Step 1 – Design: *Sketch the design of your leatherwork project on to paper, drawing it from all angles including front, side, back, base and top views. Include details of all measurements. Repeat for the interior if the project is to be lined or have pockets.
Step 2 – 1st Pattern: Using paper or thin card, draw up a 1st pattern dating, numbering or labelling all the pattern pieces to avoid confusion later. Remember to include any seam allowances (usually 6mm). Give each pattern piece a ‘centre line’ both vertically and horizontally so that if necessary pattern pieces can be overlayed accurately. Write the precise measurements on each pattern piece and carefully mark the positions of poppers, rivets or buckles etc.
Step 3 – Paper Model: Make a paper model of your intended project based on the work done in steps 1 and 2 above. This is a ‘stick & paste’ excercise to establish if your design is going to be successful and to ensure that your 1st pattern works. If not, repeat steps 1-3
Step 4 – Making Guide: Write out a ‘step-by-step making guide’ (aka ‘order of assembly’) based on your paper model in step 3. Try to imagine the sequence in which you will build your project – you could make another paper model if this will make the task easier than working from memory.
Step 5 – Card Model: Now make a more structured model in card using your ‘making guide’ from step 4. If your project is to be made with vegetable tanned leather the card will be a better representation of this than the paper, giving a surprisingly good result! Amend your ‘making guide’ if necessary.
Step 6 – Final Pattern: Accurately re-draw your pattern onto stiff card as outlined in step 2 making any necessary changes. Carefully cut out with a sharp knife and remember to dispose of your 1st pattern. Lay the new pattern pieces onto the leather and draw around them with your scratch awl before cutting out. Use your step-by-step guide to make your project.
*TIP: Read through the GDH Leather Courses. blog post, Bag Design in 6 Easy Steps