Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Leather Bag (Scrips)

OK, getting close to the end of the friar's kit.  I don't plan on having a ton of stuff to carry, but as a pilgrimaging friar I will have more stuff that I'll be able to carry in my hands.  I needed a pilgrim's bag.  There are tons of manuscript with images showing shoulder bags.  Most simple, some with a bit of embelishment.  Mine would be purely practical and functional.  Normally I would have made this out of oil cloth, but I don't have time to make oil cloth and want at least a small amount of my stuff to be protected from the rain that is forcasted.  I have a bible and some small parchment I would like to keep dry.  My bag (scrips) would be made of leather.

How big to make it?  Well I took my pile of stuff that you see below.  I piled it up and then put it into a canvas shoulder bag that I often use for carrying around my projects.  The size of this canvas bag was exactly what I needed.  I used that bag as a templat to mark the size of the bag I would make.

I used blue painters tape to "draw" the straight line to cut along.  The blue tape you see below was to mark the straight line and length of the strap for the shoulder strap.  I cut the blue tape off and that resulted in the belt I would use for the shoulder.

After removing the should strap I placed my modern canvas bag template down and used that to mark the width.  I again used tape to make the line straight.

After chopped up I taped the bag together and looked at myself in the mirror.  Yup, that's about right.  I used the tap to hold it together while sewing the seams.  I stitched this bag inside out.  The suede side would be on the inside when completed.

Closeup of the saddle stitch.  Nothing fancy.  About 1/8th inch in length saddle stitches with black linen thread waxed with beeswax.  (Note:  Sewing dark leather with black thread sucks.  Can't see it at all)

Bag sewn in about 2.5 hours or so of hand sewing.  Turned right side out.  Yup, that flap is ugly.  I toyed with the idea of leaving the rough edge there, but then I realized that it looked too much like those "ren-faire" type products offered at Bristol.  Nope, I would cut a clean edge.

Flap trimmed down and strap was taped on.  I taped it and took a look in the mirror.  Made a few adjustments and then retaped it before marking for the final stitching.
Strap stitched on and ready for closures.  Many of the bags I saw had buckles or some other fancy button.  I opted for a plain wooden toggle.  I made the following roughed out toggles from the pear tree I recently used for making spools, a bowl and a spoon out of.  These toggles were roughed out with only an axe.

Using a carving knife I finished a more balanced looking toggle.

I drilled two holes and then cleaned up the holes with the knife.

I taped the toggles in place to make sure I liked the look and then stitched them on.

The straps that hold the toggles on are simple laces cut from the edge of the same leather that the bag was made from.

Finished toggle assembly.

Finished bag.  I opted for a slightly wider strap than displayed in most period images.  I am glad I made the strap wider.  After loading it up the wider strap is VERY comfortable and should be easier to tote around all day, every day for 8 days.
Load it up and hit the road!