Posts Tagged ‘leather’
Monday, May 6th, 2013
Inspiration: This coated linen and leather tote from Bottega Veneta, available at Neiman Marcus for $750.
Spring is finally here and that meant I needed a new tote bag to schlep my shoes and magazines around in. The black leather tote I made a few months ago served me well this past fall and winter, but I was craving something new. My caveats: a bag that was unstructured, lightweight, and combined fabric and leather. The Bottega Veneta bag, above, was perfect! (Except for the $750 price tag; yikes.)
Here’s my version of the Bottega Veneta tote.
For the fabric part of my knock-off bag I used an off-white, coated linen from Marc Jacobs, which, sadly, is all gone. For the leather portion I used a black washable leather that is very soft and easy to sew. Plus, washable! (Dmitry, our leather department manager, sewed little britches out of this washable leather for his toddler son. How cute is that.)
Sewing a tote bag is pretty straightforward. Determine the size you want and make a quick muslin first just to make sure you’ve gotten the proportions right. (I always tend to screw up a bit when I factor in the depth.) My bag measures 15 inches tall by 15 inches wide by 4.5 inches deep, with a 10 inch handle drop.
I like that my bag is soft and scrunchy, with no hard edges. You know how packed with people this part of Manhattan is, and nobody likes to get bumped by a hard bag.
I constructed the coated linen part of the bag first, then I made the leather “bottom” which I fitted and then stitched onto the linen bag. I used a pinking rotary blade to mimic the Bottega Veneta bag’s serrated leather edge. If you look inside my bag all you see is the uncoated linen, which makes it look like I lined the bag.
For the top edge of the bag, where the handles are attached, I simply pressed and turned a 2-inch facing, twice. Like the real BV bag, I didn’t even bother to stitch the edge of the facing in place. I took the bag and the handles to Star Snaps down the block from Mood NYC at 262 W 38th St, #202, and for $12 had twelve studs put in place to anchor the handles.
A glimpse of the inside. The uncoated part of the linen looks like a lining. You can see how I just turned the facing under, securing it with the studs on the handles.
That’s all there was to making this tote. I love it soooooooo much and carry it to work every day. If you’re thinking of making your own similar tote, our two stores have coated fabrics to choose from, plus I found this coated linen online (but order a swatch first as I’m not personally familiar with this particular fabric). We have a large selection of faux leathers online as well.
Have you made a tote bag that you just love? Tell us about it here!
Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
This is my salute to camo — it’s really hot right now! We’ve seen it on runways for DKNY and even Valentino; but, I wanted a functional way to wear it. You know, an accent piece that I would get more wear out of then say with a top or a jacket. So, I opted to make a clutch. I combined the camouflage (which you can find at Mood Fabrics, here) with a few textural elements like the tassel and leather (you can grab some great faux vinyl/leather also at Mood, here)…and I’m killin’ a bunch of Spring/Summer fashion trends at once. Tell me what you think. Are you a fan of this neutral pattern?
SUPPLIES: needle and thread, zipper (11.5 inches), rotary cutter, straight pins, faux leather/vinyl, camouflage fabric, silk lining, scissors, wash cloth & iron (optional), and a sewing machine (note: can be hand sewn).
1. Cut out two camo rectangles (mine were 13 x 10 inches), and two leather rectangles (13 x 3inches).
2. Pin one leather rectangle to camo rectangle. Place raw edges together, right sides facing each other.
3. Flip it over and sew on wrong side. Repeat for other camo/leather section.
4. Cut two pieces of silk out for lining. (Note: I used my new attached camo/leather rectangle as my guide for what size I would need).
5. Take your zipper face down and pin it to the top edge of the right side of a piece of your camo/leather rectangle AND one piece of the silk (Note: If you happen to find a zipper that is too long, feel free to do what I did here to shorten it).
6. Sew these three pieces together.
7. It may be a little tricky to work around zipper head. You’ll want to sew as close to the teeth as possible, so after sewing about an inch, pull zipper head back. (Note: You’ll move it back into position as you go along).
8. Right sides facing, take the other camo/leather piece and silk and lay it on top of the other side. Pin the free side of the zipper to these pieces along the raw edge.
9. Sew the zipper on.
10. Be sure to watch out for the zipper pull like in Step #7.
11. It’s time to sew it all together! Use straight pins to give yourself about a half inch seam allowance on the remaining three sides.
12. Go ahead and sew it all up.
13. Before you get to that last side….be sure to open up zipper a few inches so you can get it open once you are done sewing.
14. Cut corners of bag off at an angle on both sides.
15. Flip bag to the right side.
16. Take a piece of leather about 7.5 inches in length, and cut about 7 thin strips of leather for your tassel with the rotary cutter.
