Making the Brooke Mini
Updated: Mar 26, 2022
The Brooke Mini will be the third pattern in the "adventurous beginner" leather pattern series. With this pattern, we will branch out to using larger cuts of leather. Like the Maria and the Pearl Passport Wallet, this tote comes together quickly. We love this bag! Not only is it quite the cutie, but there is minimal sewing required and a fun way to box the corners! You have the option of making your bag with our without the front pocket - either way, your bag will be beautiful!
Domestic Machine or Industrial: What is special about this pattern is it was designed so you will be sewing a maximum of two layers at any point. This means, depending on the leather you choose, the pattern can be domestic machine friendly. Of course, since machines can vary, test your machine using two scraps of the leather that you will be using before purchasing the pattern. When sewing on a domestic machine, using a new leather needle and increasing your stitch length can make a huge difference. If your machine sews two layers of the leather you are using, you should have no problems making the Brooke Mini! See below for a video with a demonstration with two types of leather that can typically be sewn on a donestic machine.
Needles & Thread: This can vary for different types of machines, but if sewing your bag on a domestic machine, consider using heavy duty polyester thread and a new leather sewing machine needle. You should also use a longer stitch length than is typically used when sewing fabrics. We sew our Brooke Minis on an industrial machine with a size 125/20 needle and size 92 thread (I believe this is the Tex 90 equivalent). You can use other thread and needle sizes, but check the specs for your specific machine to see what is recommended.
Leather: I recommend using a 3-4 oz with a semi-firm to firm temper, 4-6 oz leather with a semi-soft to sem-firm temper. What is temper? Temper refers to the pliability or softness of the leather. For this bag, you want something that is not too soft and floppy - so, something a bit more firm than upholstery weight. Can this bag be made with other weights? Yes...but working with different leather weights can also mean making small adjustments to the pattern. Have you seen the video included in our post titled "Choosing The Right Leather for Your Pattern"? If you are curious about the difference in a few leathers, this post might be helpful.
Setting Rivets: Due to their location on the bag, it might be difficult to reach some of the rivets with a rivet press. I recommend having a traditional/manual style rivet setting tool on hand. See the video below showing one method we use for marking and punching the holes and setting the rivets in the gusset flap.
Glue: In this pattern, we will be using glue that bonds leather. You will need a strong glue that permanently bonds leather. We have been using the "Aquilim Water-Based Contact Adhesive" for a while now and haven't had any issues so far. However, there are lots of brands and types out there. I encourage doing a little research to see which glue you believe will be right for you.
How To Double & Glue Your Straps: If you are using a leather that is not heavy enough for straps, you might opt to double and glue your pieces. To get the cleanest edges, I recommend gluing two larger cuts of leather wrong sides together first, and then cutting your straps from the glued pieces. To view a quick demonstration, see the video below.