Sheilajeanne

Finally Done!!

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My two Celtic themed bags! I hated the leather button in the middle of the small one, so found a nice Celtic one at Tandy.

The larger bag is definitely the most complicated project I've done to date. Except for the flap, and the heavier weight pieces, the leather was horrible. The straps were SO BAD that I seriously considered replacing them. They fought me every step of the way. The did not take dye well. They looked like something had been chewing on the hide. I tried 4 times to dye the edges and finally gave up. I covered the ugliness on the backside by dyeing them then using Atom wax leather balm to make sure the dye wouldn't rub off on clothing.

I dealt with the ugly fuzziness of the inside of the bag by lining it with pigskin. Thereby hangs a tale...

When I started to sew the bag together, I realized the parts I had lined were the pockets, not the interior of the bag. Darn it! That was the part I most wanted to hide. But I'd already sewn together the 4 layers of the bag at the bottom, which was one of the most difficult sewing jobs I've ever had to do. Well, I decided, I'll just rip out the other stitching, and line overtop of the bottom stitching.

FIrst, I tried Heat n'Bond to get the liner to stick to the inside. I could only find the Lite version, and it did not work at all. Oh, it worked very well on the fuzzy interior of the bag, but did not bond the pigskin liner!. I could not peel the stuff off the inside of the bag. I had to SAND it off!! :wacko: And even then, some of it remained behind, especially along the edges, which is probably why the edges didn't want to stick together when I glued them. In spite of re-gluing numerous spots in the edges several times, I still got some major separation of the lining as I was sewing the gussets to the bag. 

This was the first time I tried using Hidepounder's method of finishing edges. That didn't go very well either, as you'll see from the photo. The glycerin soap worked well. Then, I tried applying the Fiebings saddle soap. It was a DISASTER! Hey, did you know Fiebing's paste saddle soap makes a GREAT dye remover?? Yup. And it also sometimes leaves an ugly dark line along the top and bottom edges of your project. 

I found out about the dye when I tried to burnish the edges on my second Windsor bag project. The flap wound up with a nasty dark mark along the right side. I thought maybe I could remove it by rubbing the flap with the saddle soap and a soft cloth. Suddenly I noticed the white rose in the center of the flap turning GREEN!! WFT?? I looked at my cloth, and found It was covered with green dye! And this flap had already been buffed and treated with Satin Sheen!  :o

I grabbed a paper towel, and rubbed the dye off. As soon as the saddle soap was gone, no more dye came off. But enough dye had been removed that I had to redo the flap. And of course, I forgot the dye was not straight green, but had been mixed 50/50 with yellow to make it more of an olive green. [sigh!]  Despite several coats of dye, I was unable to restore the original colour. :(

Anyway, it's done. The last thing I added was the toggle tie at the front. I decided it really did need something to keep it closed, but I wanted it to be as minimal as possible, so as not to take away from the Celtic horse carving. I also wanted it to look antique and not modern. So, the leather lace and toggle button seemed like the best way to go!

 

 

Celtic bag edges.jpg

Celtic bag interior.JPG

Celtic horse bags.jpg

Edited by Sheilajeanne
forgot the photos!!

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Re: the edges: The heavier leather took the glycerin and paraffin quite nicely, and with more practice, I am sure my edges will improve. The crappy thin, floppy, fuzzy milled leather was a total pain to try to burnish. It was pretty much impossible to get it looking nice. 

The top of one of the inner pockets is laced rather than sewn. You may wonder why. Well, my rotary cutter got away from me while i was trimming the liner, and this was the best way of hiding the resulting cut! You have to look really hard to see it... ;)

Edited by Sheilajeanne

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Hello! I congratulate you on the completion of the great work. I like both of your bags. Looks great!
If you do not mind, a little advice (from my own, albeit small, experience). I noticed that the edge looks thick enough. I had such a situation, if I did not work the edge well enough with a hammer, after applying tragacanth to it. The subsequent burnishing of the edge in this case is better.

