Black Leather Scripture Bag |
Sewing / Quilting Tips & Tricks

Teaching Myself to Sew with Leather

While this post did not lead to a sell-able product, I have felt so much satisfaction at learning a new skill. Learning to sew with leather is a bucket list item. This is the first step.

Let me back up just a bit… At the end of the summer, my incredible husband bought me a an industrial sewing machine. I love to sew bags. Like, I really love sewing bags. To end up with a 3D shape that is really durable and lasting and you carry stuff in fills up my little joy bucket. That was reason number one for investing in industrial. I also have a million different ideas of little ongoing projects I could accomplish better, faster, stronger on industrial, too. And somewhere in between all of that, I have always wanted to work with leather. It’s a fascinating material. There is leather thick enough that you pierce holes in it and saddle stitch sinew to create 3D shapes. And leather thin enough to sew with an industrial machine follows the same principle; you are perforating it and shouldn’t back-stitch.

For my first project, I wanted something that didn’t take a huge amount of leather in case I messed it up. The price tag of leather is pretty high, but so is the durability. As it turns out, I didn’t need to worry so much. Being a devout Christian member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that goes to church every week, the leather scripture case I got in high school has seen better days and it seemed like a small, but not too small, project that would be a good start.

Brown Scripture Bag |

Being a pattern designer, I looked high and low for someone who had written a pattern that I could use instead of re-inventing the wheel. I found a LOT of variety out there! One of my favorites, of course, being the one my sister designed out of a place mat that makes a simple, quick bag for a nice gift. But I didn’t see one anywhere like the one I had been using; a close-fitting, zippered bag with handles. And I knew I wanted to add a cross-body strap to it since I’m a minimalist and that’s all I wanted to carry to church.

I started to get discouraged in my search and I wasn’t feeling very confident in drafting a pattern myself that was for leather. I was surfing Etsy yet again and I came across the most fantastic shop. Leae and Mardell at Marble Hill design the greatest looking bags ever. They use good, heavy leather and if I lived closer to them, I would ask for classes or something. Very impressive. They were so kind to sell me a pattern for the bag I found on their site that was just what I wanted. I was tickled pink to get a hand-drawn pattern with straight forward instructions that I had no trouble following. I can’t describe my joy. The only change I made was to include more lining as I wanted to use a cherished arrow fabric I had been saving. More on that in a minute. Please go check out their shop! They’re amazing.

Being the sentimental sap that I am, I wanted a meaningful saying stitched onto my meaningful fabric inside my new scripture case. I love the adage about arrows that says something like this:

An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. So, just focus and keep aiming.

Black Leather Scripture Bag |

I love, love, love the meaning there. How many times in life do the hard things prepare us for the awesome things? Always. And I love the idea of all of the hard work that goes into archery, but nothing happens until you let it go. My Mom suggested the saying that I picked. Pull back as hard as you can, do all of the hard work that you can and then… let it go. Let it make a difference in the world. Let it pull you onto the next great adventure. Don’t stop things from happening by holding onto them for too long.

Black Leather Scripture Bag |

So, there you have it. My sentimental, experimental scripture bag that I just love. I ran a couple of cameras as I was sewing to make a fun little montage time lapse. I hope you enjoy it!

One Comment

  • Darla Lee

    I’m so happy for you to get a new machine, AND to have the courage to go with it. Wear it out making things for your Family and Friends!

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