Friday, November 8, 2013

Chicopee Luxe Tote

Although I didn't attend Sewing Summit this year due to some schedule conflicts, I was able to attend the SLMQG mixer on Saturday evening. While there, I was able to meet Lindsey from LRstitched and see her cute Luxe Tote from the class she taught during the conference. Lindsey often sews bags and pouches with leather accents. I've never sewn with leather, and all of the sudden I decided I needed to. I ordered Lindsey's Luxe Tote leather kit and bought her pattern not long after being able to chat with her. Lindsey's pattern is great with step-by-step directions on creating this bag. Her kit is all pre-cut, making the leather accents easy to add.

I fully admit to having many challenges with this bag. Being new to leather, my machine and I had some fights. It did not like the leather. There was a lot of trial and error. Luckily, I had a test scrap of leather to practice on. Twice, my thread broke while sewing, and I actually unpicked the row of stitching to start over. Then I hand-cranked my machine to make sure I hit the previously stitched holes as to not punch new ones.

I thought I had a "great" idea by adding a pocket to the front, the size of the linen panel. Unfortunately, I measured wrong so my seams don't perfectly line up. Also, when I went to actually sew the front and back of the bag together it was way too thick. I had sewn my pieced top section to duck canvas for stability. Between the canvas, the fabric, some interfacing, the pocket and the two layers of leather, my machine absolutely refused to stitch. I started removing everything possible, cutting away the canvas, pulling off interfacing and cutting the linen away from the leather. I was going to save this bag! Finally in the end I was able to get my machine to sort of sew the seams along the leather. I still had multiple skipped stitches. I then lined the seam with liquid stitch to make sure it held, clipped it with wonder clips while it dried, and called it good.

  • Lesson #1--Follow directions, especially the first time around! I shouldn't have added the extra pocket or used the canvas. I also should have been more careful so that the interfacing didn't cover my seam allowance. Lesson learned!

As frustrating as this process was, I'm so glad I tried! Lindsey's pattern is great with many tips for working with leather. I love the bag. It's a perfect, classy tote when I just need a few things. Plus it looks great with my new quilt! I won't be carrying bowling balls in here, but it is sturdy enough for the things I will be carrying.

My machine and I need a break from leather for a couple weeks, but I'm going to try again! I also bought a 8" x 12" piece of gray leather when I placed my original order. I think I need to try a pouch next.


  1. I can imagine your frustrations, but the leather sure does give it a professional, polished look!

  2. Way to persevere! :-D It looks great.

  3. Love it! I would never know you had troubles but it's nice to know I'm not the only one who doesn't follow directions :)

  4. It looks fab despite the frustrations!

  5. This is really beautiful - love the leather accents!