Thoughts, quirky insights and experiences in my meandering life.

Meanwhile, back at the Scoula del Cuoio

When I signed up for the course I noticed that they offered a three and six month course which ran concurrently, the six month course included learning Italian. I wondered, and inquired, whether we all went to school in the morning, and the language students studied in the afternoon. No, I was told, you go to school all day. 9.30 to 5 pm. With half an hour for lunch. Half an hour for lunch in Italy? What about siesta? No siesta, just half an hour for lunch. Now I tend to be a little late for things, but I am not late for school. Often getting there a little early, we barely take 30 minutes for lunch and are often there until 5.15 or 5.25. And we don’t stop. All day long. We work at our own pace, although we are all learning together. Some of the young women have experience with pattern making and sewing and are very fast. I have never made patterns before, and the lines have to be precise. I am used to working in inches, and eighths of inches, which I can pretty well visualize, but here it is centimeters, and millimeters, and those millimeters are tiny. Counting 2, or 3, or 4 is challenging to my eyes. And cutting from exact point to exact point without the ruler slipping…. is getting better.

The prototype is in the corner. The leather pieces are cut, deer skin as soft as silk for the outside, and a beautiful fine leather lining. From start to finish, seven days. So production has slowed down somewhat.

The Classic Bag. I made a very simple version, which I think looks a little like a 60’s air hostess bag.

It is constructed in two parts, the outside and the inside, and then sewn together, so everything has to match exactly, and underneath that smooth surface is all kinds of supporting structures. Linings, interlinings, bits of metal, tape to support stitching. I will never look at a bag in the same way again. The shoulder strap took me the most part of a day to construct, and of course I made it more complicated because I wanted a buckle to adjust the length.

Although we all tend to have a side project as well. Mine was replacing a wallet that I have had and loved for over 30 years.

I made it slightly bigger and added a small flap so that the cards I keep in it do not fall out.

I already know that when I make it again it will be slightly different, but I am very happy with it as a prototype. Of course two other people, my brothers in law, have asked me to remake their wallets. We do get attached to our things!

Martin’s wallet, well used.
It has four pouches. A clever design.

The prototype, made in Salpa, reconstituted leather, is also used for linings to give support to the finished item. We are on break for a week and I brought the leather pieces home with me to trim. However, we leave for Venice tomorrow, Monday and after that to Lucca for an overnight so not sure if I will get to it.

I am now in the process of making a bag called a Bugatti. Don’t know why, it doesn’t look like a sports car. It is another seven or eight day bag. And Sally has put in her order for a bucket bag which is the next thing that we make. The final part of her 60th birthday present.

Sally, choosing the dimensions of her bag.

Firenze fact. It is hard to find a Florentine in Florence voluntarily during August. Stores shut down, factories shut down and everyone heads to the beach. I have seen closures for a week, but most often for longer. As someone who used to own a clinic and store I find it amazing that they can give up the income and pay the rent while they are away and not go broke. But it is hot. 38C today.



Florence, the continuing adventure.


Big things and little things


  1. Julia

    Such beautiful work Maggie!! Put me on the list for a wallet. Happy to pay.
    Your Italian must be improving in leaps and bounds.
    Much love,

    • Maggie

      It is too easy to use English unfortunately. You are on the list for a wallet. Any particular colour?

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