Project: Bowling Ball Bag part II

This has been a boundaries-pushing project for me. I’ve spent hours going back-and-forth in my head about how to assemble it. The original plans call for lacing it together with a running stitch, but that always feels like cheating to me because it’s so easy – I mean, they went that route because this was supposed to be an easy kit, ya know? They even have all the holes marked on the pattern so it will line up.

I could do edge lacing, probably in a double-loop style but that’s never been my gig either – I don’t like the way the edges feel, and the couple of projects I’ve done that way weren’t as durable.

Since the pattern has all of those holes laid out I even considered riveting it for about 3 whole minutes. The nickel finish would certainly be flashy, and would go well with the Hot Rod styling, but again it comes down to being just too easy, and I want to be better than that.

So I’ll sew it. This is of course not an end to the options available, because now I must decide if I sew it normally, or inside-out and inverted. A test piece seemed to be in my future…

20-Sewing opts  21-Sewing opts inside

While a straight-forward edge seam as seen on the right side of the first pic wouldn’t be bad, I don’t think I like the way the edge would go all the way around the bag. Sewing it inside-out and inverting it, however, looks to be a better choice. If you look closely at it, you can see the stitches peeking out in the center of that seam. Can’t have that, now, can we? 

Nope. I’ll have to go with a welt. (Otherwise known as a piped or beaded edge.)This is where you take a long strip of material, fold it in half lengthwise (perhaps with a string running down the fold on thin materials to enhance that ‘bead’) and slip it between the two faces you’re sewing together in such a way that you get a bead running down the center of the seam all the way around.

Motocouture shows a nice example over at

I happen to have a kid leather hide my old man bought for me sitting around doing nothing, so that may be a good use for it.

Continued progress with dyes and paints: first coat, Fiebing’s Saddle Tan applied.

First coat of dye

Now we airbrush the edges in Fiebing’s Pro Dye.

Black edges

And now for Frank’s transformation. I came very close to just leaving it here because of the way the dye job worked out. Both colors were applied by airbrush, and the ability to only lay down dye exactly where I needed it was quite a treat. I’m hooked.

Looking back however I would change one thing: apply the black first. Get a purer black.

Just dyes

Before I get too far into this, I should do a test and see if my paints work they way I think they will. Here’s Frank’s stunt double. I painted the left flames white before testing out the airbrush paints to see how things went, and it’s as I suspected: needs a white base coat to get the true color of the paint.

Paint test

Fiebing’s White “Acrylic Dye for Leather”. They can call it dye all they want, it’s actually paint. Hand-brushed in several layers. Less paint on the flame areas. I didn’t go too deep into the cuts, since I’ll be filling them in with antique later on.

Bone white

And now full-color! The red is from Angelus, (brushed on) and the yellow and orange are ComArt Colors airbrush paints from the local arts supply store. I laid down the yellow everywhere it was needed, and then went over the cuts with orange to highlight, aiming the brush into the flames as I applied. Final touch was more Fiebing’s black in the eye sockets and such.

Well color me handsome

At this point I laid down a couple coats of Fiebing’s Acrylic Resolene, again with the airbrush and began construction – only to realize that not only was my original ball ring ugly, it was too narrow and the feet were positioned in such a way as they would have to go through the stitched seam. So, I made the Mark II Ball Ring:

Mark II ring

This one is 7.5 inches wide and 6inches tall, with only a 3 inch hole. Now those bolts are far enough outboard of the ball that I don’t have to worry about covering them in a layer of leather.

This is how you ring

Next up: the Stitchening!

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