Wednesday, October 28, 2009

No such thing as a quick fix

Today is Repairs Day. One large leather bag that a friend brought back for a fix where the grommet had actually pulled itself and the lining through the outer layer of suede, and one quilt where some of the more fragile leathers had to be replaced.
The leather bag fix was relatively simple - I created two patches with a different style of grommet (I had been using tarp grommets, and am now trying actual crafters grommets which are pricier but probably for good reason), and stitched them OVER the existing grommets, so now the strap runs through 2 grommets, 2 layers of leather, and denim lining on each side. That should be enough of a reinforcement that I won't have the same problem again.

LESSON LEARNED: Extra reinforcement is always a good idea for larger bags, particularly when a thinner leather or suede is being used as the primary material.

The quilt wasn't quite as quick or straightforward. Because the patches are handstitched using a blanket stitch, removing the stitches takes almost as much time as putting in new ones. I was really disappointed by the fur that I had to replace - the leather seemed strong enough initially but after a little wear and tear (literally), it was obvious that all of the patches of that fur would have be replaced. Small tears can sometimes be repaired with just a few stitches, but with much older furs a small tear usually becomes a large tear, and that's when I have to start over.

LESSON LEARNED: Be a little rough with the fur up front to see if it's going to stand up to a lifetime of being tossed around, sat on, and pulled. I do caution buyers to be fairly gentle - there are limits to what the materials can handle.

In the end I'm happy with how the quilt is with its new patches, and it's ready to go in my next show. I'm participating in a Christmas show at a private home in Westdale in a couple of weeks. I've made friends with an amazing jeweler who I think is going to be a great contact for me, she's doing the show along with a potter, a silk painter, quilter, watercolour artist, and a few others I haven't met. It's only a few hours on a Sunday afternoon, it'll get my name out there in a community which I don't normally get into (rich people, basically), and maybe I'll make a few sales or pick up some custom orders.

So now I'm taking a break from sewing to curl up with a book and a snack. My plan for later is to patch together what I think of as my Carryall Bag - soft and slouchy, big but not too big, lots of pockets on the outside, some with snaps, some without, one big pocket inside and a cell phone pocket, and most importantly, a shoulder strap that goes across the body - big bags should never hang from the shoulder, it puts too much stress on the back! I've been carrying mine for almost a year and although sometimes I switch to another bag for a day, I always go back to this one.

Happy crafting!

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