THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

June 6, 2008

Crazy for Bobby Breslau

Filed under: Accessories,Bag,Els,Gigi,Leather sewing,Patterns — Gigi @ 1:58 pm

Some of our friends and dear readers have asked us for tracings of the gorgeous Bobby Breslau handbag pattern that Els made in November 2006 CLICK HERE FOR LINK. While we completely understand the need to have this pattern (we have the fever just like you!) please remember that we cannot, under any circumstances, violate Vogue’s copyright by tracing off copies.


However, you will be excited to know that we are working on a just-as-fabulous bag pattern whose shape is based on a baseball (and you know how much I love baseball!). We hope to have the pattern available as a download within the next month or two. We are very excited as this will be the first Sewing Divas pattern!

April 17, 2008

The Elusive Birkin? Not So Much.

Filed under: Accessories,Bag,Designer Inspirations,Fashion,Musings — phyllisc @ 7:16 am

Today’s Boston Globe has a very amusing story about the Birkin, a handbag whose legendary exclusiveness is firmly quashed in the story.

Posh Birkin

And if you like Posh’s Roland Mouret dress Burda WOF did a pretty good knock-off

Erica’s version is really hot!

February 21, 2008

Leather shoulder bag.

Filed under: Accessories,Bag,Closures,Els,Leather sewing,sewing — Els @ 10:56 am

For this shoulder bag I used 2  brick-red leather hides, both were about 7 ½ foot large. This bag is a rectangle shape, zippered pocket on the front partly hidden under the flap and one zippered pocket at the backside for easy access.

Plus an inside pocket at the backside of the lining bag and a key lash stitched at the side seam of the lining bag.
I drafted a rectangle shape on paper with a fold over flap and measured my leather to see if I had enough leather, copied the rectangle paper pattern and add the several pieces for the pockets front and back and added a small piece to attach the shoulder straps, added seam allowances (3/8 inch (1 cm)  for the side seams and 5/8 inch (1,5 cm)  for all the other seams).
After  cutting out the pattern parts from the interfacing I taped the paper pattern still with the interfacing pinned ontoo the leather with some medical paper tape.

 The small pictures are all ThumbNail , just click and you see a larger image.


I made a long shoulder strap so I could wear this bag also crossed over. The strap is sewn with 3 pieces to get that extra long length.

The size of this bag is 17 inch (43 cm) wide, 12 inch (30 cm) high.
The total height is 17.7 inch (45 cm). Bottom depth is 2.4 inch (6 cm).
Shoulder strap is 59 inch (150 cm) long and 1 ¼ inch (3 cm) wide, so I also can choose to wear it crossed over. Outside pockets are 13 inch (33 cm) long and 6 1/8 inch (16 cm) deep.

I started with fusing leather interfacing to all the parts except the shoulder straps.

This non-woven interfacing is special made for leather because it can be fused with a low heat iron.
The bottom part and the part where the shoulder straps are sewn between are fused with a heavy hair canvas interfacing for some added strength.


All the seams are stitched and glued and flattened down before any stitching from the right side.

The zippers are sewn at the pocket openings, between the already closed seams.

stitched-zipper-tape-not-yet-glued-a.jpg double-sided-adhesive-tape-a.jpg adhesive-tape.jpg pocket-lining-glued-a.jpg  inside-bagopening-after-stitching-a.jpg

I marked the seam allowance wide with a pencil (by folding the allowance back to the inside with the zipper teeth just inside the fold line) and glued the fold line of the zipper/pocket opening. The marked pencil is a guidance line only.
Then I used craft double-sided adhesive tape cut in half (because I only needed a narrow piece) to attach the pocket lining over the zipper-tape. Raw sides of the pocket lining and seam allowance match.

From the right side I sewed the zipper and the lining pocket (sandwiched stitched)


pocket-lining-stitched-a.jpg pocket-zipper-a.jpg

Now the other side of the pocket lining and zipper are stitched. The next step is sewing the pocket lining pieces together to form a pocket.

The lining for the bag is interfaced with a woven interfacing for adding some strength.

The leather is sewn with my new purchased “used” Singer 20U machine, Güterman strong polyester thread size 100 and sewing machine needle size 14/90.

singer-20u-a.jpg  needles.jpg

I used several sewing machine feet for sewing this bag.

The Teflon and roller feet are great for sewing leather. I also used the Right Hinged Narrow Cording foot and glued some Teflon tape under the foot for top-stitching the shoulder strap at the center.
The Right Compensating Top-stitch Foot was great to edge stitch the shoulder strap.
Lining leather for reinforcing the magnetic snaps and to cover them so the metal parts will not weaken the lining.

magnetic-closures-inside-a.jpg magnetic-closure-lining-leather-reinforcement-a.jpg covered-magnetic-closure-1-a.jpg

The inside lining pocket 7 x 7 inch (18 x 18 cm)  is from a double layer of lining with the opening at the fold line which I glued down with a strip of double side fusible hem tape. The pocket is stitched around right sides together but I left a small part open at the bottom to turn the pocket inside out. Pressed and edge stitched at the lining bag.

There was some leather left but it was damaged, but I could use this part and cut around the damaged spot and add some color to the inside pocket. I made a template 3/8 inch (1 cm) wide and 3/8 inch ( 1 cm) wider than the length and wide of the pocket so the edges of the pocket is covered by nearly 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) and stitched the leather around the pocket edges.
I used a Pritt glue stick for temporarily securing the leather around the pocket edges and used the zipper foot to stitch it close to the edges.



