It became apparent that this bag, despite my enlarging it a bit, wasn't going to be big enough for its intended purpose (which was to haul my band stuff in. So I'm just going to stick to carrying the books in my big old flute bag like I have been). So I decided to just use it as my winter purse this year-- it's a good size to carry my essentials (which generally includes a book), but not backpack-large.
I do like the lining of this. I think it's really fun-- adds some interest to an otherwise plain bag.
And I really do like the buckles too-- once I decided to use it as a purse instead, I had to find a good way of keeping it closed. And I did not want to deal with sewing buttons on leather. These straps were in the sleeves of the original trenchcoat.
And since the flap had some seams anyway due to how I had to cut it out, it was easy to rip a few stitches out and slide these in. So I sewed them in, trimmed them off, and inserted the buckle part into another convenient seam at the bottom.
I'm still a little worried about the main strap holding. I sewed over it as much as I could (including hand-cranking the machine for much of it), and reinforced it with as much hand-sewing as I could get the needle through the holes for. But the machine skipped a lot of stitches, despite my leather needle and setting the machine to a longer stitch length and using upholstery thread for the heavier weight (which worked fine on the rest of the bag). This was a huge problem on the topstiching too, which I'm still not happy with. I tried handsewing it initially to get the lining to lie flatter, but that pretty much killed my fingers, and the machine just put a bunch of holes and no thread in it. I broke 2 leather needles and finally gave up once I got something resembling thread at least all the way around. So if any of you reading this have worked with leather before and have some tips for me, I'd love to hear them-- I still want to fix the topstitching at some point, and reinforce the strap if need be!
In other news, I'm going into Christmas gift mode now that it's almost November, and I've decided to make as many gifts as I can this year. My goal is to make as many of them as possible using things I already have on hand, or recycled materials. Which I'm not sure how the latter will work. May have to buy new due to the time crunch, since I don't have months to browse the secondhand shops. I did go to a thrift store yesterday since I had some unexpected time between lessons-- found some clothes for me to recon into some much-needed casual long-sleeved shirts and one good shirt as is, but for what I need for the gifts I have in mind (especially in terms of jewelry components) the selection was rather disappointing. I have unexpected time off work again (garden center told me not to come in because the weather is so gross that the manager didn't think they'd have many customers), so I'm going to hit a couple more today. But I do need to have some things by next weekend, since I'll have craft time with friends (I just won't work on their gifts while I'm with them, obviously!) so I may have to just buy new for some. No time to waste, since I also have to make a pantsuit by mid-December for the band concert I'm conducting! And a muslin first, to boot!