Back in June, during that brief period between lockdowns, I attended a day course for beginners at Leffler Leather in leather stamping and lacing. My lovely sister-in-law Jeanette did the course with me. Both of us were complete novices when it came to this type of leather work.
We began our day with an introduction to the tools used for stamping, then we all went for it banging designs onto a leather coaster. It’s fun being back at the beginning of a learning curve – you know that you’re going to make plenty of mistakes that what you are doing will be far from perfect, and in a weird way that takes the pressure off!
Then we moved on to lacing. Although the leather was mostly pre-cut, we still needed to measure and punch all of the holes, and cut some additional pieces. The whole process was a little more organic than the way that I am used to working – I am very much an instruction following type of person. It’s always a pleasure for me to craft along with Jeanette, who has taken up sewing in recent years and just launches herself fearlessly into things and just gives them a go, learns from mistakes, and moves on!
We were also treated to a tour of the warehouse. So many leathers, used in so many industries, from so many countries, tanned in so many different ways. The business began back in 1932, and service a diverse range of customers.
I didn’t quite manage to finish my bag during the class time allowed. All the lacing was done, but it still needed a strap attached. I came home with the strapping, knowing that I already had some hardware and basic tools at home from other bag-making activities. But Jeanette finished hers – she even managed to stamp a simple design onto it as well.
It took me until last weekend to get around to adding the strap. I’m still not sure whether I will leave the strap as it is, or alter the way it’s attached. Anyway, better done than perfect! And there is something extremely satisfying about banging in those rivets.
It’s great to try something new every now and then, and a class can be a really fun way to explore crafts. I did a one day macrame necklace course a couple of years ago, which was really enjoyable in a similar way. I’m not likely to swap from garment sewing to leatherwork, but am very pleased to have dabbled. It’s especially satisfying to have a finished product at the end.