Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Planning my leatherwork class

As I've mentioned a few times, I'm planning an Intro to Leatherworking course for this fall. I'll be giving it following one of our canton meetings, although if it works out well I could probably do it at some local events as well.

The challenge is how to design a course that I can give in about an hour to an hour and a half that will teach people the basics, given that most projects will take longer than that to finish.

The concept is similar to the course I originally took from Tiberius at Practicum several years ago, which is what got me started in leatherworking. I want people taking the class to end up with a useful project, so I was going to use the making of a belt pouch as the vehicle for them to learn the basic skills. That being said, most useful belt pouches will take a new person more than an hour to make, so the trick will be cutting some corners by doing some of the more monotonous work for them in advance, but still walking them through the process so that they know how to do it for themselves later.

My plan, as mentioned here is to use my own design for the pouch. That way I'm not infringing on any copyrights if I share the pattern with people. Here are more pictures of the ones I did for ComicCon.

For the hand out, I'm thinking of doing it step by step, with tips and info for each step included as they go. The annex will include the research I did with links to artwork showing the style of pouch from the period, as well as a list of good resources for period leatherworking as well as local sources for supplies.

Quick outline of the handout would be:

Basic tools and equipment
Picking your leather
Cutting the pattern
Sewing the pieces together
Embellishments to consider
Annex - Research and other resources

For the class itself, I'll quickly go over the different kinds of leather, the basic tools and materials we'll be using and a bit about belt pouches before we start the project.

I'll probably pre-cut the pieces and punch the holes but I'll bring some scraps and my hole punches so that people can learn the skills without having to spend 20 minutes cutting and punching everything (especially since I won't have enough punches/awls etc. for everyone to use at the same time). I figure about 15 minutes for the intro and showing them the punches.

For the stitching section, it's really just a matter of showing them some basic stuff. I'll probably show them the different materials for sewing the pieces together (waxed linen thread, fake sinew etc.) and then the saddle stitch, and then let them get to work assembling the pouches. I figure giving about 45 minutes for the sewing, during which time I'll wander and answer questions or help people along if they are having trouble.

After 45 minutes has past, I'll stop people and show them some of the things they can do to spruce up their pouches. Some of these are things that would need to be done during construction, others at the end. This would include putting the little closure button on it, putting trim on the belt pouch loop to clean up the lines, adding an applique, tassels, pouchlets etc. I'll show them pictures of examples. I figure this would be about 10 minutes.

After that I'll open the floor to questions for 5-10 minutes (or as long as people want to go).
That brings me in at about an hour and 15 minutes depending on the length of the question period at the end, which is probably as short as I can reasonably get and still have people learn the skills.

Any ideas or comments from my readers on the course? Suggestion on how I can improve the outline before I get to far into it? Is teh timeline reasonable? Does it sound like it might be helpful or interesting?


  1. HI David,

    Based on what you have here it sounds like it will be a very good course. And, if you don't mind I may borrow some of your outline ideas for the skills class I am working on. I like the idea of the research and links being in the Appendix rather than the main body of the handout.


  2. It sounds like a great class.

  3. Hello,

    Looks good and well thought out.