I learned to stitch by hand when I was little, I remember stabbing myself with the needle and trying to keep a thimble that was way to big for my tiny finger in place.
In secondary school I remember being very proud of passing my “sewing machine driving test” and receiving a paper certificate signed by my teacher! (I made a cushion)
My first machine was bought from a charity shop it was a traditional Singer sewing machine in a wooden box with a winding handle. Although this machine was lovely looking it drove me insane constantly having to adjust the tension, slipping stitches and snapping treads.
I continued to sew in my own time occasionally making clothes and altering things but it wasn’t until I left university that I got my first job stitching, I worked with PVC and heavy fabrics sewing welding curtains and baseball caps for a safety company.
They taught me how to use an industrial sewing machine and i quickly learned they are quite different to handle than domestic machines they are fast and powerful as I found out when I stitched right through my finger! Ouch!!
We use Phaff industrial cylinder arm machines for our bags and it is a joy, mostly they do what I ask, gliding through thick leather like butter.
Stitching with Leather isn’t easy, I'm still learning everyday. Certain types of leather are very stiff and working with them on a machine can be painfully hard work and mistakes are costly.
However I have fallen in love with leather, the attractive lines and curves you can create, the way it holds its shape the different finishes and the smell. Designing with leather can be as simple or as complex as you like in fact some of the simplest designs are often my favourite because they really showcase the materials qualities.
The choice of different textures and colours is never ending and it’s ultimately a very natural and exciting material to work with.
Most of Charlottys products are made using split butt which is great for belts and satchel style products. In 2017 we are looking to expand our range to include a wider variety of leathers and I can not wait to sample some new designs.
Happy New Year from Charlotty! x
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