Go Go Scabby Robot: Leather Pocket Wallet

In Hayes Valley, San Francisco, there’s a small independent-designer-co-op called RAG (Residents Apparel Gallery).  Almost everything they carry is made in San Francisco by local artists, like Scabby Robot’s (Jill Harrell’s) leather bags and pocket wallets.   When I saw the pocket wallets, I knew I wanted to make several… after I figured out how to sew leather.

I found some cheap leather scraps — leather sewing needle included, this craft cost me less than $10 — at Discount Fabric and set out to master this new skill.  Sewing with leather is not too difficult, but it’s easier if you know a few tricks.  First, you’ll need a leather sewing machine needle.  Then — and this is where the leather-sewing-endeavor got really difficult for me —  you’ll want to play with your tension until you get it just right.  But, after wasting lots of time doing this, I just couldn’t find the perfect setting.  Part of the problem, I discovered, is that the leather sticks to the surface of the sewing machine while sewing and doesn’t properly feed through the machine.  Referring to my sewing machine manual, I discovered the answer — the walking foot!

If you haven’t used one of these before, the trick is to use very light pressure on the foot pedal in order to sew slowly (or you can do this manually by turning the hand wheel); the walking foot will feed the leather (or fabric) under the foot for you.  After attaching the walking foot to my machine, I had no problem whipping out a ton of these pocket wallets.  They are just the right size for holding cash and a couple cards when you don’t feel like carrying much else.

Here are links to Scabby Robot’s Etsy page and her blog.

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