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AB, I did not apply tragacanth to it, nor do I hammer my edges. I am trying to understand just how this would help. I did skive my edges, though maybe I should have done more to make them thinner? But then if the edge is skived too much, I might have trouble getting the pigskin liner to stick due to the slope?

Does tragacanth help to make the edges stiffer and less floppy, therefore easier to burnish?

And what would the hammering do, other than flattening knots and stitching? 

Thank you for the advice! I just want to understand how it would help make things better.

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1 hour ago, Sheilajeanne said:

AB, I did not apply tragacanth to it, nor do I hammer my edges. I am trying to understand just how this would help. I did skive my edges, though maybe I should have done more to make them thinner? But then if the edge is skived too much, I might have trouble getting the pigskin liner to stick due to the slope?

Does tragacanth help to make the edges stiffer and less floppy, therefore easier to burnish?

And what would the hammering do, other than flattening knots and stitching? 

Thank you for the advice! I just want to understand how it would help make things better.

I proceed as follows:
1. I put a tragacanth on the edge with a brush. Wait a few minutes until it absorbs into the leather, but it still does not dry out.
2. Flatten the edge with a hammer.
The presence of liquid tragacanth provides the plasticity of the leather and allows to significantly reduce the thickness of the edge when tapping it with a hammer, and after drying it works as a glue, binding the layers of the leather and providing rigidity that facilitates burnishing.

Below is a photo of the belt fragment of my bag. Used "sandwich" of 3 layers of leather 4 oz + 5 oz + 2 oz. In this case, the thickness of the edge was only 2.5 mm due to the procedure described above.
I apologize for my English, but I hope I managed to convey the meaning.

IMG_20180711_170245.jpg

Edited by ABHandmade

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Thank you, you did just fine explaining that! :) 

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8 minutes ago, Sheilajeanne said:

Thank you, you did just fine explaining that! :) 

I'll be much glad if it proves useful to you.

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I will certainly give it a try! It is not the method Hidepounder (Bob Parks) uses and has posted on the "How Do I Do That?" forum, but as they say, many roads lead to Rome!

So, of course, being something of a perfectionist, I just couldn't leave those edges alone... :rolleyes2: I decided I had to touch them up with some dye. This led to one of the worst 'Oh crap!!' moments I've ever had. 

I somehow managed to spill most of what was left of a bottle of Fiebing's Saddle Tan all over my work table, some shelves and other stuff sitting underneath it, and of course, the floor!

Thank God, no projects got damaged by the spill.

The bottle of dye was only about 1/4 full.

The dye mostly missed me and my clothing, though my shoes have a few splashes.

Things I learned during the cleanup:

No matter how panicked you are, take time to put on some gloves.

Paper towels and denatured alcohol are your two best friends during a cleanup. LOTS of paper towels and lots of alcohol. You may want to apply some of the other sort of alcohol internally once you're finally done...

It's amazing just how well alcohol does at cleaning up dye. This is probably who Fiebings has switched almost completely to alcohol base dyes as opposed to oil dyes. (Also there's the VOC factor - the oil based dyes are much less environmentally friendly.) You would never know I spilled anything on the floor, and even my work table and cutting mat, which got the worst of it. have only very faint stains!

WHEW!! Going to go play outside with the dogs for awhile to get the alcohol fumes out of my brain!

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It's just a thriller of Hitchcock :) It's good that everything ended successfully

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Sounds like you had a long series of learning experiences on these bags. I exhausted and agitated just reading about it!

When I first read your thread title, I thought maybe you'd finished getting your shop all set up and organized. Heh-heh, I see that's not the case!

Jeff

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Alpha, it's about as organized as it's ever going to be, until I get a larger workspace!

The dyes all have their own spot in a nearby cupboard, carefully put away inside plastic tote boxes. Some tend to leak more than others, and THEY are inside individual ziplock bags. 

