I'm the membership chair for my local quilt guild. We had our monthly board meeting this week, where one of our biggest topics was our upcoming quilt show. Being a newer guild, it's our first one and it got me wondering what the statistics are when it comes to these...Read More
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.
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.
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.
While we’re getting him to clean up, let’s throw in these Folded Leather Baskets from 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Happy birthday to my boy, starting his last year of being a teenager!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The next step was to cut out the lining, so I used the leather piece as a guide and added a seam allowance.
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.
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.
I finished stitching up the lining and added it to the inside of the bag.
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.
I couldn’t have been happier with the way this bag turned out.
Of course, I added a couple of little accessories for the inside. All that remains of the coat at this point is one sleeve.
This is Patty. Does this photo give you some idea of how she felt about it?
The Protect Your Tech Challenge is over, so now I can share my project with you. Every time I think I’m done using the leather I cut off to refashion this coat, I find something new to do with it. Believe it or not, I still have a little bit left, so I can’t guarantee you’ve seen the last of it.
When I was asked to create a holder for a cell phone or tablet using recycled materials, it was important to me that as many of the materials were reused from something else as possible. The only thing I ended up using that was brand new was the thread. Seriously, I draw the line at trying to reuse thread…just, no.
This is what I used:
leather – from refashioned coat
hook and loop – from a duffle bag
D ring – from a bag
clip-on wrist strap – from an old point and shoot camera bag
lining fabric – scraps left from my Pan Protector and Hot Pad project
webbing – from a belt
To create my pattern, I drew a rectangle that measured 3/4” larger than my phone on all sides. My phone is pretty thin (Samsung Galaxy SIII) so be sure to take the thickness of your phone into account when drawing your pattern. I used something with a rounded edge to round the two bottom corners. If I could remember what that was, I’d tell you, but it was probably a jar or something similar.
After you’ve drawn your pattern, cut two pieces from the leather (or whatever fabric you’re using) for the outside and two from the lining fabric. You’ll also need a 1 1/4 by 2” piece of leather for the side loop. Cut the 5/8 to 3/4” wide hook and loop 1 1/2” long. The webbing I used was 1 3/4” wide and had a finished end, so I cut it 3 3/4” long. If you’ll have to finish the end, cut it 1/2” longer, fold it under 1/4” twice and stitch.
Sew the loop piece of the hook and loop to the front leather piece, centered side to side and 2 1/4” from the top edge. Sew the hook piece to the webbing, 1/4” from the finished end.
Fold the 2” sides of the small piece of leather under 1/4” and stitch.
Slip into the D-ring and fold, wrong sides together.
Use binder clips to clip the two remaining pieces of leather right sides together. Slip the D-ring loop into one side with the ring inside, 1” from the top. Stitch 1/4” from the edge, leaving top open. Do the same with the lining, without the D-ring loop, and leave a 4” opening at the bottom.
Turn the lining right side out. Stuff it into the leather piece. Clip the top edges of both together. Slip the webbing between the layers , opposite the front hook and loop (the loop part) with the hook and loop on the webbing facing the lining. In the photo you’ll see my webbing sticking up above the edge, which is only because I started out with it too long. Yours should be even with the edge.
Stitch around, 1/4” from the edge.
Turn right side out through the opening in the bottom of the lining. Stitch the opening closed by hand or machine.
Push the lining to the inside. Roll the seam with your fingers until it is completely turned. Stitch around close to the upper edge.
For the flower embellishment, cut your favorite shape from the leather. I also cut a smaller starburst shape for the center to add a little more texture.
Stitch onto the webbing through the button.
Clip the wrist strap onto the D-ring and it’s finished. If you don’t have a wrist strap, some narrow webbing stitched together and a carabiner of some kind will do the trick.
My phone fits in the case perfectly without my phone cover, however I’d make it larger if you want your cover to stay on.
I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for my project in the challenge. I appreciate the support!
It’s just insane the number of cards we have to keep track of. None of these are credit cards, they’re just the loyalty cards that retailers offer to give you discounts and cash back on purchases. Oh, and my library card. My friend Melinda had a great idea to tame them, which I’ve been using for years…Read More
It’s not every day that I chop into a leather coat. In fact, I don’t remember ever sewing with leather before. But my bravery was rewarded last week with a new short jacket and a big chunk of red leather. I think I was more excited about what I could do with the part I cut off, but I do love my new jacket.
The first thing that came to mind for my extra leather was, maybe obviously, a bag. I decided to work with the bottom hem of the coat as the top of the purse, but this pattern could also be made using regular fabric. I’m big on pockets, so you’ll find lots of those inside. I also like to wear my purse across my body when I’m shopping, so I’ll show you how these straps can be adjusted at the end.
To make this bag, you’ll need a piece of leather or 1/3 yard of medium weight fabric for the outside, 2/3 yard of medium weight fabric for the lining and pockets, an 8” or larger zipper, interfacing, one magnetic purse snap, two sets of large metal grommets and 66 inches of 1” wide webbing.
