Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Zippered Armbinder - with STRAPS!

I completed an armbinder over the weekend that is a little different from the one I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. It is also made of black patent leather, and closes with a zipper. But on this design, where the strap meets the body of the armbinder in the rear, there is a curved form - which creates a more fluid transition between the strap and the body. Also, this design integrates loops to hold 2 straps in place - one at the elbows, and one at the wrist.

First I start off by laying out the main pattern pieces.
You can see I made marks for the placement of the belt loops. I punched little holes in the pattern to make sure they will be symmetrical on both sides.

The first sewing operation is just a the short seam between the bottom of the zipper and the tip of the hand pocket.
That's roughly the part between the two clips in this picture:
Once that's sewn, I'm ready to start the first glue-up. I am going to glue down the seam allowance for the zipper, and that small section of the hand pocket.
Since the glue is out, I'll also take the opportunity to glue in the reinforcement pieces for the belt loops.
I used the little tabs to mark the area that needed glue, then I glued 'em all up:
Here we have the tabs glued into place and the seams flattened.
I love how the hand pocket already starts to take shape, even with that little bit sewn together.
Next up: we'll sew in the zipper. I'll hold it in place with tape...
Sew one side...
...and the other.
At this point, I cut out the tongue (about 2.5 by 19 inches).
And sew that into place.
Now I'm ready to close the back seam of the armbinder. But first, I want to place a small d-ring at the tip. I find a scrap of thicker leather, and make a small tab to hold the d-ring in place.
This is inserted into the armbinder at the tip of the fingers, with the ring INSIDE. Held in place with a bulldog clip.
Once the seam is sewn it looks like this: very pretty!
Now I'll glue and flatten the seam allowance for the rest of the armbinder's body.
Once those seams are flattened, I topstitch along the top open edge. At this point, the major work on the body is complete!
A closeup of the hand pocket with d-ring.
Next up, we have the straps. Since this is for a rather tall girl, we will be doing some pretty long straps. The 1" wide shoulder straps ended up being over 41 inches long. The 2 smaller straps are for the elbows and shoulders, and will measure 3/4 inches wide when complete.
This is the usual for self-made straps: glue up, fold over, pound flat. I like making straps for a few reasons. They will match the piece exactly, and unlike veg-tanned leather they will stretch a bit more. I think the "give" makes them a bit more comfortable.
Here's the final roll of straps. I've run a line of stitching along both edges, to provide additional reinforcement.
After attaching the buckles. See the last armbinder post for that process in more detail.
The belts in patent look so great...
OK, next up is to mount the belt loops onto the armbinder. I want to mark the location for the holes on my little tabs. When these are mounted I want them to lay pretty flat, but with a little gap for the belt to fit through. I don't want the loop to pull the armbinder and create a pucker.

So I created a little template to help me mark the proper spacing on the tabs, and on the binder. Since the pen I'm marking with won't show up on the patent leather, I ended up placing tape on the surface. CAUTION: this trick won't work on all types of leather. You may end up pulling off the surface finish which can ruin your project. Test a scrap if you aren't sure - learn from my painful experience!

Marking the loops:
Marking the armbinder:
Ready to punch and rivet in place:

Here's a closeup of the wrist strap loop:
And the one at the elbows:
A perfect fit!
I also attached the straps using a combination of sewing and rivets. Check with the other armbinder blog post for more detail on this operation...
That's about it for this project... It looks so great, and I can't wait to see it on.
Hopefully you guys are enjoying the blog, and getting something out of it. For someone like me there is always a thrill in seeing a project go from idea to finished piece. I hope to post the pattern for this project in the near future. Until next time...


  1. It's always fun to see your projects evolve this way. Thanks!

  2. Thank you for sharing your beautiful working process, and for sharing your sleek and sexy and sensual creations !! You rock Brother.

  3. PateInduces and oldbear, thanks for the comments! I appreciate it...

  4. christopher, please share the pdf pattern :)

  5. Dear T H E,

    Soon to come... I'm working on it!