Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Passion for Pouches

To wrap up the year, I am going to repost some of my favorite or most popular articles from 2008. This post about making pouches was first published in July. Since I'm currently on a pouch-making frenzy, it seems appropriate.

My supply of pouches has been crying for attention, and finally I gave it some. Deer hide pouches, sized for wearing around the neck or carrying, with fringe and cones or fetishes of bone.
My methods are decidedly low-tech. All pieces are scissor-cut by hand from my own patterns, holes are individually punched with drive punches and a mallet, and hand-cut deerhide laces are used to bind it all together. Fringe-pieces are inset, adding to the strength of the pouch bottom.

The stitch I use is a lot less fancy than it looks -- it's a simple whip-stitch, but I whip it in both directions. In truth, I never cared for the whip-stitch as a binding on bags, though it's the way I was taught long ago in my hippy-leather days. It tends to pull everything in one direction, and it leaves gaps where stuff inside the pouch can protrude. Out of this frustration came the idea to reverse the whip-stitch at the end and run it back the other way in the hope that it would pull everything even and close those gaps. It worked so well I've been using it almost exclusively ever since. Looks handsome too, doesn't it?

Fringe is cut with scissors after the pouch is stitched -- less tangling that way.

I use round braids for my straps, feeding them through round holes before binding them and adding a decorative touch of cones or a fetish.

Most of these will wind up as medicine bags; carrying someone's tobacco or personal spiritual items. That's both an honor and a responsibility that I don't take lightly. Every one of my pouches is individually made in a good way.

The fact I have so much fun doing it is a bonus for me!

1 comment:

Daniel said...

Thank you so much for the inspiration. I have been working on my own medicine bag for close to one and a half year now and have finally come to the stage that I'm looking round for patterns and techniques to actually make the bag. Your page has given me a clearer picture of what I want. Thanks!