Designer: Randa Roberts
Hi! I’m Randa Roberts of So Comfy Designs, and an OLFA Craft Expert and this is my first Slice and Stitch Challenge, and my first time using Aurifil thread! So Comfy Designs is my handmade business where I create new useful and beautiful bags and accessories from upcycled materials. Nearly every day you’ll find me sitting behind one of my industrial machines using big cones of bonded nylon thread in tones of browns and black, so I was very inspired when presented with the “Earth Views” palette of Aurifil 100% cotton, 50WT thread. Here I’ll take you through the steps to create a circle zippered pouch using upcycled leather.
The Earth Views palette was selected by astronaut, artist, and sewist Karen Nyberg after seeing Earth from space. She highlights her awareness of how we use Earths limited resources, and that really resonates with me and the work that I get to do. Once I opened the package, I instantly saw all the hues of my beloved local lake - from soft cloud white, to a rose-gold sand, I was inspired to create a round zipper pouch with an abstract style beach scene using every single one!
I love where I live, close to the sandy shores of Lake Huron, and a quick look at my social media reveals how much I love to create beach and water themed accessories using scraps of colorful leather. As you might expect, I have a lot of scraps and it didn’t take me long to match each small spool with a coordinating piece of leather.
- OLFA FCM-17x24 17" X 24" Folding Cutting Mat
- OLFA CMP-3 Rotary Circle Cutter
- OLFA 28mm RTY-1/C Quick-Change Rotary Cutter
- OLFA 60mm RTY-3/DX Ergonomic Rotary Cutter (optional for trimming)
- OLFA 5-Inch SCS-4 Precision Appliqué Scissors
- Earth Views by Karen Nyberg - 10 Small Spools 100% Cotton 50WT
- Large spool White 2021 100% Cotton 50WT
- Leather scraps of various color and weight
- Leather punch, setting tool, and rivet for zipper pull
- 6” nylon zipper
- Wonder clips
Before I began to piece my design together, I set my OLFA Rotary Circle Cutter to the 2.5” marking so that I could have a 5” diameter circle for my zipper pouch. I used my circle cutter to make a template in a piece of paper so I could see how my design looked when it would be cut in to a circle.
Once I matched my leather and thread, it was time to design the front of the round zipper pouch. With a few pictures on my phone as inspiration, I started by setting the OLFA Circle Rotary Cutter to the smallest setting and cut out a sun from some bright yellow leather. I played around with my design, cutting strips using a 28mm OLFA Rotary Cutter, and kept using my circle template to add and subtract leather pieces until I was happy with how it looked.
True confession number 1: I originally started this project on a heavy duty domestic machine, however, it didn’t take me long to realize that it just wouldn’t perform and produce beautiful stitching on the leather so I switched to my industrial machine. I was apprehensive that the 100% cotton, 50WT thread wouldn’t be durable enough to go through my machine, but I was pleasantly surprised at how easily it sewed. I did a little research on thread weight, and learned that the higher the number, the thinner the thread, so I wouldn’t recommend choosing anything less than 50WT for any project sewing with leather.
You’ll notice that I didn’t place my leather pieces on a piece of backing. The main reason for this was to reduce bulk and layers, making it an easier project to sew in one day. Leather doesn’t need a finished edge, I think the back looks really unique. Almost like a planet! I trimmed up the loose threads using my OLFA precision scissors.
True Confession #2: it’s not an easy endeavor to cut a circle that has more than one layer of leather to it, but it is possible! What I did here was center the compass point on my project, gently and firmly settle the blade into the project, and slowly and firmly use both hands to press the blade and rotate the handle in a cutting motion. Sometimes I had to go backwards, sometimes I had to go over a section twice. A little patience goes a long way here, because when you cut the back piece, it will go much faster and easier! NOTE: here is where I used my OLFA 60mm rotary cutter to trim the edges of my circle. I recommend the 60mm for this task because it works so well on built up layers.
The back of this circle zipper pouch is a piece of leather that I stripped off of a couch out waiting for garbage day. How's that for reusing materials we already have?
Zipper time. Leather has a beautiful raw edge, especially when it’s cut with a sharp OLFA rotary blade, so leaving the edges unfinished is a great way to showcase that, and save time! Using a 6” long nylon zipper, begin by tucking in the edge, and sew along the zipper, following the curve of your circle until you get to the end, where you’ll tuck that end in as well. Open the zipper fully, then follow the same step to attach the back piece. I recommend backstitching once or twice, then trim your threads. zip it back up, and clip the front and back together.
Close the zipper, then clip both the front and back circles together, matching the edges. Using as small of a seam allowance as you’re comfortable with, begin stitching at the end of the zipper, (backstitch here as well for strength) and sew all the way around the circle until you meet the beginning of the zipper. Back stitch here, and trim your threads. Create a zipper pull if you’d like one - I had all the materials needed to create a detachable mini-strap, but a simple piece of knotted leather would look lovely.
I was so happy with the finished pouch, and it’s big enough to store my mini spools of Aurifil thread in! Here are the colors in the Earth Views palette clockwise from the top:
So, what do you think? Did I match my Earth View? Thank you to Aurifil and OLFA Craft for the beautiful thread and tools used to make this inspired project. It was so fun to create, from the tip of the radiating sun to the last bit of golden stitched sand, and I hope you enjoyed it too!
Be sure to check out 2 more projects this week. The first one is from OLFA Expert Sarah Gozzo, @princess_ina_pouch
To enter-to-win OLFA’s Rotary Circle Cutter & Earth Views by Karen Nyberg, click HERE or on the image below. We’ll select one winner for this week’s giveaway on Monday morning and send notice via email. Good luck!