Denver, Colorado … Mile High Country
I know many of you have been asking if and when will the Weekend Designer be doing a master class on how to design handbags. I’ve been listening.
This past week I have been taping an exciting new online class series called MAKING LEATHER BAGS on Craftsy.com
Denver-based Craftsy had invited me to come to Mile High Country to tape a show for them on their Craftsy platform.
Now if any of you know about trade shows and designers, when I travel to demonstrate my product line I can tell you that you are pretty much on your own, from the time your flight is wheels-down on the tarmac until the time that the show has finally ended at the convention centre.
The good people at Craftsy showered me with the “star-treatment”. Arriving on Sunday in Denver, my producers sent a limo car service to pick me up and David, my driver, chauffeured me to the luxurious Magnolia Hotel where I stayed in a beautifully appointed suite.
I was picked up early Monday morning and whisked off to the Craftsy production studios to meet up with the beautiful Danica Jardien for make-up and wardrobe. Next, I was off to Studio A to meet my producer, Joe Baran and my camera man, Rob Whitfield. Joe’s team were so welcoming and excited to be working with me and throughout the next three days catered to my every wish and need. Joe runs a very professional crew and I didn’t have to worry about anything except delivering my design lessons. After introductions, Rob took personal stills of me for the marketing and promotion departments, and also shot all the studio step-outs of the construction process throughout the shoot. Adam Speas, the switcher on my set took care of all the show’s editing for my shoot.
For the next 3 days, we worked long hours on “Making Leather Bags”. I showed how to work with leather, how to plan and construct my bag design, and how to customize it to make it your own. This is not traditional leather-crafting but mass-production methods. I showed how to create one-of-a-kind bag designs using leather and shared some tricks of the trade right from the factory floor.
Samples of top-grain leather hides courtesy of my good friends at Kyson Leathers were a big hit amongst the crew and word spread swiftly throughout the Craftsy compound. Soon people were popping by from other studios to get a peek of the fabulous textured and dyed hides in many fashionable colours and finishes that included metallic, foil, pearlized, patent, printed, perforated, textured, embossed, glossed, matte and hand-rubbed leathers.
The project itself is an all-leather “longchamp-style” handbag with a zipper closure recessed on a narrow contrasting binding. The design is made in two-tone with classic black lambskin and a tawny “caramel” dyed goatskin leather. The handbag features an exterior pouch pocket on the centerfront. Leather thickness was an important consideration as I was demonstrating how to construct my bag design using a domestic home sewing machine. The black lamb leather is thinner and softer than the caramel coloured one so when I put on the strip on the bottom for colour I applied it over the thicker leather so it would not sag. The thickness also was a advantage to make up leather rouleau, a simple technique for instant bag handles.
The bottom of this leather handbag has another piece of leather glued to the inside as a stiffener so the handbag is double thick leather from below the pocket. The caramel-coloured front and back sections are made from 3 pieces of cut leather. This allows better cutting on the hide, the seams added interest and it allows adding the pocket, with the pocket sides into a seam rather than just sewing a patch pocket on the outside. The construction seaming allows me to achieve the bag size I desire while using smaller leather hides. The interior of the bag is fitted with a high thread count percale “drop-in” lining which features security and divided storage compartments.
Joe and his crew were great at guiding me though my paces and could not believe how I started out with nothing but rectangular shaped pieces of leather and ended up with a beautiful custom leather totebag.
So I invite you to stay tuned for my show launch on Craftsy.com and I will be posting a link so that you can subscribe to Making Leather Bags with Don Morin.