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A LEATHER belt??? Yes, I did sew a leather belt.
This was my 2021 Christmas present from my family: a leather workshop at Peaux d’Anne’s workshop.
I spent one hot summer day there where I used awesome machines and experienced working with leather.
Peaux d’Anne workshop
Anne’s workshop is located in Deux-Sevres, in France. I had already searched the Internet for leather workshops for a while so, when asked the annual question “what would you want for Christmas?” popped, I had no trouble answering for once! I wanted to join the “Sewing a leather belt workhop“.
Once I had booked the workshop, I waited for Anne to get back to me: she needed to match me with another trainee (workshops happen only if there are 2 or 3 trainees). So, on a sunny July day, I drove to the workshop to meet Anne and my fellow trainee.
She would work on a self-drafted bag while I would work on my belt.
As soon as I was there, I chose the belt buckle and my navy blue leather.
So different than working with fabric!
Even cutting leather was different.
Long straps and heavy weights to hold the leather piece.
My hands were rather shaky, but Anne was so motivating, it went well (even if my edges were a bit *meh*).
My leather was thin and needed some extra support, hence a 3rd length of sturdier leather as a 2nd layer in the middle of the ‘leather sandwich’.
This layer must be invisible from the edges. nne has this beast, a leather skiving machine. It was impressive to work with:
Speed was difficult to handle. Not to mention the fact that it goes from left to right. Totally different from a sewing machine!!!
So many steps!
Because I’ve been sewing for a ong time, many steps are automatic. But when dealing with new technics and materials, you realize there are many many steps involved.
Cutting, skiving, glueing, heating, dyeing…and many more!!!
I loved dyeing the edges with multiple tools to get nice navy blue edges.
Sewing wasn’t tricky because I’m used to it. The only difference was the sewing machine.
I completely butchered one step: burnishing the edges with a flat tip soldering iron.
I was about to give up having nice edging, but Anne made me use some gum tragacanth mixed with dye. It made for nice rounded edges (after sanding, obviously).
My own belt
Placing the rivets and punching holes for the prong made me a bit nervous.
I really enjoyed this workshop. I learnt a lot and ended up with a nice belt.
The price of the workshop was 150 euros (pack your lunch with you). Anne was great working with, splitting her time between me and my co-trainee. In case of problem, she offers other options (like for my butchered edges!).
I’ll probably join another workshop and make a bicolor wide buckle belt. I’d love a burgundy- purple belt (don’t ask!).
If you’re looking for workshops in France, there’s a website dedicated to DIY workshops: it’s called Wecandoo*: leather, wood, stained glass, perfume, etc.
I’m interested in trying a stained glass workshop so that may be my next Christmas present…