Friday Favorites–Leather

Nineteen years ago today, I was in the hospital, ready to bring my little boy into the world.  He wasn’t due for another few days, but my doctor was concerned about his size and wanted to induce me.  When he made his appearance, all 9 pounds and 4 ounces of him, I was thankful I listened to that advice.  He’s no chubby baby anymore, but about six feet tall and all muscle.  He’s also finding some domestic interests, like cooking and leather working, which means there’s a very good chance he’ll be able to survive on his own one of these days.

Leather - Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites

I’ll start off with the project that most reminded me of my son.  He rescued an ax that was about to be thrown away a few years ago and refurbished it back to usable condition.  I could see him taking it one step further and making it this Leather Mask from Survival Sherpa.

Tucker and I just started watching a new show together last night called Forever.  I won’t go into the whole story, but it centers around an immortal medical examiner.  In a recent episode, he pulled out his autopsy tools, which were in a leather roll and included a bowie knife.  I’m pretty sure that was the point my son decided he was hooked.  Now he can make one for himself, thanks to this Leather Tool Roll tutorial from Caila Made.

Ever since he started working with leather, wallets seem to be his thing.  He’s got two in the works right now, with another one to follow.  Maybe when he’s done with those, I’ll start hinting by showing him this wallet pattern from The Art of Manliness.

Leather Wallet by The Art of Manliness

Our house has a half-basement, with a bedroom at the back that used to be my sewing studio.  My son traded with me a few years ago (yay!) and proceeded to pretty much take over the whole basement.  We literally have a man cave.  Maybe I could get him to organize it a little with this Sling Magazine Rack from Design Sponge.

Sling Magazine Rack by Design Sponge

While we’re getting him to clean up, let’s throw in these Folded Leather Baskets from Between the Lines.

Folded Leather Basket by Between the Lines

This Woven Belt Seat from Saved by Love Creations is definitely a project I could see Tucker doing.  And it would coordinate with all of his other leather items he’ll be making!

Woven Belt Seat by Saved by Love Creations

Nieces and nephews are probably a few years away, but when the time comes these DIY Moccasins for Children from A Beautiful Mess will be on his radar.

DIY Moccasins for Children by A Beautiful Mess

I wonder if I could get him to squeeze in a bracelet for me from some of his scraps?  Any one of these Three DIY Leather Bracelets from Lia Griffith would be okay with me.

Three DIY Leather Bracelets by Lia Griffith

While we’re at it, I probably need a matching necklace.  How about this Dragon Tail Necklace from Michele Made Me?  You know, just so he can improve his skills. 

Dragon Tail Necklace by Michele Made Me

I’ll save these beautiful Leather Flowers from Funny Squirrel for somewhere down the road when he’s looking to challenge himself a bit.  And make Mom very happy.

Leather Flowers by Funny Squirrel

Happy birthday to my boy, starting his last year of being a teenager!

Cedar Log Ring Bearer Box

I don’t remember how it started, whether my son volunteered or my daughter asked, but it came to be that my son, Tucker, was assigned the job of making something for the ring bearer to carry the rings in for the wedding ceremony.  It seemed appropriate since Tucker was the best man and would have to remove them from whatever he came up with in front of a crowd of people. 

Cedar Log Wedding Ring Bearer Box - Crafty Staci 1

Tucker took all the metals classes his high school had to offer, and threw in wood shop near the end.  His dad is a wood worker, so he had a bit of experience in that area already.  Recently, he’s also taken up leather working, so he didn’t have any trouble coming up with an idea for the ring box.  He spent hours in the school shop, then at home after he graduated, lovingly turning a plain log into an heirloom his sister and new brother-in-law will treasure forever.

Cedar Log Wedding Ring Bearer Box - Crafty Staci 2

Once he had finished the box, we talked about what should go inside.  He had carefully carved out a rectangular hole, which seemed perfect to fit a pillow into.  He was planning to sew the pillow himself, but time was running short, so I took care of it for him.  I’ll be explaining more about this in a future story, but I made the pillow out of a piece of my cut-up wedding dress and a leather cord.

