From the heights to the depths

I now had my leather. I also had all of my tools:

  • rotary cutter and cutting mat
  • double stick tape (can’t use pins on leather!) and binder clips
  • skiving tool for thinning the seam areas
  • metal ruler
  • leather sewing machine needles
  • brayer
  • and of course, my sewing machine!

I was one prepared chick! What else could I need? I felt like the baby bird ready to fly. Of course, that first step out of the nest is a long way down.

Even though I had worked out my pattern, I decided to make sure I had my sewing machine set up and calibrated before I got too far. I cut some small pieces from the irregular edges of the hide. I installed the leather needle and the polyester thread. You shouldn’t use natural fiber thread when sewing leather. I learned that in my class. The tannins in the leather will actually cause natural thread (and even lining materials) to rot. Everything was ready. Time to sew!

or not…

I have a brand new sewing machine. I bought it this past fall. I LOVE my sewing machine. My sewing machine, however, does not love leather. In fact, my new, wonderful, expensive sewing machine went into open revolt. Even with the needles especially made for leather, alarms were sounding, lights were flashing… no, I am not exaggerating.

I reviewed the class session on setting up your machine. I rechecked everything: tension, needle, thread, was everything right? Yes. and No. Sewing one small seam made me wonder if I was putting my machine in jeopardy. No. No. No!!! My stomach sank. What was wrong? I had to try again. This was not the answer I was ready accept. Maybe I could slow down some more. Maybe I need to … I don’t know… pray? Please?? Absolute disaster.

The nearest I could tell, the problem was the leather I had chosen. The beautiful, shiny, embossed leather. *sigh* Really? My eyes had betrayed me. How many times in life have I gotten in trouble because what was pleasing to my eyes wasn’t the best thing for me? OH! I could fill a blog. Now I was bitten again. The embossed leather is pretty dense – compressed my the embossing process. It is also very stiff – much stiffer than the soft, supple, buttery kid leather. This was not what I was expecting. I sat at the table near tears. OK, I’m lying. There were tears. What have I done? Spent a bunch of money on tools and leather. Now I’m about to break my sewing machine. I can’t do that. Even if I have to write off the leather, I can’t kill my machine.

I’m upset. I’m sad. I feel utterly defeated. I feel embarrassed. How could I have thought I could do this? What a joke. Turn out the lights. Go to bed.

Morning brings many new things. Every day brings a chance for a new beginning, a new perspective, a new idea, and even some new energy and determination. Most of my best problem solving happens in my dreams. My sleeping brain has debugged computer programs and figured out  many complex puzzles that have eluded my conscious mind. The next morning brought me a gift. I had a flash of inspiration that, while it might not work, might give me some hope.

That’s a story for another day. But here is a clue to what came next…

Exterior shell

Exterior shell

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Posted in Alligator Embossed Leather Bag
One comment on “From the heights to the depths
  1. Elaine Hunt says:

    Love the story!!

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I'm on a journey to learn new skills and discover new things about myself. I want to try things that push me beyond my comfort zone - things that I have to struggle to master.

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