How to make a leather tassel

Leather tassels on purses can be a great accent.  They can go on the zipper, or just hang off the handle.  I also use these for my keys.  I tend to have large purses, and it is much easier to find my keys when it is attached to a bit of fringe.

This is how I make these leather tassels, though, I am certain there are many other ways.  (Yes, my cutting mat has seen better days.  I tend to do multiple crafts on it, and it gets a bit messy!)

  1. Cut out a piece of leather. You can roll the leather to figure out how thick you would like the tassel.  Some leather is thicker than others, so it will be larger when rolled.  This piece is 6″ long and 13″ wide.  I usually cut somewhere around 10″ wide.  The length, again, is personal preference.  I sometimes keep the natural edge of the hide.  I do these for two reasons.
    • One:  I don’t like to waste the leather.
    • Two: It’s an interesting edge.

This piece sat next to an oil tanned hide, which leached into this one.  The discoloration will look fine on the tassel.

2.  Next, you need to take a straight edge and a rotary cutter to cut the fringe.  I make them roughly 1/4 inch apart, and stop it at 1.5 inches from the top.  You can use a scissors, but rotary cutters work really well for this.

3.  Now that the fringe is cut, you need a little strap for the top.  This is around 1″ x 4″.  I just rough cut the length to make sure it is long enough to go into the fringe.

4.  Using a glue (here are two options), spread the glue across the entire top piece.  I used a bit too much on this one.  You could also use something like a school glue, too, if you don’t have access to these.

5.  Place the top strap at the inside edge, and tightly wrap the fringe.  Make sure the top is even as you wrap it.  The glue leaked out a bit on this, since I went a bit too aggressive with it.

6.  Next, I put a contrast leather around the top piece.  Cut to size.  I suggest cutting a little wider than you think you will need.  This should have been a smidge wider.  I added some “bling” to dress this up.  You can also add decorative rivets.

7.  Sew the contrast piece to the top.  Generally, I want to have to stretch it to fit, so it fits tightly.

8.  Add a split ring and snap to finish it off.   Usually the snap piece needs to be wide enough to fit over a purse’s hardware.  I also had purchased some odds and ends on clearance at Michaels, and this stone worked perfectly!

Now you have a lovely fringe for your purse or keys!

 

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Some winter sewing with Poe

This was a sample sewed up for Fabric Anthropology, and the theme of this round is Horror and Halloween related.  Edgar Allen Poe is not really Halloween-ish, but he was a bit of a darker writer.  It fits the theme.  One of my favorite works of his was The Telltale Heart.  He was probably one of the first well-known horror writers.

One of his more popular narrative poems was The Raven, published in 1845:

The Raven

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“‘Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
            Only this and nothing more.”

 

This print is a rendering of Edgar Allen Poe, along with ravens on a blue and grey background. The fabric base is double brushed poly with a good weight to it, so it will be warm in the fall and winter.  The sleeves are made from a fleece backed poly for warmth.

I wanted to put some feathers into my top, so I drew up some feathers and put them together into a design (cut file in the folder linked on the sidebar – added one that looks like wings).

I adhered them to the fabric with my new heat press.  Wow, does that go on so much faster than an iron!  The bad part is that it takes forever to heat up.  I will make sure I do batches of HTV, so I don’t have to reheat it too often (it is also a bit smelly).

I added some strips of blue, grey and the print to the bottom of the sleeves.  I thought it would add a bit of interest and tie the print and it’s colors into the sleeve.

The pattern here is the Sneha by Wardrobe by Me (shocker, I know).  I added a little length to the top part, and instead of cutting as one piece, I added a strip of black ponte in between to break it up a bit.  The cowl is black ponte and a grey sweater knit.  I made it to fit into the neckline with no stretching, and it ended up about 32″ wide by around 12″ long.

The pre-order with this print includes several prints related to horror and Halloween geared movies.  Go check it out if that is your thing!

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Rogue Tranquility Shorts & Tank/Dress

Sara at RP Custom Fabrics has decided to venture into pattern making, and I tested her first two patterns.  She is giving these away for free, but you need to join her group to get the code for them.

Tranquility Shorts

Tranquility Tank/Dress

The first pattern is a pair of shorts with the curved open side on them.  These were pretty easy to whip up, and I would suggest a nice thick cotton lycra or brushed poly for them.

This pair had the foldover yoga band on them.  I really should have used a fabric with better recovery for the band, so I might be taking this one off and putting another on. This pair was the first draft, so I ended up making it larger than my second pair.

The tank top is the Wardrobe by Me Builder t-shirt, since this panel was too small for the Tranquility Tank.  The image went up too high on it, and would have gone into the neckline.  Anyone know what show it is from? 🙂  The fabric came from Sugar Ink, but I believe it is sold out now.

