Pendleton + Leather

March 24, 2013

A few weeks ago my friend Kristen kindly divulged that she had found some gorgeous Pendleton wool at our local fabric store. I hadn’t even been to this store yet (isn’t that embarrassing??), so we planned a trip. I was only going to buy knits and a few other things that caught my eye in the bargain bins, but after she cut the 2 yds of wool that she came in for, I decided to take the last little bit.


What was I going to do with 5/8 of a yard?? Initially I wanted to make a tote bag with a leather bottom, but I couldn’t find a pattern or even an inspiration piece to base it off of. I also wanted to make the most of the big print. It would be lost on anything smaller than a cape or huge bag. I’ve made the Amy Butler Weekender Bag three times before and now I’m using it again minus the front pockets. It features huge side panels and it’s quite thick, so I think it will be perfect.

bonded nylon

I also splurged on some leather. I’m using it for the piping, bottom panel, side pockets and handles. Leftovers may become a throw pillow.

half a beef


I’m getting used to the walking foot! I don’t close my eyes or flinch when it starts up. Well, initially I do then I’m fine for the rest of the day. Here are some close-ups of preparing the cording using a zipper foot.

preparing cording

preparing cording

I still need to order a zipper, buy veg tan to stabilize the leather bottom and handles and find a lining! Any suggestions on lining? Luckily, I can construct the entire bag and handstitch it in afterwards, but I’m worried if I wait too long it will sit lining-less for months. That would be awful.

At home I’m slowly cutting out Archer. It’s been such a long time since I’ve made a collared shirt that I’m waiting for Jen’s sewalong. I’m using a super lightweight,¬†striped cotton in view A.


ALSO, I’m featured on my friend’s new blog this week. Read it here: HyLighted

Denver Design Incubator

March 14, 2013

When I moved to Denver nine months ago, I really wanted to work in a creative industry. While job hunting, I came across a want ad for an industrial sewing machine supply company. Luckily, the folks at Ralph’s liked me as much as I liked them. Soon I found myself peddling parts and being immersed in the manufacturing industry.

Next to Ralph’s is DDI, the Denver Design Incubator. Read about it on their site if you have a moment, but it’s basically a workspace for budding designers. The facility includes eight industrial machines – including a blindhemmer, a buttonhole, a coverstitch, a serger, a drop-feed single needle and a walking foot. There are also dressforms, a gravity iron, a dressing room and 12′ tables.


dressing room


I’ve learned that a walking foot is a machine, not an attachment. The one at DDI is perfect for sewing leather clothing, lightweight leather bags and canvas. And really anything else you can think of where you might need a size 20 needle.

walking foot

Blindhemmers use curved needles and no bobbins. My limited mechanical knowledge assumes they function similar to a serger.


And here’s the basic, drop-feed, single-needle industrial machine. Folks, you can get one of these new, with a variable speed motor, table and stand for well under $1000. Most of the basic presser feet are around $5 a piece!

drop feed single needle

Aaaand here’s the serger. Whatever you do, do not cut the threads. Knot and pull.


Space is definitely an issue since you can’t exactly pack the machines up and put them in a closet. That’s why DDI and other incubators provide such a great opportunity for those who want to manufacture a product, but lack the space or finances for an industrial machine.

Soon, I hope, I’ll be sewing over there. It’s taken a few training sessions, but I’m almost ready to make shitloads of tees with that coverstitch machine.


The conclusion of this whole post is that I spent a lot of money on my Bernina 240¬† and I’m pretty pissed off about it.

What’s your take? Do you have any experience in the manufacturing industry? Have you used an industrial? Are you interested in trying one?

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