17. Fit leather strips through zipper head.
18. Take one leather strip and wrap it firmly around the head of the bundle of strips three times.
19. Hand stitch this binding strip to the bundle of strips for security. Cut off excess.
20. If your fabric is puckering at all, feel free to iron it out, applying a damp cloth over the leather portion.
Brandhyze Stanley is the chief voice of Frugal-nomics.com; a platform designed to share with women how to live and look fabulous on a dime. She’s also a finalist in the voting contest for ALL YOU MAGAZINE’S Smartest Shopper. A DIY girl at heart—Brandhyze has been featured on The View, The Early Show, The Today Show, InStyle Magazine, Essence Magazine, and MTVStyle. A Wilhelmina Model for nearly a decade, with a Business Degree from Loyola University Chicago, Brandhyze is a Fashion & Style Writer and Video Contributor for Newsday Westchester, and provides DIY content to the popular How-To Site, eHow. Brandhyze is a huge thrifter and a lover of all good deals, follow her on Twitter @MyFrugalnomics and on Facebook at Facebook.com/Frugalnomics.
Monday, April 1st, 2013
Was I the only one who sat in awe after the Super Bowl half time show last month? Not only at Beyonce’s performance – I mean Kelly and Michelle were a refreshing throwback — but of Beyonce’s COSTUME? I literally said out loud when she flashed that winning smile at the end….”now THAT’S HOT!” So, I don’t need to tell you how excited I was to learn that the very designer of Bey’s costume (his name is Rubin Singer)….got the guipure lace from Mood Fabrics NYC. Welllllll….that’s all I needed to hear. I marched up to Mood, stalked the fancy lace section, got my hands on a secondhand leather vest, and got to work.
Supplies: Leather vest, guipure lace, rotary cutter, scissors, straight pins, tape measure, straight edge, pen, sewing machine, and/or needle and thread. (Note: you can use fabric paint or spray paint to dye lace if you’d like).
1. Wrap lace around your body, or mannequin to estimate where lace will fall and how much you’ll need.
2. I used masking tape here, but it would be just as easy to use straight pics to section off a guide to what part of the design you want to include BEFORE you cut.
3. Cut out the “U” shaped form of lace you’ll be working with — slowly snipping pieces of the lace close to the edge that won’t be included in your design.
4. I wanted a slightly darker shade than what was available, but this step is totally optional. To change lace color, feel free to use fabric paint or even spray paint to do the job. (Note: I tried RIT dye initially, but unfortunately it didn’t work).
5. Use tape measure and pen to mark out the deep “V’s” of leather that you’ll remove from the abdomen area of the vest.
6. Use a rotary cutter to precisely cut the leather.
7. With straight pins, hem the rough edges of the vest that are left after you cut out the V’s.
8. With a half inch seam allowance, hem the leather V’s.
9. Hand stitch lace onto the inner lining of the vest.
Brandhyze Stanley is the chief voice of Frugal-nomics.com; a platform designed to share with women how to live and look fabulous on a dime. A DIY girl at heart—Brandhyze has been featured on The View, The Early Show, The Today Show, InStyle Magazine, Essence Magazine, and MTVStyle. A Wilhelmina Model for nearly a decade, with a Business Degree from Loyola University Chicago, Brandhyze is a Fashion & Style Writer and Video Contributor for Newsday Westchester, and provides DIY content to the popular How-To Site, eHow. Brandhyze is a huge thrifter and a lover of all good deals, follow her on Twitter @MyFrugalnomics and on Facebook at Facebook.com/Frugalnomics.
Thursday, January 24th, 2013
SUPPLIES: Leather, Fleece, Fabric Glue, Velcro, Heavy Duty Thread, Regular Thread, Upholstery Needle, Tape Measure, Needle, Rotary Cutter, Straight Pins, Wash Cloth, Scissors, Iron, and a Sewing Machine.
1. You are going to create two rectangles. For the first, pin a piece of leather and felt together, right sides facing each other. My Macbook Pro laptop is 13 in x 9 in (length x height), so I want to make this first rectangle 14 in x 17.5 in (Note: I added an inch to the length for the seam allowance, and then added 8.5 in to the height to account for the flap).
2. Cut it out.
3. Take the first rectangle which is 14 in x 17.5 in, and make a chalk mark 10.5 in from the bottom for the fold line.
4. Make a second mark one inch above the fold line (So it’s 11.5 in from the bottom).
5. To create my top flap, I made a chalk mark in the top center (For me, directly at 7 in).
6. I want the point of my flap to be 9 in in total, so I made a chalk mark 4.5 in on either side of the center line I created.
7. From the 11.5 in mark you made along the side, draw a diagonal up to the 4.5 in marks you made on the left and right side of the center mark.
