tutorial

How to make a Pistol Case with Maker’s Leather Supply

pistol caseThe product line at DG Saddlery over the years has included many types of leather goods.  We have designed and created knife scabbards, pistol holsters, belts, home decor, harness, tack and of course saddles.  One type of item that we attempted many times are zippered type bags.  This item not being my area of expertise, we were able to make something that worked but wasn’t at the level that we wanted to create.  Because of this, we as a company many times would stay away from taking orders on any type of zippered bag.

I have recently decided that I would like to finally gain the skill set needed to be able to create projects with zippers incorporated.  We were in Waco, TX recently to make a video with Aaron at Maker’s Leather supply on Sewing Machine Selection.  While we were there, Aaron and I decided to do a collaboration video together building a project.  He came up with the perfect project for our visit.

This video is our collaboration on the making of a pistol case.  This particular pistol case holds two pistols and zips closed.  This was a great project that allowed me to gain more knowledge about installing zippers in bag design.

The bag that we created is completely designed by Aaron and I designed the floral artwork for it.  We worked together over a couple days to create the bag you will see.  This was my first collaboration with another maker on video, and I was very excited with how it turned out… both the video and the project.  Aaron and Janie Sue at Maker’s Leather Supply were so much fun to hang out with and my time in their shop was inspiring for me and my shop.

For the patterns for the cut pieces of this bag, Aaron has created an Acrylic Template Pack that you can purchase on his website.  These acrylic templates are fantastic and really hold up well over time if you plan on making a lot of these.  There are two different gun cases in this template set… the one we made in the video as well as a triangular single pistol case template.  I highly recommend getting the templates and checking out ALL the other template packs that he has available on his website at Maker’s Leather Supply.

As with all of our project videos, we do have a Companion Tooling Pattern Pack available for purchase.  It has four different corner tooling sets much like you will see in the video.  With the size of this bag we were not able to create a full floral pattern that you would be able to print digitally so for now we are only offering a corner set pack.  The negative space can be beautifully filled in with quilting or your choice of geometric tooling.  I have also included corner tooling sets for the triangular pistol case that comes with his template set.

If you have been wanting to make a unique project for yourself or that gun enthusiast friend or family member, then this video along with our resources is sure to help you with that.  I was really pleased with how easily this bag went together and I think that after you watch the video you will be too.  If you have been wanting to dive into a project like this, then no better time than during the holiday season.  I think you will really enjoy making this project.

Hand Stitching Leather with an Awl and Two Needles

hand stitchingHand stitching Leather with an awl and two needles is a “must-have” skill set for any aspiring leather craftsman.  This method allows for maximum efficiency when it comes to having to hand stitch any project.

There are many ways to accomplish the same goal, and hand stitching is not any different.  Many people prefer to use a dremel tool with a small drill bit or a set of pricking irons.  These tools work for making the holes when hand stitching, but in my opinion they do not save any time nor create as pretty of a stitch.

In this video, Hand Stitching Leather with and Awl and Two Needles, I show you what I know about hand stitching leather the traditional way.  I prefer this method not for maintaining traditional skill, but more for its efficiency and accuracy when hand stitching leather projects.  This method allows for the best possible stitch and for me I find it to be the quickest method.

When it comes to traditional skills that we as craftsmen should have, I believe that proper hand stitching techniques are mandatory.  Even if you prefer to use a dremel tool or pricking irons, I would suggest that you give this method a try and see if you find it useful.

For sewing supplies used in the video, visit our friends at Maker’s Leather Supply.

And if you have been hand stitching leather and would are interested in getting your first sewing machine, then be sure and check out this recent video we did, “Cobra Sewing Machine Options with Maker’s Leather Supply,” where Aaron and I visit about the different machines Leather Machine Co. offers and which one is the best option for your first sewing machine.

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How to Make a Round Leather Handbag

round leather handbagDeveloping the Round Leather Handbag

About a month ago or so I was in the shop on a Saturday trying to come up with something new and different to make.  My hopes were that I would use this time to be creative and develop a new product that would be like nothing I had ever created.  I cut poster board all afternoon working with all kinds of different shapes, proportions, and layouts.  I came up with many different ideas, but none of them seemed to be “that one” project.

It wasn’t a total loss though, because I learned some valuable things in that creative session as I usually do.

I went home that afternoon feeling a little like I had wasted the afternoon.  I told my wife what I was trying to do that afternoon and that I just didn’t have much luck coming up with a “new” project, much less “that one” project.  She casually mentioned doing a Round Purse.  At first I wasn’t sure that this was the project since it seemed too simple.  After visiting about it more I began to think it might make a neat project.  She pulled up tons of photos of Round Purses on her phone and apparently they are really popular right now.  The next day I went back into the shop and designed patterns for one of the easiest purses that I have ever made.  Is it “that one” project?  Probably not, but it is a good project and I had a ton of fun with it.

This project video is my complete process for making the Round Leather Handbag.  The build process is very close to how I make my Rope Bags and so if you are interested in making either one then this video will be of value to you.

If you are looking for a simple project that has room for tooling and artwork, then this is a great project for your shop.  The size of the purse allows you to put some of your scrap leather to work, as well as giving you practice in simple bag construction.  Main Body pieces of this round leather handbag are made from 9/10 oz vegetable tanned Herman Oak leather as well as the shoulder strap. The gusset can be made from any soft 4/6 oz chap leather.  Both of these types of leather are sure to be in any LeatherHead’s scrap bins.

I used a 14″ zipper in the video, but I would suggest using a 9″ zipper instead.  Mine was too long and the shoulder strap loops would have covered the zipper at the location I needed them.  I was able to modify on the fly, but to make it easier on yourself use a 9″ zipper.

There is a complete Companion Pattern Pack available for this video and you can purchase that by CLICKING HERE.  As with all of our companion packs, it has the cut patterns and dimensions for all parts needed to make this round leather handbag.  There are also 9 different tooling patterns included in the pattern pack.  The size of this purse and the panels being free of hardware, this is a perfect project for artwork with plenty of space to have fun.

Apparently Round Leather Handbags are in style so give this project a try.  This is a great addition to your offerings to customers for Christmas Gifts or to make for your friends and family.

Useful Resources

Slicking Leather Edges

How to Oil and Antique Leather Projects

Maker’s Leather Supply – A great place for material, supplies and resources

Leather Machine Co. – The best place for sewing machines and equipment

How to Oil and Antique Tooled Leather Projects

In this video, I show you my oiling and antiquing process for tooled leather projects. The finish that I did on this piece is what we call a “Light Oil Antique” and it is one of our most popular finishes in the shop. We have created previous videos on antiquing and oiling, but this video dives in a little deeper.

Here are links to those two previous videos if you want to check those out. Continue reading

How to Make a Doctoring Saddle Bag

If you have been dabbling in leatherwork for a short period of time, or have been cutting your teeth in the leather industry for decades, then you have had someone ask you to make a doctoring saddle bag before.

These bags are fun at times and other times they can be a very challenging project to complete.  This is mainly due to the particular requests from the dayhand cowboy that is ordering it.  Every cowboy is unique and particular of how his gear is arranged in the tack room, how his horses handle, and how his doctoring bag is designed.  No two cowboys are alike and that can pose a challenge when designing one of these bags.

In this Quick Tutorial Video on our Youtube channel I show you how I approached this particular request we had this week in the shop.  This is by no means the only way to make this type of doctoring bag, but it is how I took a sketch and turned it into a useful tool for my customer.

Check out this video and see if this is something you would like to try and make.  If you like the design that I created here, then you can purchase the pattern pack that goes with this video by clicking HERE. Continue reading