Friday, 18 January 2013

Quick & easy Leather luggage tags


I had planned to make luggage tags for our upcoming holiday ages ago, I was going to be o so organised - yeah right!
Yesterday I realised I still hadn't made any and it was looking pretty much like I was going to have to suffice with those shop bought cardboard printable tags - not so pretty and/or personalised huh!
So, I had some spare time and figured I'd have a go myself but if they took longer than 15mins each to make or the first one looked naff, I'd give up and go with the crappy cardboard ones.
I've done plenty of research over the last few weeks (that's me all over, loads of research but no doing) so I knew basically what I wanted the finished look to be, the problem was that the look I wanted wasn't going to be quick, so after all that research I just made it up as I went along and here's how they turned out:

Luggage tag
Not too shabby huh!
The best bit is that they took 10 mins to make. If I'd had more time and had been in a better mood (and if my craftroom wasn't such a tip right now) there are things I would have done differently but these will do for this holiday.
Here's how I did it:

Decide on fabric. I had some swatches of leather fabric as our friend is an upholsterer and gives me the leftover or out of date swatches, so I chose Chocolate leather:

Leather swatches

At first I cut 2 rectangles of leather (I didn't measure them) and tried to sew them together wrong side to wrong side but they moved about too much and looked reeeeeeally bad (to thick to get pins through without bending them - I tried!). At that point I could have given up! Yup, 2 mins in and i had had enough -  I hate it when things don't go how I want them to even though it's usually because I haven't thought things through properly or I'm trying to do things quickly instead of properly as was the case here.
To get over the slidey fabric syndrome I got 2 pieces of leather larger than the size of luggage tag I wanted to make, lay them wrong side to wrong side, traced a rectangle on top using white pencil and then sewed the tag from that, leaving one short end open and holding the whole thing together with clips:

Held together and 3 sides sewn.

Next I trimmed the edges as close to the stitch line as I dared on all four sides (I had to guess where the line would be at the un-sewn end as the pencil had worn off and I didn't think to re-draw it).

Cut as close as possible to the sewn line.

The next step was to decide on a tag for the tag (you know what I mean......right?).
To get a better finish next time I would use bias binding but for now I used ribbon folded in half, ironed and then sewn up the edge. Again I didn't measure the length I just cut what I thought would be enough:

Fold ribbon in half.

Once you've sewn the edge of the ribbon simply stuff both ends into the opening of the leather and then stitch the entire opening closed.

For the pocket that will hold the name and address I used laminate sheeting. Most tutorials online suggest vinyl like the stuff blankets are often cased in but I couldn't find any (until I'd finished - typical) so I used laminate sheeting.
I cut a rectangle of laminate to fit the front of the leather and then stitched another piece of folded ribbon  across the top of the laminate where it will be left open on the leather (this is where you will insert card for name):

Sew the ribbon to the laminate

Finally I positioned the laminate onto the leather tag, used clips to hold it in place as it moves easily and then sewed down both sides and the bottom end leaving the top ribbon end of the laminate open.
That's it, that's all I did!

Most online luggage tag tutorials suggest that you use a plastic sewing machine foot to sew the vinyl as it glides easier but I didn't have that problem with the laminate, I used the normal metal foot.
Another tip if using vinyl instead of laminate is to place some tissue down the edges of the vinyl and sew through that instead of directly through the vinyl. You can then tear the tissue away once you've finished sewing, I suspect this is to help the foot glide better but also to help control the holes that the machine makes in the vinyl. Again I did neither of those things with the laminate.
I'm going to make better ones in the summer but if you're looking for a quick and easy luggage tag to make in a hurry then this is the one for you.
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Diana Rambles
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