Cedar Log Wedding Ring Bearer Box - Crafty Staci 3

The ring bearer, my nephew Greyson, carried that box like a champ.  He’s a little hard to spot in this photo, but it’s the only one I have of him so far.  He was the best ring bearer ever!

Cedar Log Wedding Ring Bearer Box - Crafty Staci 4

I was a little worried it would be hard for Tucker to unbuckle those leather straps when it was time to hand over the rings.  I should have known better than to think he’d do that to himself.

Cedar Log Wedding Ring Bearer Box - Crafty Staci 5

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen my son work on something with such care for so long as he did this box.  He and his sister are very close, and I know he wanted to make her something special, not only for the wedding, but as a keepsake to remember what a great day it was.  He hit it out of the park.

Cedar Log Wedding Ring Bearer Box - Crafty Staci 6

Red Leather Coat, Round Two

About a year and a half ago, I cut into a long red leather coat that I’d had for almost two decades but had never worn.  I ended up with a shortened jacket, a purse, a phone case, a loyalty card holder and, of course, a coffee cup sleeve

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 1
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 1

My friend Patty, whose office I volunteer for at my son’s high school, saw all of the transformed items first hand.  It got her thinking about a red leather coat that had been passed on to her from another friend.  That coat turned up at school one day a few months ago in a plastic bag with my name on it. 

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 2
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 2

I decided two things when I saw this coat.  The first was that whatever I made from it was going right back to Patty.  The second was that I was going to try to keep those slash pockets.  The logical choice to reform the coat was a into bag, but rather than draw up a pattern, I decided to let the coat’s shape speak to me as I went.  Very Zen.  I started out by removing the lining and interfacing.  If you ever want to learn a thing or two about clothing construction, try some deconstruction.

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 3
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 3

After I’d gutted it, I started cutting.  I originally thought I would keep the button placket but noticed there was some damage around the buttons, so I cut it off.  I also cut across just below the arm holes and just above the fold for the bottom seam.  At that point I was just aiming for the largest piece of leather I could get, but I liked the shape of it, so I stitched the middle together to create the basic bag shape.

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 4
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 4

The next step was to cut out the lining, so I used the leather piece as a guide and added a seam allowance.

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 5
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 5

I sewed patch pockets onto one side of the lining and added a zipped pocket to the other.  I wanted some reinforcement for the magnetic closure, so I also added an extra strip of fabric to the area where they would be applied.  It also gave the top of the purse a little more body.

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 6
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 6

I realized my purse still had a waist, so I gave it some belt loops.  This would also solve the problem of my seams not matching up perfectly in the front because I could cover the area with a belt.  I considered using the original collar as an accent at the top of the bag, but decided even my beast of a sewing machine wouldn’t survive that many layers of leather.

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 7
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 7

I finished stitching up the lining and added it to the inside of the bag.

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 8
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 8

Rather than make the strap entirely from leather, I used one of the lining fabrics instead and added a strip of leather down the middle as an accent.

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 9
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 9

I couldn’t have been happier with the way this bag turned out.

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 10
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 10

Of course, I added a couple of little accessories for the inside.  All that remains of the coat at this point is one sleeve.

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 11
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 11

This is Patty.  Does this photo give you some idea of how she felt about it?

Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 12
Red Leather Coat Refashion - Crafty Staci 12

My Red Leather Coat

As I promised a couple of days ago, I’m here to tell you the story of my red leather coat.  It’s a tale of love, disappointment and rebirth.  You’ll love the ending – it’s a happy one.

Years ago, I was a loan officer at a credit union.  Those were my skirts and heels days.  At the time, there was a clothing chain called Lerner’s.  This was also before the internet, so I used to get their catalogs in the mail.  One day, one of those catalogs landed at my house with a long, red leather coat inside.  I was in love. 

leather coat 1
leather coat 1

I ordered the coat and waited anxiously for it to arrive.  When it finally did, I was pretty disappointed.  The coat was so stiff, it could stand up by itself.  When I put it on, I couldn’t even move.  But I loved the color and just didn’t want to admit I’d made a mistake.  I hung it in the closet. 

