and bottom lips as well as provide the curves. Basically I will build out the shape of the divider and front/back pieces about 1/4 - 1/2" smaller than the actual piece size but the same depth, form the leather around that and then clamp (around the form and top). That should give me enough leeway to sew around and also provide me room to trim and sand the edges. I'll then add the lining prior to sewing over the formed piece. Once I get that built out I'll post a picture (if it works). I think that's about the only way to get the consistency to construct these in a reproducable manner.

Edited by jdwintx

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That is one great way to do it. There are a few threads on here that are similar to what you describe.

Another way is to cut the gusset to a diminishing shape instead of one size thru out. This can help.

Also when you start stitching, unless you know the exact size and shape of the gusset I would get the bottom and corners glued up and stitched then work your way out to the ends. The way Dbusaro describes is a great way also if not using a form.

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That is one great way to do it. There are a few threads on here that are similar to what you describe.

Another way is to cut the gusset to a diminishing shape instead of one size thru out. This can help.

Also when you start stitching, unless you know the exact size and shape of the gusset I would get the bottom and corners glued up and stitched then work your way out to the ends. The way Dbusaro describes is a great way also if not using a form.

When you say cut the gusset to a diminishing shape, can you describe that or provide a picture, I'm not sure what you are describing. Thanks

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Sometimes you can get away with having the bottom of the gusset (bottom of the bag area) wider then taper it up as you go. Now that I think about it cant remember if this helps with the corners or not. I need to do a wider array of leather work because I keep forgetting what helped me in the past lol.

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Sometimes you can get away with having the bottom of the gusset (bottom of the bag area) wider then taper it up as you go. Now that I think about it cant remember if this helps with the corners or not. I need to do a wider array of leather work because I keep forgetting what helped me in the past lol.

i have built several bag over the years with gussets the way i do mine is i build all mine out of 2to3 or 3to 4 oz lining leather, i wet the top with a sponge then use barge cement along the edgeof both pieces to be glued together. let it dry for a minute then put the two pieces together and form the edges with my hands. then with the leather still damp i sew the two together. i have several items in my photo album that i have done this way for your viewing. hope this helps john

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Just a thought, when I am trying to make a project for the first time I like to make small moc-ups of any part I think will be tough to do so I don't screw up a bunch of leather cutting out the whole project and then sticking it in the stitcher and praying for a good outcome. Try going to your scrap bin and build a few corners as you would like them to be, then take what you have learned to the BIG leather and sew it up. You can try different radius corners and different leathers until you get it right on small scraps of leather and you will always end up with a result you can be proud of. I hope this is of some help to you........ Jeff

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Well I tried the method we talked about and all I can say is luckily this is my prototype so I don't mind messing it up while I'm figuring this out. The results were less than stellar as you can see from the images below. Unless I'm really doing something wrong (other than my poor sewing skills) I'm still unable to get the corners smooth enough to sew straight and there is no way that I could do a double seam on this as moving further into the leather around the curves would be impossible.

Any other ideas or suggestions?

post-9688-083563300 1317926174_thumb.jpgpost-9688-025078100 1317926176_thumb.jpgpost-9688-072315400 1317926177_thumb.jpg

this may be a little help http://leatherworker...?showtopic=2161

I made one of these bags with a middle divider and 2 gussets but I stitched it all by hand. I didn't wet from any of it and I used veg tan for the entire bag. 4/5oz for front and back 3/4 for gussets.

Edited by Scary Leatherworks

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I like making bags out of thick leather and I had troubles with corners too.

The leather is rather stiff and hard to handle. Here is how I stitch gussets to the middle compartment separator of a handbag.

The bag is made out of 2mm oil tanned leather.

1. Prepare the edge of the pieces for the glue (this is oil tan and glue will not adhere if you do not rough up the surface)

2. Start gluing the gussets. As you approach the round corner fold the edge of the gusset and then while folded bend it to mimic the turn. I do it quite hard so the leather flexes, becomes more pliable and takes needed shape.

3. Glue pieces together and secure them with clips. (i should have wrapped them with something... they leave some impressions)

4. Stitch it all.

I hope it helps.

