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Behind The Scenes

Check Out Sara Barner’s Multipurpose Workspace in Portland

Now that it’s filled with pretty wood, leafy greens, and carefully crafted leather goods, you’d never know Sara Barner’s Portland, Oregon, studio-slash-showroom was once a Ford auto assembly plant. The cozy space was designed and built by her architect boyfriend—we nominate Ryan Gosling for the rom-com adaptation—and furnished by Sara. Take a look at what she’s done with the place. —koun bae “The space itself was super raw—a concrete box basically—so the wood is meant to feel warmer.” “I have a front area curtained off—it’s a small space that is the showroom—and the back area is the workshop and studio.” “My boyfriend builds furniture, so he pretty much built all my work tables for me and my display furniture. He really helped me figure out the layout of my space. It was so convenient!” “The studio is also pretty minimal and functional, but then I’ve definitely nested in here a lot—I have my little collections of stuff. It’s probably only about 350 or 400 square feet, so even though the furniture is minimal, it filled up pretty quickly.” Come back tomorrow to see what Sara made from her sweet Portland workshop.
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Sara Barner Crafts a Bag

Since she started working in a leather shop part-time during college, accessories designer Sara Barner has learned all sorts of tricks. Two things you need to craft bags as lovely as hers? “Nice material will make a really big difference and…lots of patience,” she laughs, reflecting on how much time goes into making one of her killer creations. Below, she takes us through everything involved in crafting one of her most simple bags. —koun bae “This leather is called English bridle, and it’s a vegetable-tanned leather that I get in the States. Right now, I work with three different kinds of leather. The bridle is a heavier, stiffer—it has a more raw quality to it. The bag I’m making for Of a Kind is lambskin, and that’s a really soft, thinner leather that needs to get lined. I don’t know the quality of a leather until I see it and feel it, so it’s a long process to find really nice leather to work with. Once I find it, I kind of stick with it.” “I examine the skin and map out the pieces that I need to cut. There are scars and marks on the skin that I have to work around. I usually cut the leather with a rotary cutter.” “The body of the bag is pieced out, and then I use the strap cutter for cutting the long pieces for the handles. That allows me to cut an even, straight piece.” “I punch the holes for where the hand-stitching needs to happen on the handles.” “And then I assemble the body of the bag and sew it with an industrial machine.” “After the bag is all sewn together, I trim around the sewn edges with a rotary cutter, and then dye and polish the edges so that they have a dark, shiny finish. I do the same for the straps.” “Once that happens, the handles get hand-stitched to the bag with a waxed linen thread. It’s pretty labor-intensive!” “I don’t usually make one bag at a time, since it’s more efficient to make a few at a time, but one bag takes at least a few hours to make.” The edition Sara made for us is coming in the morning! Don’t miss it…
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