Just so you can keep up, don’t forget the other exciting installments in this saga.
Here’s the silk, I’m using for the stitching. It’s 4×3, which ends up meaning the silk from about 200 cocoons. I reeled it myself, in a workshop organized by Nikolena.
I used the curved awl to make the holes along the 2 3/8" sides for my first try, simply because I couldn’t get that tip out of my handle, and switch. But then I realized it was smaller too, so that was a bonus. Initially, I could only find one needle of the right side, so I said, "OK, I’ll just whip stitch down one way, and then come back, and it will all be good." Wrong. Since I was stitching loosely, my first attempt ended up threading silk thru silk, and it wouldn’t tighten. I had to cut it off, and start over. This time, with 2 needles. After each loose stitch, I checked to be sure I hadn’t stitched thru the other thread. I had to unstitch a number of times, but eventually it worked. I even used the curved tip of the curved awl to tighten the stitches, since it was small and handy, and I couldn’t find Bechte’s crochet hooks.
Here’s a view of it lengthwise, and another showing how much ease for shrinkage I allowed.
So I soaked it in lukewarm water for about 2 hours. It only took about 3-4 minutes to get quite wet – it is really thin, I got some water hot – 180 degrees. Then I immersed the leather around the plastic form for 10 sec at 180 degrees.
So, it shrunk up around the form beautifully, nice and tight, but I could still pull the form out. But lengthwise, it shrunk and curled some too. It lost between 3/16th" at the seam, to 1/2" at the worst spot. So, I need to to another one, but significantly longer than the case, rather than 1/8th" shorter. I also want to allow for the possibility of trimming off some curled bits, or to prevent curling, take a stitch or two over the ends of the form, and trim later. The other possibility is the directionality of how I cut the leather. I’m going to try cutting this one 90 degrees rotated from the first.
So, I’m going to cut the next lining at 3" long by 2" wide. This will allow a slightly larger amount of shrinkage around the form, as well as shrinkage lengthwise. I’ll plan to trim off a bit of the length, since I suspect that this thin of leather will always curl some, in any area it isn’t under tension. I think putting a bit of tension at each end would be a good thing as well.
I will still use this one, after a bit of careful trimming to remove the curved bits. The piece seems to be holding it’s form quite well after drying. Somewhat flexible, but not too much either. Anyway, I clearly will need to experiment to get the outer case measurement correct as well.