Ever since discussing my (then) potential Brand Ambassadorship with PIHKA collection I’ve been looking forwards to attending one of their workshops.
For those who are not familiar with the PIHKA brand, it is a Finnish brand that makes accessories, particularly gorgeous bags, out of sustainably produced and tanned leather.
To get your own piece of classic and sustainable style check out my mini online store and use code TERESA10 to get 10% off all bags at PIHKA’s online store.
In addition to being completely transparent in regards to their production chain, PIHKA also gives you an opportunity to make your own bag or shoes.
At such times of #WhoMadeMyClothes and #FashionRevolution this sort of workshops are really valuable in regards to spreading knowledge, appreciation and feeling of intense success when you finally have the finished product in your hands.
As a Brand Ambassador it was almost required for me to attend one of their courses. I chose the Small Bags-course and traveled to Helsinki for a day trip.
This particular course cost 160€, which at first might make you go “Oh dear…” But when you think about it, it’s a very cheap price for a bag that will last for a lifetime; PIHKA will provide you with all materials and tools, instructs you through the process and treats you with drinks to cheer for what you’ve achieved.
The workshop took altogether around 3 hours and the time literally flew by. I’m not a DIY sort of a person at all, but making my own bag was somehow super fun and to some extent even therapeutic, particularly sowing the bottom on.
Here’s a little recap on how this bag was made:
I arrived to the workshop expecting to see complicated machinery and a lot of equipment. Instead, there were 2 tables with nothing but couple hammers, pairs of scissors, carpet knives, 3 rolls of leather and pens stacked on them.
First up we had to choose which bag we wanted to make: our options were Vieno and Agata. I already had Agata in beautiful chili red, so I went for Vieno. Colour-wise I went for brown because I realized I don’t have this classic colour in my bag collection at the moment.
When we had sorted out who wanted which colour we got cardboard templates of each piece that we needed to cut out of the leather in our chosen tone. My bag consisted of only 2 pieces of leather; the actual bag and the bottom part. Plus 2 slices for the buckles and, of course, the shoulder strap.
We had 2 options for cutting the pieces out of leather, using a carpet knife or scissors. There was just one problem; I’m left-handed and all the scissors were for righties. I tried, but the result wasn’t too pretty.
So, I switched for the more dangerous option. Perhaps not dangerous for anyone else, but I am notoriously bad with knives. I’m surprised that I still have all 10 fingers attached to my hands.
When I got the pieces cut out it was time to make little holes around the bottom and the top of the big piece, that was going to be the bag. And then it was time for some hammer action! Another situation with potential of me hurting myself.
Each little metal pin had to be ‘closed’ by hitting them with a hammer until the pins were locked together and into the leather. The front buckle was attached the same way, I of course hammering it on with the buckle pointing to the wrong direction at first. Thankfully it wasn’t an irreversible mistake.
After getting the buckles and pins the right way on, you could distinguish the shape of what you were making. Next it was time to sow on the bottom. This was finally familiar ground for me. I fix and resize my own clothes by sowing them by hand all the time. This time the needle and thread were a tad larger, though.
When the bottom was on you already had a functional bag in your hands. At this point I was getting a little bit excited. I had managed to get this far without injuring myself and produced something that looked as it should.
The last thing to do was to cut out 2 pieces of strap with a strap-cutter. The two pieces of strap were then attached to each other with a buckle and pinned on the bag again using the hammer. A little splash of protective spray and you’re done! Champagne time!
The elation that followed creating this piece of wearable accessory stayed with me all the way back to the harbour and on the boat to Estonia in the evening.
The feeling of success is the best! And that’s what I took home from this workshop in addition to a bag that I made myself, and which is completely wearable. No, it’s not perfect, the leather is patchily cut and the bottom is a little askew, but it looks like a bag and it works like a bag!
It’s a bohemian bag, which my collection had a spot available for. And I wore this DIY project out the very next night.
Are you into making your own clothes, accessories or beauty products? What kinds of products do you like making?
On an extra note, this workshop is something that I could take abroad with the PIHKA girls, so if you’d like to take part in a workshop like this, please comment below or e-mail me and I will make it happen. ♥
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