I’m supposed to be making myself a slipcover in felt-lined leather for my laptop. But I’ve bottled out for now. I need to zigzag stitch the butt joints (like in the photo) and then stick on the felt lining before I sew it all together. You only get one chance to stitch leather on the sewing machine and I really don’t want to ruin the lovely white and bottle green hides, so I’ve been putting it off since January. What I need is a smaller felt-lined leather project to get my confidence back.
With that in mind, I’m planning to make a little leather dish to hold earrings and other small items of jewellery. My father used to have one into which he placed his cufflinks and the coins from his pocket when he got home from work. It was made from a single piece of leather with multiple short seams, something like the classic Provençale cloth breadbasket design, resulting in a low, almost circular tray. I can’t remember how many sides it had or quite how large it was, but I’ve been experimenting with paper.
The first version was the larger bowl in the photo – far too big, and butt seams ain’t going to work. I can stick paper edge-to-edge with tape, but how would I ever sew the seams in the leather version? It’s amazing how something seems so obviously wrong when you make a model, even when you’ve thought about it a great deal first. I’m just glad I didn’t cut into any leather (or even felt) at that stage.
I’ll be using the black leather and red felt in the pic, sewing the seams with the red embroidery thread, or possibly machining them with ordinary sewing thread. Or I could perhaps just punch a few holes and tie one or two bold knots to hold each seam together. We’ll see.
The second try was the smaller paper dish with its seams stapled together. That’s more the size I was aiming for – about 3.5” diameter – but it’s too tall. I’m drawing out a pattern for a shorter one.
I’ve bought a can of spray adhesive from a pound shop, which should work for attaching the leather to the felt for my laptop case. But I think I’ll just use PVA for this dish, because it will give a bit of extra stiffness. The black leather is quite stiff, but the red polyester felt is rather floppy. I’m not going to spend money on pure wool felt for this project, in case it’s a disaster. But if it works, then I may make a few more as Christmas presents, using better materials. The leather has a lot of surface blemishes – I bought it very cheaply – but as long as I make sure they are on the underside of the dish no one is going to see them.