HAND-CRAFTED LEATHER GOODS
This is a fairly basic design for a handbag, the pattern for which was based on customer requests, and my interpretation of them. The leather is vegetable-tanned tooling hide and is cut from a side 2·5 - 3 mm in thickness. All dyeing, hole-punching, carving and stamping was carried out after cutting-out and before any assembly. Which pieces are decorated, and how, is down to the individual craftsman, unless being made for someone who has stated the detail to be applied and to which parts, and if colour other than highlighter is to be used on the carving and so on. Following the drawings (as regards the shapes and the dimensions) I've made of the few pieces required, excluding only the two 36" lengths of roughly ¹/4"square thongs for lacing the back and front to the gusset, you should have no problems following the assembly instructions that I've given. So first make your pattern.
Using the pattern you've made from stiff card, scribe out if using the grain side, or pencil round it if the flesh side, all the pieces, including indicating where the holes for lacing will be punched out, then cut out with your clicker knife keeping the edges vertical. If edges are to be creased (that is a groove made) round the flap, shoulder-strap, and/or gusset ends, do this now. Then using the edging tool remove edges where finished edges will be visible i.e. flap and shoulder-strap as the minimum, but preferably all, and finish as you would for a belt edge. Next, if there is to be any, do all carving and stamping, avoiding unnecessary stretching of the leather.
You can now dye all pieces, grain side, the colour of your choice, with the flesh side, using a weaker mixture, being optional. When thoroughly dry punch all the holes and the fastening slot. My own preference then, at this stage, is to wax and polish all the pieces. Attach the buckle, preferably solid brass, to the end of the shorter shoulder-strap (with a keeper being optional). The pieces are now ready for assembly.
Take the piece marked "loop fastening for flap", skiving the ends if necessary, and join into a loop by overlapping the ends, fastening by use of a small rivet. Next, using the piece "flap through loop fastening" place it grain side down on the bag "front" with the pointed end at the top and matching its three holes with the corresponding three holes in the front. Put a rivet through the centre holes of both pieces from behind, put the cap on and using the appropriate rivet setter, hammer together. Slip the loop over the bottom end of the flap, bending up the flap so the join of the loop is on the inside and the two holes at the bottom end correspond with the two remaining holes in the centre. Rivet through from back of bag front, and cap at front.
Place "D"-rings on ends of gusset and rivet over gusset ends. Put shoulder-strap ends through the "D"-rings attached to the gusset and rivet together, making sure the caps are on the outside of the straps, that is, are on the same side as the outside of the gusset.
The bag is now ready for lacing together, starting with the gusset and "back" piece first, which I feel is the easier way of doing this. Take one of your 36" lengths of lace and tie a tight knot in one end then lightly wax the length with beeswax. Push it through the top hole in the "back" piece from the inside, so that the knot ends up inside, then through the top hole on the inside of the gusset. Pull both pieces together. Thread it through the next hole of the gusset and back through the "back" piece, carrying on in this manner, over and under, pulling the lace as tightly as you can until the other end is reached. I cannot emphasise enough that you must really pull the lace as tightly as possible. When you get to the other end tie another knot as firmly and as close to the last hole as you can. Repeat in the same manner to attach the front. Wax polish all over and the bag is finished.
Hand Bag Pivot Closures:- 5-part set made of solid brass. To attach you can use Double Hollow Rivets in brass with a 6,8 mm head. The Pivot Pin is hammered on the backside, spreading the base . It secures the Pivot Pin firmly in the previously mounted frame plates sandwiching the leather in between.
Magnetic Closure, Magnetic Snap:- Made from iron with a constant magnet. To attach, the prongs are flattened with pliers. It is advisable to use an additional layer of leather to cover the mounting plate on the underside