This pair I put elastic in the waistband with a drawstring to make it all fancy.  I made a size 8, since my hips are narrow compared to my waist.   My waist is a larger size, but I figured I would go with hip width.  This is the mid-rise, which I figured would be more comfy in the lounging department.

This tank top is a size 14 graded to a size 10 at the hip.  I didn’t do any shorten or lengthen on them, as she drafts for my height of 5′ 7″.

This tank also comes in a dress length, which is another comfy option.

This fabric came from Zenith & Quasar, and is a brushed poly.  I bought so much of the space round.  I wasn’t sure what to do with the Hubble Telescope print, but I think this was perfect.  There is a little bit of the space round available, but not the Hubble print.  The shirt panel is available, though.

In order to get the free pattern, you need to join the Rogue Patterns group.  It is usually good to try out free patterns to see if you like them first.  Sara is a bit quirky, and it shows in her fun write-ups for her patterns.  Gives you a sense if you would want to buy the next patterns she has coming up.

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Beautiful Sunset

This print is part of the RP Custom Fabrics – Fun Rounds pre-order.    The image is of a sunset skyline in a circular format.  Really pretty!

(click on picture to go to the pre-order for it)

I received a few of the smaller round panels, and two that were the same size.  I think they were the 12″ size.  I decided to use those panels for a round sleeve on a dolman shirt, using this Pinterest pin as an inspiration.

The shirt is a pattern I have drafted, but you could do this with any dolman pattern you would have.

To make the sleeves, just measure the arm opening for the circumference of the circle.  Make the circle opening the same distance.  It is helpful if you have a circle cutter template tool.  I generally make the circle a little smaller, as they tend to stretch out more.  I did the same for the stretch lace piece, only making it a little longer.

To add more interest to this top, I did a strip in a coordinating lace in the front and back.  This strip was about 4″ wide.

The main fabric here is a Calvin Klein stretch shirting fabric, that is really nice.  I’m not sure this shirt is completely “Me”, but it was a fun experiment!

This pre-order is open until August 15th, so go check out the pretty panels!

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Koi cape top

The new rounds are up for pre-order at RP Custom Fabrics, and she called this round the “Fun Rounds“.  I have to agree.  There are some really pretty and fun prints in it.  I have several to get sewed up, so hopefully I will get them done soon.

We are entering the week of the state baseball tournament and the girls’ national softball tournament, so I might be a bit busy.  BUT, then we are pretty much done for three or four weeks, and we get precious, precious Free Time.  Oh Free Time, how I have missed thee!

So, cape tops are pretty cool, aren’t they? Here is a bit of discussion on how I made this top.

There are several patterns that you can use to achieve this look.  Or, if you already have a tank top or long-sleeved pattern, a circle skirt or cape pattern, you can just mash them together.  You just need to measure the neckline and adjust your cape/circle to match up to the measurements you want.

This cape top was open for several inches, and I also had a pretty thick hem (about 1″).  I didn’t want the hem to curl in, so that gave it some extra weight.

I made the basic pattern for the cape, which is basically just a circle skirt.  The front will fall at different lengths front-to-back depending on how robust your bust may be.  If you want to to be higher in the front, just shave some inches off that part of the cape.  You could also just keep the entire thing as a circle with no opening in the front at all, which is what I did for the Koi circle top.

Fabric needed: A drapey knit is best, though I did use cotton lycra on the Koi one.  Generally, a heavy cotton lycra won’t have the right amount of “fall” to it.  You need a bamboo lycra, rayon lycra or jersey type knit.  I did make sure I had a slippery poly knit underneath the Koi so it would not stick to it.  I think that worked out pretty well.

When I make circle skirts/cuts I use this handy little tool.  I measure the opening, divide it in fourths and then use the corresponding measurement on this tool to make the pattern.  If you are keeping an opening in the front, then subtract that from the measurement, making sure to include a hem allowance for the side seam.

To add this onto the pattern (I used the Wardrobe by Me Builder T-shirt):

  • Hem the bottom edge and the side edges (if open).  The side edge on the top above was a 1″ hem.
  • Baste it to the neckline, without stretching it.  Make sure it hits at the same spot on either side of the front neckline if open, so it won’t be uneven on you looking straight on.  The basting makes sure it won’t shift when you add on the neckband, so don’t skip this part.
  • Add the neckband, and continue on with the rest of the pattern.

It is a really cute and easy way to use round printed panels.  The length on this one is about 7″ and I used the 24″ panel.

