Pattern Making and How To Design Handles in Leatherwork

Patterns are shapes or motifs of objects cut out in paper and other materials which include cardboard, tin sheet, zinc or galvanized iron sheet, plastic sheet etc. and used as a guide in producing leather articles. They also refer to already prepared designs/decorations/motifs intended for transfer onto leather and other surfaces for fixing or duplicating them on the leather.

Again, patterns also refer to impressions or decorations made on a surface. Patterns can be stamped, woven, batiked, embossed, incised, drawn, peeled, tie-dyed etc. on leather.

Functions/Advantages of Patterns

1. Patterns help in the cutting out of leather.
2. They aid in the smooth production of mass quantities of leather articles.
3. It helps leather artists in avoiding wastage of materials.
4. It helps in saving the time of the artist.
5. It ensures an accuracy of the work.
6. It serves as a way of checking whether the ideas of the artist will work before producing the actual product.

Procedure For Preparing and Transferring Designs From Patterns onto Leather

1. Draw the design/pattern/motif.
2. Cut the shape out with scissors, knife etc.
3. Place the moistened leather on a flat hard surface.
4. Place the cutout pattern on the flesh side of the leather on the reverse side. The paper pattern should be laid on the leather as economically as possible avoiding any marks or flaws.
5. Place a weight at the centre of the pattern. Small patterns can be held in position with the fingers. Straight edges are best ruled with the aid of a steel straight edge.
6. Trace out the pattern with a ball point pen, awl or a bone folder etc.

Designing Handles For Handbags

1. The size of the handbag is very important. It may be small, medium or big. This will help the leatherworker to produce an appropriate handle to correspond the size of the leather article.

2. The purpose or function of the bag must be known. This will help the leatherworker to know the best part of the bag to affix the handle whether, at the top, sides or all around the handle. This will help him in knowing the type of leather to be used in producing the handle. For instance, if the handbag is to be used for shopping it will require strong handles. Owing to this, thick leather must be used in producing the handle.

3. The nature of the handbag must be known. Is the bag having a flat top with flap over bag, bag closed with zip or top open handbag etc.? This knowledge will help the leatherworker to know where to position the handle.

4. The leatherworker must know the shape of the bag. This will help the designer to know the type of handle that will suite the leather bag.

5. The type of leather available for the work. This will help the designer to know whether to put lining or do away with lining.

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