But yeah, we all get careless from time to time... :rolleyes2:  I usually try to recap dyes as quickly as possible after using them, and when dyeing, I use a syringe to transfer the dye to a glass shot glass with a heavy bottom, to help prevent spills, and make sure the spill is fairly small if the glass does tip over.

This time I didn't recap the dye bottle soon enough! 

Just curious to know if anyone else ever had a problem with Fiebing's saddle soap removing dye! That was a real shocker!

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JANE,

I am in the wood shop so will not give you any detailed ideas now. When I get to my computer upstairs......

Ferg

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Nice. Was the large bag a Tandy kit also?

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Jane,

 

Here goes.

Loosen top tension on your machine until those knots are tied inside the thickness of your leather.

You are trying to accomplish so many things all at once. Baby steps first, okay? 

Make the flap, plus the back, plus the front of your purse all one piece. Use 4oz - 5oz raw veg tanned. Don't try to stain it.

Do your carving, nice job by the way, stain or paint with acrylics on your design after the leather has dried. When the Celtic Design colors are to your liking allow them to dry for no less that 24 hours. Now, you can use Olive Oil, since I have an idea you may be more likely to have that than Neats Foot Oil, to cover the remainder of this piece of leather. Apply with a fine textured sponge, the round ones about 5 or 6 cm in diameter, are available most places. Apply lightly and try to make it even amount if you are looking for a solid color or "mess" with the oil a little bit if you want varied depth of color. Apply two coats, allow to dry so it isn't greasy. Do that until you are satisfied with the depth of brown color. Remember, the leather will darken after a few months of use. Don't place the leather piece in the sun, it may cause a problem with your paint or stain on the graphic.

If you want a pocket on the outside, extend the length of the above large piece to the top edge of purse. Cut a piece of leather for your pocket and stitch it onto the front just above your fastener taking it a little below the top edge of large piece. Best way to cover the raw edges of leather on a "classy" item is to do a rolled edge. You may not wish to do that this time. Before you stitch the pocket, sand the edges with 600 grit sandpaper, the finest you have. Don't bear down when sanding. If you have some natural shoe polish or paste wood furniture wax, put some on an old piece of Blue Jean material that has been folded over itself several times. Rub the edges until you can feel them getting warm to the touch. Don't get the wax on the face of the pocket leather unless you want to rub that into it also. This can take some time so just take a deep breath and do it until the edge feels smooth. Since you have now made a pocket that does not go all the way to the edge of the purse, you have eliminated one layer of leather. The pocket can be made of a little thinner leather if you wish. The gusset should be the same as your other "Bag" leather.

LINING!!!!!!

Mama says she has supper ready. I will finish after.

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Wow!  That`s a lot of advice to absorb! Thank you! Looking forward to part II.

Ferg, just so you know, a lot of this does not apply as both these projects were Tandy kits which I added my own carving design to. All seams were hand-stitched. Yes, I have a few calluses I didn`t have before...

HOWEVER, I am planning to do both bags AGAIN, using leather I prepare myself. (Needless to say,  some of it's going to be MUCH better quality! ) Actually the belt bag is already a WIP, and is the one that got the dye rubbed off it by the saddle soap. I have put a Tudor rose design on the front of it. The second messenger bag will have a triskelion on it, the same as the one on Thor`s hammer in the movie! So, I can use your advice on these bags. :)

Oh, yeah...former equestrian here. Neatsfoot oil and I go waaaaay back... 

636px-Triquetra-Double.svg.png

Edited by Sheilajeanne

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Lining again:

If you wish to make the lining of Pig skin that is okay. Doeskin or similar would be easier. Buy a lining leather that is already a color. You need to make another purse just like the one you have already put together from the lining leather with one exception. You only want it to be big enough to come to the top of the upper edges of your purse body. Locate on your lining where you wish to have an inside pocket. Cut a pocket of the same material as your lining, stitching it in place. If you want to make a gusset into the lining no problem. Glue the edges of the lining and gusset together with "Gel Contact Cement". Let it set overnight at least. Turn the lining wrong side out and stitch  as though you were going to make a French Seam. Do not stitch across the top edges. Press the two "flaps" on either side of the stitching, down and glue them so they lay flat on either side of the previous stitch line. Turn the liner right side out, hope you put the inside pocket on the correct side of the liner Lol.