Equipment and materials used:

2mm oil tan leather, Cowboy 4500 sewing machine, round punch http://leatherworker.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=7801&view=findpost&p=216263, needle #25, bonded nylon #346, fabri-tack glue, rotary tool with sandpaper cylinder.

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post-22714-035649400 1319943162_thumb.jp

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I like making bags out of thick leather and I had troubles with corners too.

The leather is rather stiff and hard to handle. Here is how I stitch gussets to the middle compartment separator of a handbag.

The bag is made out of 2mm oil tanned leather.

1. Prepare the edge of the pieces for the glue (this is oil tan and glue will not adhere if you do not rough up the surface)

2. Start gluing the gussets. As you approach the round corner fold the edge of the gusset and then while folded bend it to mimic the turn. I do it quite hard so the leather flexes, becomes more pliable and takes needed shape.

3. Glue pieces together and secure them with clips. (i should have wrapped them with something... they leave some impressions)

4. Stitch it all.

I hope it helps.

Equipment and materials used:

2mm oil tan leather, Cowboy 4500 sewing machine, round punch http://leatherworker...ndpost&p=216263, needle #25, bonded nylon #346, fabri-tack glue, rotary tool with sandpaper cylinder.

Am I seeing that photo correctly in guessing that you have the flatbed attachment on there? Seems like it'd be easier with just the cylinder arm, no? Seeing the photo is reassuring for me since I just got a flatbed machine! Now I just need to learn how to use it...

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I have an improvised flatbed attachment. I thought of getting a factory built one, but i needed one really quick and made this one out of laminated particle board.

It turned out that this completely separate unit works very well. It takes no time to move it away with all the sewing on it if necessary and use the machine as a cylinder arm as designed.

It is also very easy to check on the bobbin or change the height of the table.

I however have not used the factory built one so i can not tell which one is better.

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post-22714-007241600 1320070409_thumb.jp

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I have an improvised flatbed attachment. I thought of getting a factory built one, but i needed one really quick and made this one out of laminated particle board.

It turned out that this completely separate unit works very well. It takes no time to move it away with all the sewing on it if necessary and use the machine as a cylinder arm as designed.

It is also very easy to check on the bobbin or change the height of the table.

I however have not used the factory built one so i can not tell which one is better.

That is a very great looking set-up............

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jdwintx

I made a jig to shape the gussets for a saddle bag I made.

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The gusset is 4/5 oz lining leather. I wet the gusset , formed it around the jig, put plywood backers on front and back and clamped the edges till dry. I took the plywood backers off and glued the panels one at a time. Pulled out the jig and hand sewed but seems a machine would work at this point.

Hope this gives you more ideas.

Ben

Edited by Ben

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I made a jig to shape the gussets for a saddle bag I made.

...

Ben

This is probably the best method out there. Awesome result!

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Thanks Everyone for some great ideas, I'm sure they will help other folks as well as they did me.

What I finally did was similar to what Ben did, although I built a "U" shaped jig and once I got the leather gusset wet I molded it around the inside of the "U" with the sewing edges tacked down overlapping the edges of the mold. When I let that dry it gave me the shape I needed. I then clamped and glued the gusset in place to the center divider and sewed that in once the glue had set overnight. I worked like a charm and was much easier. The upside is that I used this as a reason to purchase a Scroll saw so I could make the jigs, LOL.

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Has anyone ever tried contouring the edge of the gusset where it meets the curve or corner of the bag? It worked for me. It is like a curved bump out. You would still glue and perforate your holes.

Frank

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Has anyone ever tried contouring the edge of the gusset where it meets the curve or corner of the bag? It worked for me. It is like a curved bump out.

...

Can you please post a picture of it?

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Can you please post a picture of it?

Sorry I don't have a camera handy. If you drew a staight line on paper and at the point where you would have a corner, round or 90 degrees, etc., you would draw an arc and then you would would continue to the next point you have a corner. I will make these arcs a little longer than I want, If you make them exact as you sew the edges together you could come up short or long , and just with my fingers hold it to the edge of the bag working my way to and around the corners to adjust my arcs( length or height). Thiese arcs relieve some stress of shaping the gusset to the bag's corners. Try using some scrap to sew together and you will see what I am trying to describe. If I can get a camera I will post a picture.

Frank

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