8. Sew just around the edge of the top flap and about a half inch down the straight away of the sides.
9. Here’s what Step 8 looks like; now remove pins.
10. Turn this flap to the correct side.
11. Measure the desired length of the velcro, add glue, and adhere it to the inner flap.(Note: I add glue to hold it in place, and then later hand stitch it for added security, or sew it on with the machine with the regular thread).
12. Now you grab two more pieces of leather and felt, rights sides facing each other to create a second rectangle –this one will be 14 in x 10.5 in and will serve as the front of your laptop case.
13. Take this second rectangle and sew along the diagonal on one side as pictured (Note: Right sides are still facing together).
14. Step 13 will look like this.
15. Turn this second rectangle on the right side.
16. Take a damp wash cloth and lay it on both pieces to iron out any bulges.
17. Take the second rectangle and pin it to the front of the first rectangle (well…now, it’s more of a trapezoid); right sides together. Be sure to pin it 1/4 in below 11.5 in mark you made (So that’s in between fold line and this second line).
18. Sew the whole thing together on both sides and the bottom.
19. So you are certain you place bottom piece of velcro in just the right place; insert your laptop, stick bottom velcro onto top velcro every so lightly, apply glue, and press it into place. Let dry for a few minutes before removing laptop — I advise stitching it on for added security.
Brandhyze Stanley is the chief voice of Frugal-nomics.com; a platform designed to share with women how to live and look fabulous on a dime. A DIY girl at heart—Brandhyze has been featured on The View, The Early Show, The Today Show, MTVStyle, Essence Magazine, and TJMaxx.com. A Wilhelmina Model for nearly a decade, with a Business Degree from Loyola University Chicago, Brandhyze is a Fashion & Style Writer and Video Contributor for Newsday Westchester, and provides DIY content to the popular How-To Site, eHow. Brandhyze is a huge thrifter and a lover of all good deals, follow her on Twitter @MyFrugalnomics and on Facebook at Facebook.com/Frugalnomics.
Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
I made this simple unlined leather tote bag using a regular home sewing machine. The leather is Ralph Lauren closeout leather available at Mood NYC.
“I’m afraid to sew leather!” We hear that from customers all the time at Mood. Would you believe that leather can actually be quite easy and simple to sew? And that you can sew lightweight leather on your home sewing machine without any special equipment? Read on for Mood’s tips on working with leather:
• Start small with your first leather project, just to get the feel for working with leather. My first leather piece was a basic tote bag. Very often leather dealers will have small scraps you can buy to practice on.
• Buy your leather from a place that will take the time to show you the types of skins that are appropriate for your project. Excuse the shameless plug for Mood’s leather department, but Dmitry (shown below) is really wonderful about patiently advising customers on the different types of skins and what will and won’t work.
• For your first leather garment, take a cue from today’s fashions and only sew a part of the garment in leather. For example, you could make a jersey t-shirt with the sleeves in leather, or a wool dress with just the front yoke in leather. One skin can usually give you two short sleeves or part of a bodice, saving you money on leather.
• Bring your muslin or pattern pieces with you to the leather store so you can lay out your pieces on the skin. Skins vary in size, and you can save several dollars by buying just the right size skin for your needs.
• Use a rotary cutter to cut out your pattern. Use weights to hold your muslin in place as you cut.
• Only sew with leather when you are alert and using all your smarts. Mistakes in leather can be fatal because needle holes show. Set your machine speed to turtle, and think, think, think every step of the way. Remember, you can take in leather seams but you can’t let them out because the stitching holes will sew.
• Seams can be topstitched or pressed open and glued in place with Stitch Witchery or contact cement.
• Leather can be pressed with an iron (press on wrong side of hide) or pounded with a rubber mallet.
• Wonder Clips (Clover) are perfect for holding pieces together in lieu of pins as you stitch. (Pins leave permanent holes.)
• Use a stitch length of about 3.0 for seams, longer for topstitching.
Tools for sewing leather:
• Universal sewing machine leather needles in sizes 90/14 or 100/16 (I’ll admit I’ve used regular sewing machine needles and haven’t had a problem with them)
• Regular nylon or poly thread
• Teflon sewing machine foot (doesn’t get stuck on the leather like a regular foot can)
• Stitch Witchery for adhering seam allowances flat
• Leather glue/contact cement can also be used to hold leather in place
• Rotary cutter (you can cut leather with sharp scissors too)
• Wonder clips from Clover (available at Mood NYC)
• Rubber mallet for flattening seams and other areas
This is Dmitry of Mood’s leather department. Every time I start a new leather project I go to him for tips. He’s incredibly helpful.
Mood is holding a class on learning to sew leather on Monday, November 5, 5:30 p.m., on the Home Decor floor. It’s taught by noted sewing instructor Kenneth D. King, and he’ll let you in on all the ins and outs of working with leather. Click here to register today.