This panel comes in a variety of sizes from small to large, and some of the ladies in the test group made dresses from it.  They turned out lovely.  I really was happy to be able to sample sew up this panel, since the print is so pretty.  If you want to make a cape top like this, I would recommend ordering it in the bamboo lycra for a bit better drape.

Now to sew up the rest of the rounds!

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Market Shopper in leather

As part of the Admin team for Sewing Pattern Testers, I sewed up the free bag designed by Angie Hebert.  She wanted one in leather, and having much leather, I complied!

I also needed to finish sewing up some small pieces of fabric I was sent by RP Custom Fabrics.  These are a small size of Piedra, so small she decided not to offer this size.  I still wanted to make something from them, so much to my delight, I had a matching embossed, metallic pigskin leather.

These are KNIT, so I had to back it in a non-stretch, woven iron-on interfacing.

There is a sew-a-long on the Sewing Pattern Testers blog that I would recommend prior to starting in on the pattern.

I made some modifications to the bag, as sewing leather is always different than sewing fabric.  I didn’t cut the front in two pieces, since there would be a strip covering the seam.  Generally pigskin hides are large enough to get this size of pieces out of them.  I also like to keep seams in leather to a minimum.

I apparently didn’t get the strip down the middle the same on each side.  There is always something!

I added an applique to one side.  I draw them out on Heat n’ Bond, cut out mirrored images and then apply to the bag.  I had to make sure the images didn’t interfere with the strap handles, so I marked the placement on the front and back with an awl.

This leather isn’t very thick, or durable, so I added some iron on vinyl to the bottom of the bag.

I didn’t have enough foam, or time to go to the store, so I added some extra layers of fusible fleece.  This makes it more floppy than foam, but I am fine with that.  It still has a nice structure to it.  I always use a hard interfacing to the bottom of bags, though.  That is a place I don’t want it to be floppy.

I added twill tape in between the folded leather for the straps.  This gives it more structure and it means the leather is less apt to stretch out.  I glued it on and glued the folded pieces together, then pounded it all flat with a hammer.

The zipper tab.  This was a separating zipper, and I used what I had on hand.  A good durable zipper is what you need for a purse.

The inside is a mixture of two different quilting cottons.  They look very pretty together.

As for the hardware…I was hoping to get away with not going to the store, but I didn’t have much gold hardware.  A ton of silver, though!  I made a trip to Tandy Leather to pick up the conchos on the purse handle tabs.  Seriously, the hardware is as much as the rest of the purse.  BUT, it makes them look more high end, and less homemade.

I love how it all turned out!

I put a tutorial up on the Sewing Pattern Testers blog for the leather tassel.  Go check it out!

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July…time to get some work done!

I knew June was going to be hard to get into the sewing room, and I was correct.  When I did have day or a night that I could work, I was just too tired.  The only things I got done were ones with deadlines!

My list for July is going to be trying to FINALLY get a few things off my to-do list.  This weekend is mostly free, so hopefully I can spend some time in my sewing room.

  1.  Finish up a purse and do a tutorial on how to make a leather tassel.  I have the outside done and most of the interior, so I just need to get it finished up!

2. I have a few strike-off samples on the way, so I will work on those as I get them in.

3. Finally get that leather holster done for my friend.

4.  Leather pouch for the dinosaur bone.  Finally got measurements and this one should be fairly easy to do.

5. I received some Michael Miller fabric as part of being a Sewing Portfolio’s Ambassador.  I am hoping I can squeeze two dresses for the girls on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation out of the three yards I received.  We’ll see.

6.  Make my black purse.  Keep it this time and don’t sell it.

Now to get to work!

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Sew Americana

Today is day 4 of the Sew Americana tour, and I am sharing an outfit with a baseball theme.  What is more Americana than baseball?

In the past I used to make my kids 4th of July outfits when my parents had a big 4th of July party.

Now, we are lucky if we do anything, and if we do, we are likely camping by a lake with just immediate family.  The effort doesn’t seem worth it.  I decided to make myself something for baseball, since I knew I would definitely use it this year, and for years to come.

I used my skort pattern and made it with the cotton lycra baseball stitches from RP Custom Fabrics.  She has indicated that she will continue to hold these prints in stock, since there were so many people that wanted them.  That is a great thing for all us sports parents!  They are a bit on the spendy side, but I can rationalize it away in that I would gladly pay $25 for a skort in this fabric.

The top is the Wardrobe by Me Basic Builder t-shirt.  I did pivot out the front a little bit to give me more room for my tummy.  All this sewing and sitting at games doesn’t give me much free time to spend with my elliptical.  I tried to squeeze into my favorite pair of jeans this week, and no amount of sucking it in was going to make that zipper magically rise up.  I see lots of salads in my future. 😉

The saying on the shirt is a spin of a quote I found on a shirt.  I don’t know about you, but I need a lot of coffee.  I also need me some Jesus when the ump is making some calls I don’t agree with, and the swear words start coming out!

