Friday, January 27, 2012

wannabe Birkin bag

About a year and a half ago, I bought half a cow's worth of blue leather at the Tandy Leather Factory in Portland.  I was inspired by this tutorial for a leather diaper clutch at Melissa Esplin's blog, I Still Love You.  I made four different diaper clutches for various baby shower gifts following Melissa's directions, but I only managed to take photos of the first one.  (Hopefully any additional children that we have do not suffer the same fate.) 

I love the simplicity of her design and the feminine scallops

When you purchase leather they do not sell it using the typical fabric dimensions because, well, it doesn't grow in yards.  Instead (in my limited experience) they sell it by the side, and it is priced based on the size (in square feet), the quality (no holes, the dye job, etc.) and the type of leather.  The leather type is determined by the tanning process but bottom line, some is thick and supple, some is thin and hard, some is shiny, some is knobbly; there is quite a variety.

If you love to look at fabric, I highly recommend stopping by a leather store sometime.  I could have spent several hours there enjoying the variety of textures and colors, and the clean smell of leather.  I wandered about touching everything for awhile, but I finally settled on the bin of leather priced at $2 a yard.  The piece I purchased was 21 square feet, $42 total; I lucked out in finding a color that I loved for such a good price.

I made four of the little scalloped diaper clutches, and then I was ready to try something else.  It only took me a year to muster up the courage to cut the leather and make something of my own design.

Guess what I made?  A bag!  I love purses and bags of all kinds, so this was not the most surprising development.  I was inspired by the design of the Birkin bags, not because of the status symbol or the desire to be glamorous, but because of the simplicity of the style.  It is a pretty straightforward design.  And by that I mean square. With no zippers. And no pockets. 

Those Hermes guys have nothing to worry about though.  It took me a year to cut the leather and make a rustic version of their bag.  I am not exactly leaping into production mode.

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