Cut strips of pig, calf skin, whatever you have that is real thin, 22mm plus the thickness of your bag where the gusset is attached to outside leather. Maybe three or four millimeters. You will wrap the edges of your bag, all the way around. Do not stitch the top edges yet. Stuff the lining into the bag so it fits inside nicely. You should have enough of the lining to allow you to trim it evenly with the outside leather. When you stitch that rolled edging over the lining that is what holds it into place. When the owner of the bag wish to clean her purse out real well she can pull that lining out enough to dump all the fragments of whatever was in that purse.

I am not known for giving real understandable instructions so do not hesitate to ask for clarifications if need be.

Ferg

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Those kits make good patterns.

Ferg

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3 hours ago, Ferg said:

Those kits make good patterns.

Ferg

That's one of the best uses for most of the Tandy kits!  They mostly pretty decent designs really. Trace out the pieces on cardboard or such, marking out a line where the stitch holes are rather than individual holes.  Go ahead and assemble the kit, learning just how to put things together - what order and such.  When you're ready to make another, pull out the cardboard patterns, cut your pieces, and mark the stitch lines lightly with dividers and then make proper stitch holes with stitching chisels or pricking irons and an awl.  Now you've got a nicely designed bag that's put together with much nicer stitching than you'd get with those big holes in the initial kit!

- Bill

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Shelia, nice work!

I just finished the same 'kit' from Tandy and I must say, even a 'Rocket Scientist' would have a hard time due to poor writing and poor picture quality! Not to mention having to hold like 4 to 5 pieces of leather all together at the bottom of the bag and attempt to hand sew them nicely together!

I can make that bag from scratch and have it put together much faster and cheaper than their kit.

I gave the finished product to my Son and he and everyone else loves it.

The 'Smell' of the leather though is almost sickening! Weird:(

Sam:)

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Oh yeah, sewing the bottom of the bag was Not Fun! Then I found out I'd lined the pockets instead of the inside of the bag, and I wanted to tear my hair out! Solved the problem by gluing the lining overtop of that seam. It's at the bottom of the bag...no one will ever notice if the liner doesn't stick very well!

When reading the instructions for sewing the gussets in place, they wanted me to measure out 18 FEET of thread! I just laughed, and sewed each side of the gusset with a separate piece of thread. I mean, REALLY? Do the people who write these instructions actually try to FOLLOW them? :crazy:  Imagine trying to keep 18 ft. of thread from tying itself in knots, or wrapping itself around everything as you try to sew! :rolleyes2:  

 

Edited by Sheilajeanne

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CD, did you put any sort of a clasp on the bag?

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On 7/11/2018 at 8:49 AM, Sheilajeanne said:

 

It's amazing just how well alcohol does at cleaning up dye. This is probably who Fiebings has switched almost completely to alcohol base dyes as opposed to oil dyes. (Also there's the VOC factor - the oil based dyes are much less environmentally friendly.) You would never know I spilled anything on the floor, and even my work table and cutting mat, which got the worst of it. have only very faint stains!

Actually Feibings  Pro Oil Dyes and Feibings Pro Dyes are identical and are both alcohol based dyes. No idea why they were called Oil Dyes unless many years ago they were a different formulation. Just like the Tandy Gum Tragacanth contains no gum tragacanth and is 100% Xanthan gum. 

Celtic work looks great and don't give up on the HeatnBond. First tack to the thinner material then remove the paper and heavily iron on to the heavier. DON'T forget to remove the paper! Been there, done that! 

I have made many of the same mistakes, spilled a bottle of USMC dye down the white wall behind my bench, got glue all over everything when the glue was knocked over, and on and on.

Most important thing is to have fun!

Bob

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