Archive for the ‘handmade’ Category

Sewing: Leather Handmade Tote

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I had hoped to make more of my Christmas gifts this year, but alas, it was only one (besides teacher’s gifts). I made a leather purse for my brother-in-law’s new girl. We all just adore her, so maybe I got a little excited about making something a little extra special for her.

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My friend Susan gave me this rad embossed suede a couple months ago. It’s just a killer color and texture, it was begging to become a purse.

It’s something like a 3 ounce leather, so I couldn’t get too fancy with it with my sewing machine so I made a simple box-bottom tote out of it. My machine didn’t like the leather a whole lot, but it submitted to my will in the end.

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The inside is partially lined with leather, so I didn’t want to sew the straps on to the actual leather (3 layers of leather would have made my machine go out for a pack of bubble gum and never come back). So I punched a hole and affixed brass rivet thingies instead. The rivets took considerable amount of work  as a two-person job. Thankfully I had Chris at the ready to help me make the rivets happen.

Despite the possible headache of the rivets, they’re nice and snug on the leather, so I’m hopeful that they will stand the test of time.

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The inside snaps together with a brass magnetic button. It was kinda evil genius of me to line the top part of the purse with leather since this provides a considerable amount of stabilization for the closure.

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I made two pockets in the interior. They were hard to photograph, but you get the idea. The first pocket is an open pocket that’s flush with where the suede and lining fabric meet.

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The second pocket is my favorite: a zippered pocket for secret surprises. It zips all the way across the tote with pink leather details (not pictured) on either end.

The interior fabric is Jay McCarroll’s Los Angeles City Center. Gifted to me by the lovely Kristin. It’s even more rad in person.

Having finished this first leather tote, I’m stoked to make another! It was a little intimidating, but not as hard as I originally thought!

Sewing: Sporty Maxi Dress with Leather Details

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I didn’t initially plan on making this dress. It happened as I went along. I was hoping to use a knee-length version of this pattern for my ikat fabric.

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Before cutting up the precious yardage, I wanted to test out my vision. I’m glad I did! I love how this dress turned out with the fabric I used, but I don’t think it would’ve made a good fit for my Mood yardage. I’m still trying to figure out my plans for that fabric.

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I used a basic t-shirt block, and cut just above the bust line for an overlapped v-neck with leather piping at the seam. It turned out to be a really nice subtle detail, but if I were to do it again (and I just might), I think I’d create a slight curve to the line so it hits at a more natural spot at my under-arms.

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The fabric itself is a soft knit with silver bumpy dots on it. The texture is really neat, actually. The thin knit is quite stable and opaque as well. I’ve mentioned my need for long sleeves this winter, but I decided that I’d much rather layer sweaters with this dress than tights. I love how it looks with this chunky knit sweater.

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It’s been a really warm fall this year, so it’s been fun to be able to wear long skirts and dresses while out and about.

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Outfit details:

  • earrings: etsy
  • necklace: H&M, Cambria Cove
  • dress: handmade
  • scarf: hand-me-down
  • sweater: c/o SheInside (here)
  • shoes: Forever 21

Check out above for similar grey maxi dresses.

Sponsored: Full-Coverage Wrap Skirt Tutorial

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Inspired by this month’s style theme for the Fiesta Movement, I wonder what styles are out of your comfort zone? Bold patterns? Hats? Harem pants?

Have you seen those little challenges they post monthly? It’s cool what Fiesta Agents have been doing, taking on challenges outside their respective comfort zones. Last month I went outside my comfort zone and sewed up some harem pants, and I’d say they were a hit! I wear them at least once a week (which is tight rotation considering my closet).

I don’t do hats. Maybe that’s next. What clothing item would you like to find within your comfort zone?

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I love this skirt. I didn’t know how much I would wear it because of the bold pattern, but it gets just as much play as the other skirts in my wardrobe. It’s been amazing to wear this fall. My legs don’t freeze to Otter Pop status.

This skirt (as mentioned in the original post) has a super power. It’s a full-coverage wrap skirt. It’s not going to show off my lady bits with a small gust of wind. NO. It’s going to take 15+ mile an hour winds to achieve that.

When you’ve got winds that crazy, you don’t want to be wearing any kind of skirt anyway.

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Now let’s make ourselves a maxi wrap skirt that won’t give you a red-faced Marilyn moment, shall we?

Full-Coverage Maxi Wrap Skirt Tutorial

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Supplies

  • 2 yards rayon challis
  • pins
  • scissors (paper and fabric)
  • seam ripper
  • ruler
  • measuring tape
  • pencil
  • paper
  • large roll of paper
  • sewing machine
  • coordinating thread
  • coordinating buttons
  • iron

You could get away with any drapey fabric. A knit, a silk georgette or a cotton lawn. Rayon challis is going to give you a lot of drape and it’s not terribly expensive.

If you don’t have a large roll of butcher paper on-hand, several small sheets taped together will do. You’ll still want a large-ish floor or table space to draft up your pattern.

Let’s get drafting!

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Sewing Harem Pants – Out of My Comfort Zone

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Confidence is key when wearing anything beyond just jeans and a tee. That confidence has waxed and waned in the last few years. But mostly waned.

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I also have ridiculous fit and texture sensitivities which makes branching out into atypical silhouettes really hard for me. But I really want to give harem pants a try. And I did this week. I’m still deciding if I love or hate them.

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I guess they’re growing on me. I’ve worn them mostly all day. At least the fabric is awesome.

Like super awesome. I wish I had made these in the thick of summer when it was super hot. I got this fabric in LA’s fabric district. There’s a black/pink colorway version available here.

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I nearly asked Chris, “Do these pants make my butt look fat?” before realizing it’s a question that should never be asked. By anyone. Ever.

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There’s a disconnect between how I feel they look and what I see in the mirror (and these photos). And I want to get over that disconnect and feel confident in them all the time.

Do you have any pieces in your closet like that?

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Outfit details:

Click to read more about the sewing process (warts and all. I mean all warts).

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Leather Tag Bracelet Tutorial DIY

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I’m doing much better with my efforts to wear more interesting outfits and accessories. I’m also doing better at putting on make-up in the morning.

I should qualify – I’m putting on make-up about two to three times a week. I’m putting on cute outfits when I leave the house which is also two to three times a week.

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There are some really hot moms of 4+ kids in my neighborhood. I really don’t know how they do it. Maybe there’s an apprentice-ship that I could apply for?

One of my neighbors came over the other week to help me shoot some DIYs. We made this little leather tag bracelet and a wood and leather bracelet (tutorial to come next week). They were quick and fun. I’d say both were perfect for a range of skill levels. You could have one of these finished in about 15-20 minutes. Let’s get started, shall we?

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