For the bag opening I used a different zipper a non-separate one which can be used for garment sewing like in a a dress. This zipper has a smaller and narrower zipper coil, which does not add weight and is more flexible for the purpose of this bag.

The zippers I used for the pockets are separate ones which are sturdier.

front-pocket-a.jpg    shoulder-straps-top-stitched-a.jpg back-height.jpg

The only hand sewing I did was finishing the last inch ( 2,5 cm) from the pocket lining seams towards the top side,


 prick stitched the lining bag at the zipper tape at the bag opening so it will stay put,

secured the lining side seams about halfway down with a couple of stitches towards the leather side seams and sewed a few stitches at the bottom of the bag to attach the leather and lining bottom together.

I closed the opening in the lining bag side seam, (which was needed to turn the bag inside out) with a ladder stitch.

Since the inside of the shoulder strap was not as nice butted together as it should be, although I tried to do it right by marking a line at the center where the edges would meet eachother.


I noticed that after stitching  a hairline away from the center edges with the zipper foot and topstitch from the right side along the outer edges there was a small gap which showed the natural leather color.

 I bought some leather colored polish to fill in the gap. I was lucky that the color brick red is the same as the bag. Used a narrow tiny brush to “paint” the gap between the folded and stitched edges to cover the natural brown suede leather which on some spots was visible.


Also a bag stop was glued at the center of the inside shoulder strap. This bag stop prevents the strap from gliding of my shoulder.




 This last thumbnail picture reflects the true color of my new bag the best.    




 A high quality fusible interfacing also for using on leather is

 Pro_Tricot fusible interfacing from

January 13, 2008

Leather bag.

Filed under: Accessories,Bag,Closures,Els,Leather sewing,sewing — Els @ 12:14 pm


My store bought black leather bag was worn out so I made a copy because I still liked the design and the size. This was one of my first leather bags I made.

Sewing is done with a commercial sewing machine and regular sewing machine needles.

 The size of this bag is wide 13,5 inch ( 34,5 cm) height 12,5 inch ( 32 cm) bottom depth is 4 inch ( 10 cm) and the shoulder-strap is 45 inch long ( 112 cm)

I used a printed sturdy leather , several interfacings , lining leather to reinforce the bottom, leather glue , leather tape to reinforce the zipper opening, medical paper tape to secure the patterns on the leather while I did cut the leather with a Kai cutter. A hammer for flatten the seams.

Hansel leather interfacing which can be fused on a low temperature.

Front side zippered pocket.

The inside pockets, one welt pocket with a snap, one zippered pocket, pen holder, cell phone holder and key ring holder.

The dark green lining is interfaced to give it some more durability, because this lining is not a sturdy bag lining.

The bag closure is done by 2 bag snaps and a piece of Velcro which acts as a pickpockets alarm.

Back view

Bottom view.

 Added a bag stop at the inside center part of the shoulder bag so the strap stays on my shoulder .

April 17, 2007

Leather drawstring bag

Filed under: Bag,Els,Leather sewing,Pattern Reviews — Els @ 8:38 pm

Vogue pattern 7703  view D was used to make this drawstring bag in butter soft blue leather.

I used 2 pieces of soft leather, one hide was 5 foot and the other was 7 foot .

Three different fusible interfacings to add some strength and add some body to the bag because the leather was too soft to become a bag on its own.

On top the extra heavy woven, middle the non woven, at the bottom Hansel. These interfacings are special made to use with leather, because you can fuse the interfacing with the iron on a warm setting.

The non-woven interfacing was fused on all the pattern parts except the drawstring as an underlay for the woven leather interfacing Hansel which is a bit rough and I did not want to change the hand of the leather.

The extra heavy interfacing is added to the bottom part on top of the previous two interfacings, the leather facing parts and the shoulder strap.

The above interfacings are from Europe but you can also use Pro_Tricot fusible interfacing from

Dupioni silk fabric was used for the lining, front pocket lining and the interior pocket.

I made some pattern and design changes. The backside of the bag is sewn with a center seam because I had not enough leather to cut that pattern without a seam. It was an easy alteration, just double half of the center backside pattern and add seam allowances. I topstitched the s.a. on both sides of the center back seam.

The front pocket was too wide to my taste so I stitched a line at the center of the pocket, now there are 2 separate pockets.

The pattern instructions suggest to use cardboard for the bottom part. I was not satisfied with the result it was too stiff so I used a remnant piece of upholstery leather which I glued to the bottom part.

Also skipped one of the shoulder straps because I find it annoying that wearing a shoulder bag which has 2 long shoulder straps , one of the shoulder straps is always falling down .

I used only one shoulder strap (the length of the pattern strap is  21,5 inch /55 cm while I used a 38,5 inch/ 98 cm length) which I sewed diagonal at the front and at the back side of the bag.

The instructions for sewing the lining bag was different than what I did. I sewed the side seams of the lining but left one piece open for turning after I attached the lining at the leather facing and sewed the bottom part. The last step for sewing the lining part was to sew the left open part by hand.

I noticed too late that the placement of the interior pocket was too high placed, so if you want to make this bag be aware of this. It will be more convenient if the posket is placed lower on the pattern an adding a snap would be handy too.

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