First Leatherwork Project: Scissors Case

For several months, I’ve had a project in mind. I wanted to make myself a pair of custom-fit shoes, suitable for a middle-class woman of 14th century Spain, something like those pictured below. This is not that project.

14th-15th century Poulaines from
14th-15th century Poulaines from

I’ve also wanted to make a kidney pouch, something like this one. This is not that project, either.

“Kidney pouch” is a euphemism. More plainspoken people referred to this as a bollock pouch. Pictured here with a bollock knife, which, let’s face it, could never be called by any euphemism because it’s absolutely clear what it resembles, am I right?

But before I can make any of these things, I need to learn to work with leather. To do that, I needed a first project. Something small, not at all complicated, that would let me learn with few consequences if I completely mucked it up.

Now, I told you that story so I could tell you this story: I have two pairs of teeny embroidery scissors. One is a pair by Gingher, an expensive-but-well-worth-it brand. Buy a pair of Gingher scissors, take care of it, and you’ll have that pair for life. It’ll need sharpening every few years, but it’s worth the cost. But because it’s so expensive, I don’t want to take that scissor out of the house. It lives in my box of Sharp Things at home, snug in the tiny black leather sheath that came with it.

My other pair of embroidery scissors is a no-name (as far as I can recall, anyway), really inexpensive, and I’m not sure it’ll hold an edge. But as I only ever use it to snip threads when I’m sewing, it doesn’t have to be all that robust; and I will take this pair of scissors out of the house without a second thought. It didn’t even have a case or sleeve or sheath or anything until…

And now the stories converge. See how neatly and adroitly I managed this narrative? I bet you didn’t even notice the segue! I’m awesome!

…Until, that is, today. “Today’s the day,” I said to myself when I woke up. “Today’s the day I make a leather thing. And I know just what it’s going to be, too.” And I was right, I did know exactly what it was going to be. Sure enough, when I had made the thing, it turned out to be exactly what I hoped it would be: a no-frills, ridiculously stupid-easy, perfectly functional, not at all attractive, scissor sheath. It was so easy that I’m not even going to insult you by describing the make process. I’m just going to put this right here, and trust you to figure it out for yourselves.

There you have it. Feel free to tell me all the things I could do better next time I’m making something, because that’ll help me learn much sooner than if I try puzzling it out on my own. Here, I’ll start you off:

  • Next time, trace the shape you want on both pieces of leather, so that you can cut them out singly and they’ll match.
  • Next time, mark where you want the holes to go. Put them a set distance from the edge, and a set distance from each other. For pity’s sake, girl, why do you think you own a Whartenberg wheel, if not for this?
  • Next time cut a longer thread of waxed linen, so you don’t have to stop in the middle and get more. That way, a funky seam treatment will be a decision rather than an act of desperation that doesn’t even go all the way around the sheath.

What else shall I do differently next time, O great mentors of the Interwebz? 😉

2 replies on “First Leatherwork Project: Scissors Case”

  1. I don’t know how a real leather worker would feel about this, but I leave a bit extra beyond the final cutting line so that after I stitch I can trim both layers at the same time with an Exacto knife.

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