About the Course
This course is the second of two accessories short courses, designed for students who are interested in working with heavy leathers and combining different weights of skins. Doing this requires hand stitching and traditional approaches that have been practised around the world for 100's of years. Dealing with this challenging natural mediums requires problem solving and creative thinking. We will learn about different types of skins and their character, you will then design a simple pattern for a bag and buy materials and trimmings of your choice. You may also purchase a simple ready made pattern for heavy skins. The focus of the second course will be traditional thonging and lacing techniques, correct knife skills, prep for sewing, attaching fastenings, using edge kote and burnishing the edges. As some of this is time consuming you may be required to finish part of the work at home in preparation for the following session. This course will give you an idea on using calf skin combined with goat/lamb skin for a range of future projects. On this course you will use at least 2 weights of skins on one bag and add a lining to your piece using the industrial machine.
We advice students to complete part 1 of the course first as we will be building on skills you have developed on that level.
By the end of the course you will be able to
to develop your own designs and draft a simple pattern for bag using at least 2 types of skins
to understand different construction techniques for bag making, using thonging (flat or round)
to practise traditional stitching and finishing techniques for heavy skins
to attach facing and lining to the outer shell
Class format and activities
This class is mostly practise based, the tutor will demonstrate how you can develop your ideas and use specialised techniques and finishes. If you are working with a purchased pattern, you will be able to adapt the style if you require, or you can develop your own designs and learn simple pattern cutting skills. There will be an emphasis on sharing knowledge and experience, through discussions, show and tell and group critique. The tutor will work with students one-to-one and in groups. In order to ensure that you make the best possible progress on your course, you will have regular feedback from your tutor, in a constructive and supportive environment.
In order to ensure that you make the best possible progress on your course, you will have regular feedback from your tutor, in a constructive and supportive environment.
This course is suitable for complete beginners in working with heavy leather. It is advisable to complete part 1 before enrolling on part 2 of the course. Please note that treating and cutting heavy skins requires a level of stamina and good eyesight as we are using knives and chisels applied in a high level of precision. Please contact the department in advance with if you think this may be an issue for you.
- You must have proficient knowledge in using a two threads sewing machine.
- You must be able to read, write and understand fluent English.
- Mathematics and numeracy skills are desirable but not essential.
- Basic knowledge in pattern cutting will be useful but not essential.
What you need to know before you enrol
• This course is very intensive; punctuality and good attendance are necessary. Every week will cover a different part of the process.
• Cutting materials is usually done standing at high tables. If this is difficult for you, please inform your tutor.
• The fashion studios are on the first floor of the Nancy Seear Building.
• There is wheelchair access via a stair-lift.
• Working with leather requires using specialist glue and knives. You will receive Health and Safety instructions for using these. If you have asthma or a breathing problem, please inform your tutor.
Please note: there is no eating or drinking allowed in the fashion studios – this includes any liquids at all.
What you will need for your class
• sharp heavy fabric scissors
• notepad and a coloured pen, 2H pencil, sharpener and eraser
• masking tape, paper scissors
• you will be required to purchase own materials for your bag following the first session(leather, thread, chisels, mallet, burnishing liquid etc), this is essential for you to progress in the right pace at such a short course. The cost depends on the size and complexity of your personal design. Suppliers list will be given in the first lesson
• paper and card are provided for use in class
• You may need to complete homework following some sessions
What you can do next
We run a variety of accessories and specialist courses as well as other courses which might be of interest, including clothes making and pattern cutting.
You might want to try one of the following:
Designer Bags and Handbags
Pattern Cutting: Beginners
Leather and Fabric Tote Bag
If booking with a CraftCourses voucher for part or all of the course fee, please fill in the contact form above or telephone us. Your voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.