1. THE BLUEPRINT/ DRAFTING
Before creating anything, I like to research "what's in". From there I get ideas that inspire me to design the total opposite while keeping the shape/style of what's popular in mind. In a market where everyone's competing to make the same items, I enjoy going left vs. joining the crowd. From there, I design a blueprinted illustration of my prospect bag. After that, I'm confident enough to source my leather for proper use as leather IS NOT cheap.
Image: Example of Illustrated Bag. Not a Nikki&Mallory original.
2. CREATE PATTERN PIECES
Patterns are the "pieces of the puzzle". Hard stock or paper pieces that mimic every piece of your project in shape/size - and work as a guide to help you assemble. (as shown in example)
3: CUT LEATHER (USING PATTERNS)
After patterns are drafted and cut, place those pieces across your leather; making sure to use as little space possible to avoid wasting leather. Trace & Cut.
#1 Tip - using a pencil, or marking chalk is ideal for leather.
#2 Tip - cutting leather with a utility knife, leather scissors, leather cutting knife's or a rotary cutter is recommended.
4: PREP LEATHER & ASSEMBLE
After cutting out all your leather pieces per project, depending on what type of leather you're working with, treating protects it prior to all the work and elbow grease you're about to invest. I work with a lot of vegged tanned leather which typically needs to be treated before, sometimes after being worked. "Treating" leather also refers to prepping the leather. Some require wetting, oiling and allowing to dry before assembling it. After leather has been treated, the next step is punching [holes]. Chisels are used to punch different size & shaped holes - while using the proper mallet ensures the correct pressure to apply. (Using a hammer is now recommended). Your process should mimic these steps:
1. PREP | 2. CREASE LEATHER | 3. PUNCH LEATHER
And finally, after all the preparations, you're ready to stitch and assemble. For this example I'm showing you how I stitch the crossbody. Because there are so many pieces to the crossbody, something like this might be more time consuming. None the less, the quality and end result is worth it. To watch the process from beginning to end, check Nikki&Mallory out on YouTube!