Cut two pieces from the leather, each measuring 14” across the top, 12” across the bottom and 11” down each side. The sides should angle in 1” on each side from the top to bottom. Measure in 2” from each side and 2” from the bottom at each bottom corner and cut that square away. It should be slightly angled to match the side.
Cut the same shape from the lining fabric.
Also from the lining fabric, cut one piece 9” wide by 8 1/2” tall for the cell phone pocket, one piece 4 1/2” wide by 6 1/2” tall for the lipstick pocket and one piece 8 1/2” wide by 11” tall for the inside of the zipper pocket. I chose to cut the last one from a contrasting fabric, shown in black below.
Fold the small lipstick pocket right sides together. Stitch around all raw edges (using a 1/4” seam, as throughout unless indicated otherwise) leaving 2” open on one side to turn. Clip corners, turn right side out and press. Repeat with the cell phone pocket.
Pin the cell phone pocket 3 1/2” from the top and 2 1/2” from each side on one lining piece. Stitch down both sides and across bottom 1/8” from the edge. Stitch through all layers from top of pocket to bottom 4 1/4” from right side to create two pockets.
Pin the lipstick pocket on the other lining piece, 4/12” from the top and centered between the sides. Stitch the sides and bottom 1/8” from the edge.
Draw a rectangle on the wrong side of the zipper pocket 1/2” from the top, 1/2” from each side and 1/2” wide. Pin above lipstick pocket so the top of the drawn rectangle is 3 1/2” from the top and 3” from each side of the lining piece. Stitch around the rectangle, following the line you drew.
Carefully clip through both layers in the center of the rectangle. Cut through to within 1/4” of each end. From there, clip to each corner as shown by the red lines in the photo below. Do not clip through the stitching.
Grab the bottom edge of the pocket and stuff it through the slit you just cut. Pull it from the back until the entire pocket is behind the lining.
Make sure it’s laying flat on the back and press well from the front. It should look like this from the front.
And this from the back.
Shorten zipper, if necessary, but sewing over teeth and cutting off below. Make sure zipper still extends beyond the opening you just created by at least 1/4”. Pin zipper behind opening, centering the teeth and making sure the pull is accessible from the front. Stitch around the opening, close to the edge, using a zipper foot.
From the back, fold the pocket up so the top edges meet. Press the fold.
Stitch the sides and top of the pocket together, 1/4” from the edges, making sure to move the lining piece out of the way and using caution near the ends of the zipper.
Your pocket should look like this.
Now that all of the pockets are completed, pin both of the lining pieces right sides together. Stitch 1/4” from the sides and bottom, leaving the squares at the corners open.
Press the seams open. Flatten the corners together so the raw edges meet and the seams touch. Stitch 1/4” from the edge.
Repeat with the two leather pieces. Be sure to use binder clips rather than pins to hold the leather.
Turn the leather right side out. Find the center of each side of the lining. Apply a 2” square of heavy interfacing to the wrong side of each side. Mark a dot at the center 1 1/2” from the top edge. Apply the magnetic snap over the dot, following the manufacturer’s instructions, on each side. For mine, that meant cutting a small slit on either side of the dot, pushing the tabs through from the front, adding the back and bending the tabs.
Press the upper edge of the lining toward the wrong side 1/2”. Slip the lining into the leather bag, wrong sides together. Using binder clips, clip the lining to the bag 1/8” from the bag edge.
Top stitch around the top 1/4” from the edge of the leather.
Mark your desired spot for the grommets. Mine are 2 1/2” from the side seam and 1” from the top (to the edge of the hole). Carefully cut the hole through both layers.
Apply the grommets according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I can’t recommend the ones I used because they were without instructions, even on the website they directed me to on the package. As far as I can tell, you put a ring on the front with tabs through the hole, one on the back and bend the tabs over to hold it in place. I like how they turned out, but the lack of instructions was disappointing.
For the strap, cut two pieces of leather, each 4” by 3”. Fold the short sides under 1/2”. Fold right sides together and stitch the long edge.
Turn right side out, which is a bit of work. Center the seam. Slide onto the 66” long piece of webbing to the center. Stitch near each end and 1” in from each side.
Slide the webbing through the grommets on the bag. Push both ends of the webbing into the second leather tube and stitch like the first one.
By keeping both leather pieces on the handle together, this can be a shoulder bag.
But you can also pull one strap up so one leather piece is on the back of the bag…
…and you can wear it as a cross-body bag. Cool, huh?
I chose not to add a bottom to this bag on the inside because I wanted it to stay a little more flexible for cross-body wear, but you could certainly cover a piece of cardboard or plastic and add it if you want it a bit stiffer.
Whew, that’s a lot, right? Well, I’m not done…tune in on Wednesday for another project!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
I’ll show you that, and one or two other reincarnations of my red leather coat, next week!
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.
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!
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.
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.
This is cute. It just is. Find the instructions for this Fun Circles Wrist Cuff at Crochet Spot.
I love these Fabric Cuff Bracelets from Etsy seller Ponder and Stitch. Check out the ones with embroidery. So pretty.
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.
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!