The cut file is located in the Silhouette folder on the sidebar.  If you notice, I didn’t put the red line over far enough when I was layering the cuts.  *sigh*


I think this will be perfect to wear to the State Tournament that they qualified for by winning a qualifier tournament championship game by NINETEEN POINTS.  Yep, proud mama.  They won every game in that tournament.  It was fantastic.

The best part was after the end of the last game, one of the parents had purchased an excessive amount of Dairy Queen Dilly Bars, so the boys brought them over to the opposing team and shared them.  It was a tough loss after a very long and hot day and weekend.  Our coach is a nice guy and wasn’t trying to run up the score, putting in third string pitchers and not stealing home on passed balls.  Our boys just had more energy left.

Learning compassion and sportsmanship is an important part of sports.  Some days you are on the top and some days everything goes wrong.  If you have kids in sports, the Positive Coaching Alliance has seminars for coaches and parents that your league might want to check out.  I have attended a few, and it is good information on how to support sportsmanship and a positive team spirit.  Some coaches really, really need to take it, too.  Y’all been there to one of those games I am sure!


Now you need to go visit all the other ladies on the tour to see some fantastic creations:

 

Our Amazing “Sew Americana” Tour Lineup:
Monday, June 26: Wild & Wanderful | Handmade Boy | The Wholesome Mama | Marvelous Auntie M | Sew and Tell Project
Tuesday, June 27: EYMM | Middle River Studio | SewSophieLynn | Phat Quarters | Call Ajaire
Wednesday, June 28: Simple Life Pattern Company | Sewing By Ti | Auschick Sews | Nu Me Nu You | Swimming in a Sea of Estrogen
Thursday, June 29: Adventures with Bubba and Bug | Musings of a Seamstress | Elli and Nels | Spindle and Seams | Stylin’ Stacy
Friday, June 30: Very Blissful | Stitching and Making | Wild & Wanderful | On Wednesdays We Sew | Fairytale B&T


We would like to give a special thanks to our generous sponsors!
Love Notions | EYMM Modern Designs | Rebecca Page | Patterns for Pirates | Simple Life Pattern Company | Thread & Grain | Designs by Call Ajaire | Simply By Ti | Made for Mermaids | Petite Stichery & Co.



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Numbers

This is kind of the perfect fabric for school-age kiddos.  This is a pre-order up at The Fabric Cottage with numbers and letters is various colorways.  I was a bit late to choose a sample to sew up, so I ended up getting the numbers in white and black.  I probably would have chosen the alphabet, so I could do this quote again (cut file in the linked folder on the sidebar):

I had to think of something else to do for the numbers, so I searched for Math Memes and found this one (also in the cut file folder):

The girl is fairly good at math, and has been in advanced math at school, but she’s not a big fan of it.  I was hoping that she might see the humor in it, and still give the outfit a thumbs up.  You never know with a tween.  Seriously, they have multiple personalities.  Sometimes everything you make is fantastic, and the next time you get eyerolls so hard they hurt themselves.

She liked it this time. 🙂

The shirt is just a basic block that I have made for her.  She needs shoulder coverage since the school here doesn’t allow strappy tank tops.  The skirt is a skort that I have somehow just mangled the pattern drafting.  I had to redo it on the fly, so I will have to redo several pieces.  It all turned out pretty cute, though.

The pre-order is open until June 16th, so go check it out if you like the numbers and the alphabet.  They also have a ruled paper print that would be cute, too.  Kind of perfect for a back to school outfit in the fall!

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What’s your sign?

This was kind of fun to sew up!

The constellation fabric for the skirt is on pre-order at RP Custom Fabrics.  This sample is the 58″ round on bamboo lycra.  She has a few other round panels, and they come in various sizes.

The girl claimed it when she saw it, so I had to make something for her with this pretty fabric.  I decided to make a tank top dress, with the circle as just the skirt part.  The top is from a pattern I drafted for her, and I just didn’t have the right white fabric.  All my whites were see-through.  I ended up choosing this swim knit and used the matte (not shiny) side.  I lined it with a white swim lining I had, so now it it not see-through!

The constellation sign is a Taurus for her birth month.  I found a picture of the constellation online, drew over it in Photoshop and then created a cut file for my Silhouette Cameo.

The bamboo fabric has a beautiful drape to it, and it makes a very twirly dress!

The Estellar constellation print will be available to pre-order until the 30th!