About 18 years later (not kidding!) it still hung there.  I pulled it out every couple of years or so, tried it on, remembered why it was there, and put it back.  A few months ago, I moved it to my craft room.  I decided you can’t really ruin something that’s been with you for that long and NEVER, EVER worn.

I decided to start by shortening it to a jacket.  I cut a large chunk off the bottom, then hung it back up for a few more months.  Ok, maybe I was still a tiny bit intimidated.

leather coat 2
leather coat 2

I did a little research on altering leather, but in the end I cowboy-ed it.  Big time.  I pulled the stitching out of the lining enough so I could fold the bottom up an inch. 

leather coat 3
leather coat 3

I clipped it up with binder clips.  I stitched from one side to the other, overlapping the top of the leather with the folded-under edge of the lining.  I didn’t take photos of any of that, probably because even I was afraid of what I was doing.

I’ve never sewn leather before, but my little sewing machine was a beast.  Even the parts so thick I could barely fit it under the foot.

I don’t know why, but my crazy attempt actually worked.  Close inspection of the inside gives me away, but I love the way it turned out!

leather coat 4
leather coat 4

Because of the cut of the original coat, the jacket ended up with a bit of a peplum effect in the back, which I really like.

leather coat 5
leather coat 5

Cutting off all that extra leather really helped with the flexibility of it.  This, I will wear!  See, I told you there would be a happy ending.

Now, you may be asking, what happened to all that leather you cut off the bottom?  Here’s a sneak peek:

leather coat 6
leather coat 6

I’ll show you that, and one or two other reincarnations of my red leather coat, next week!

Friday Favorites–Bracelets

I love bracelets.  That’s probably obvious, considering I’ve covered paracord, recycled T-shirt and braided leather versions and included a couple of them in my Quick and Easy Gifts on Friday Favorites .  I don’t usually wear them much this time of year because I’m completely cold-blooded and can’t even think about short sleeves until at least May.  But there are so many cute ones out there, and we need time to get them made, right? 

I love the simplicity of this Button Bracelet from Little Miss Momma.  I could make this without even going to the store.  That’s always a good thing.

Antique_Mart_and_Button_Tutorial_092-1

I keep trying to get my daughter to make one of these Soda Can Tab Bracelets like the one shown here from CraftyPanda.  Another user on the message board suggests a product for painting the tabs.  Go look…they did red, my favorite!

sodatab09

I have to try these Yarn Bangles from Keely’s Korner.  A few basic bangles and some cute yarn and I could have them to match everything I own, including a few scarves.  My kind of jewelry.

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How about a gift of money and jewelry at the same time?  Sounds extravagant, doesn’t it?  This Money Bracelet from Under the Table and Dreaming makes the idea a little more accessible.

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You know I’m a sucker for repurposing old jeans.  This Denim Bracelet from Mich L. in L.A. makes me want to go tear a pair up.

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This is cute.  It just is.  Find the instructions for this Fun Circles Wrist Cuff at Crochet Spot.

I want to try making a Chain Maille Bracelet like this one from Ellifolks.  I just need to get together all those rings.  And I need them to be in colors.  No problem, right?

I love these Fabric Cuff Bracelets from Etsy seller Ponder and Stitch.  Check out the ones with embroidery.  So pretty.

il_570xN_206767027

I’m sure this zipper fad is winding down, but I still like them.  I’ve had my eye on this Zipper Bracelet from Cut Out and Keep for way too long.

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This last bracelet, called Lederschleifenarmband, is from a German blog called Maikitten.  Of course you can translate it, but there’s really no need.  The photos tell the whole story.

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I have a new tutorial I’m excited to share with you next week.  This post might give you a hint as to what it is!