I kind of hate sharing the unfinished things, but since it's been a while since I posted and since it will be a while before I get the buttons made and all the leather work done......
My intentions are to finish the bags with some black camel leather I got in Morocco. So the photos are of unfinished bags- they still need to be stretched and blocked and then I'll add all the leather lacings and trim. So you will see from the photos that they are clearly unfinished at this stage!
This first bag has 3 front pockets that angle their way up the bag. I felted it in one flat piece (so front and backs together) and I plan to use a wide piece of leather to form the bottom and gusset on one side (the fold between the front and back of the felt will become the "other") side of the bag and then I will braid from the same leather an over the shoulder length strap using 4 or 6 strands for a round braid (depending on which scale looks best with the dimensions of the bag). This bag, once folded and gusseted will measure approx. 8" by 10" with about a 1.5-2" gusset. It looks rather awkward at this stage because the gusset is not built in yet and the button keeping the flap down is not yet done.
I also think I will end up doing some sort of stitching along the angled front pocket edges to make them more pronounced. The pieces of silk fabric I placed on each angle intending them to delineate the edge, got too muted so I feel like they need some sort of emphasis.
I added a very thin layer of black karakul lamb between 3 thick merino layers on each side thinking that the inner strength of the karakul would add structure but the 3 layers of merino on either side would keep the karakul "invisible". But the karakul worked its way to the surface, so the colors of the collage are not so vibrant as I planned on. I did get the structure I wanted, but the muting of the collage was an unanticipated consequence of that fiber layout decision.
And here is the second, work in progress. I used the same piece of collaged felt, but kept this bag simpler and larger. It will be a shoulder bag (not cross chest) and after blocking it I will work a leather edging and handles. On this bag, I worked the gusset into the felt so will not use leather for that purpose - just for braiding and trimming. I used just black merino as the base for this bag.
The back (or front - since I haven't decided which is which, yet) is similar but different and I forgot to snap photos of this. This bag is approx. 15" x 12" and has a 2" gusset.