• Rosa Lagana

Creating a bespoke leather tote - #defifablabfabdesign

Updated: Mar 25, 2019

This month I have signed up to participate in a 4 week workshop where we learn all about leather and how to use a Fab Lab to design and create our very own leather tote. The animator is a leather artisan based here in Montreal and the workshop is being held at Académie Ste-Therese's Fab Lab.

In my first session I learned so much about the different types of leather and how important it is to select the right quality depending our design project. For my tote project I was presented with a beautiful quality leather. Such a rich colour and fabulous texture that it reminded me instantly of Tuscany and the city of San Gimignano, where my husband and I were introduced to the most beautiful leather products we had ever seen.

Once I got over admiring the material I was working with, I needed to get to work. My first job was creating a sketch of the actual bag, defining my measurements and drawing out carefully each piece I needed. Ensuring no detail is left out is imperative. This, sadly, I learned the hard way. Once I finished my sketch, I needed to transfer it into vector format. There is only one way of doing this, I redrew it and my program of choice was Adobe Illustrator. Being my first time designing a bag I not only kept forgetting pieces or adding pieces along the way but I also needed to modify my measurements, this meant that my drawing was redrawn a couple of times. These little hiccups were essential in helping me learn so much and appreciate the art that goes into designing accessories. Our animator was wonderful; he guided us step by step throughout the process and really helped us imagine the different possibilities we could explore in our designs and techniques.

Producing a vector drawing is the first step towards using the Trotec laser cutter to cut out each piece of leather. The advantages of using a laser cutter proved to be many, for it permitted me to not only cut out shapes otherwise impossible to do by hand but to also personalize my bag by adding my very own custom-made engraving. The below photos give a good idea of all the pieces that needed to be carefully drawn and cut out and engraved. Tomorrow it all comes together and I will share that part of the project once my tote is complete and ready for its final reveal!

Stay tuned!


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Montreal, Qc, Canada