I love carving and tooling western floral designs into my leatherwork, but have always struggled with the mechanics of creating my own designs. Thankfully there are some good teachers and resources available that can help us get started in coming up with our own creative designs. So in this video blog edition I'd like to introduce you to several commonly used methods for tracing designs onto leatherwork and Bob Park's book called, "Creating Western Floral Designs" Bob's book is a must have for anyone who desires to learn how to create their own floral designs. Please feel free to comment or leave me your questions below. Enjoy!
Depending on who you talk to this bag has a variety of names, from a hippie pouch, biker pouch, waist bag, or my favorite, “The Medicine Bag.” Bags such as these are a popular accessory with bikers and serves as a stylish and useful place to store a wallet and cellphone for comfort and safe keeping while on the road. I’ve worked on a variety of leather accessories over the past few years, but this has quickly become one of my favorite pieces, which is why I've decided to make Fischer Workshops latest video tutorial on the medicine bag.
I shot about 30 hours of footage to make this video and after editing tried to keep the video as short as possible without robbing the viewer of any details in making the bag. Although this bag is a more challenging piece to make, it is far worth its weight in gold and makes a brilliant handcrafted item. So for those who are looking to make something more exotic and ornate, I hope this project will meet that demand.
Thanks and enjoy!
Product Specifications -
The Medicine Bag Tutorial
I’ve worked on a variety of leather accessories over the past few years, but this has quickly become one of my favorite builds. Depending on who you talk to this bag has a variety of names, from a hippie pouch, biker pouch, waist bag, or my favorite, “the medicine bag.” Bags such as these are a popular accessory with bikers and serves as a stylish and useful place to store a wallet and cellphone for comfort and safe keeping while on the road.
There is a considerable amount of work involved in building a bag like this, but on the positive it doesn’t require the purchase of a lot of tools to construct, making it an ideal project for someone looking for a creative challenge. Handmade bags of this quality can usually be purchased for $200USD and up and are well worth their weight in gold, but often outside of most budgets. But If something like this is out of your price range, then I might suggest you try your hand and making it yourself! There are a variety of tutorials available online for free, including some of my own!
Anyways, I hope you like the bag and if you are interested in working with leather, but don’t want to break the bank buying tons of expensive tools and equipment, then I would highly recommend something along these lines. Let me know what you think! Thanks!
The centerpiece is made of vegetable tanned leather that was dampened and stamped with a texturing tool then dyed black and finished. A variety of leathers can be used for the centerpiece, although this is my favorite so far! The most exotic leather I've used so far is alligator skin, as illustrated below. Which do you like more?
The back closes securely with a leather strap that loops around the decorated concho at the centerpiece. I made this entire piece from different thicknesses of vegetable tanned leather. I prefer using vegetable tanned leather so I can tool and color as I wish. You can also buy pre-stained leather, but tooling and staining will not be optional.
For the sides of the bag I dampened and folded the leather so that the pouch can expand or shrink depending on it's load. I added the tassles for added aesthetics.
When I 1st got involved with leather working there seemed to be a sufficient amount of resources available online to get started in the craft. But as time passed and I began to look for more professional instruction I often came up short. I overcame this problem by making friends with other professionals in the industry and leaning on their expertise. This has saved me valuable time and money, while greatly adding to my knowledge and skill in leather working. When getting started in leather working it's easy to just buy what the stores offer and quickly rack up expenses, which is why I appreciate any leather worker who is willing to share their knowledge with me. I hope I can also be as generous with my knowledge and experience as others have been with me.
So each month I will be releasing new instructional tutorials and product reviews. Where you should spend money and where you shouldn't when starting out. Discovering your leather working niche, and much much more. To subscribe to my youtube channel or view my growing video tutorial library please click on the following link:
Below is a sample of my latest video of a customizable coffee cup sleeve:
Hi Everyone, Here is my 1st video tutorial on a leather billfold. I'd love to know what you think and if there is anything you think I could do to make it better. Also, if you like the wallet and would like to make one yourself, I've included a pattern download link in the video. Enjoy and thanks!
What exactly does handmade mean? Working on a new product involves many, many steps. First you have to come up with a design. Then go through a long process of making the pattern and tracing mattes in preparation to begin cutting the leather. Then artistic patterns are hand drawn and later transferred onto the leather cover of the bag. After this the leather then must be carved, tooled, and painted where necessary. Each piece is then carefully stitched together by hand using an ancient technique called, "saddle stitching." That's right! Saddle stitching is the strongest stitch in the world as the thread is waxed and thicker that normal threads. Each stitch is individually locked, which means that even it somehow a stitch were to come loose it wouldn't unravel like it usually does on a shirt or jacket. Also, depending on the products color and style I prefer to hand dye my leather for a more beautiful and authentic look. From start to finish no machines are used to aid in the creation of what I've made.
So how much time does it take to go from the idea to the finished product? Honestly, it seems like forever, but it also depends on the difficulty of whatever it is I'm making. The sample I'm using for this blog entry is smaller and easier to produce, but larger bags or purses will of course require more effort. But I would say that I spent just as much time preparing the art and design as I did on the construction of the bag itself.
Why are handmade leather goods so much more expensive that mass produced products of similar function? Given how long it takes and the skill required to produce each piece I often find it difficult to put a price on a finished product. Honestly, a price that would fairly compensate me would most likely be so high that no one would want to buy my work. But of course whenever someone is purchasing something that is handmade and made of leather they are usually looking for something very unique and artistic in its form and design. Something made with superior quality, yet without looking manufactured.
Why would someone want to get involved with making handmade leather goods? There is no one answer to this question, but for myself I just really enjoy the creative process and challenge that comes with building each item I make. When I started experimenting with leather I had no intentions of starting a business. But as time went by and my skill increased opportunities to share my work with other began to present themselves to me. Now I'm in the process of building my own business.
Why Taiwan? I moved to Taiwan in 1995 and married my Taiwanese wife in 1997. I came to Taiwan with the simple desire to serve the people of Taiwan and share my faith in Christ with them. Over the past 20 years Taiwan has blessed me with many wonderful friends and experiences. I have been very fortunate and blessed to call Taiwan my home for the past 20 years and hope I can bring a piece of Taiwan to everyone who enjoys my work!
This is a time lapse video of a floral wallet carving.
Part 1 Tracing and carving - Save valuable time by tracing over a printout rather than tracing the pattern onto tracing paper. Keep your traced paper dry by placing a piece of food wrap over the leather, then the printed pattern over the wrap and tape down to prevent movement. Works like magic every time!
第一部分--描圖和刻圖 - 在圖樣紙上描繪比畫在描圖紙上更節省時間。把保鮮膜放在皮革上以保持圖樣紙的乾燥，將圖樣紙放在保鮮膜上並以膠帶固定以避免移動。每次都很有用像變魔術一般！
It may surprise you to know that all our leather goods are stitched completely by hand without the aid of any machines. I stitch by hand, one for aesthetics, and two for durability that only hand stitching can achieve. Not that there is anything wrong with a sewing machine, but there are significant differences that are valuable to understand. Technically speaking, a product stitched by hand is stronger and more durable than one stitched using a machine. Thicker and stronger waxed threading is used when stitching by hand and can produce a much more durable and beautiful looking stitch than a machine can achieve. Also hand stitched, or saddle stitching becomes a part of the aesthetics of the finished product. Stitching by hand is very time consuming and does add to the cost of the leather goods, but also brings great satisfaction to the artisan and the end-user.