Burning Leather

On Pinterest (the Mecca of crafty inspiration) I saw a picture about burning designs into leather with a wood burning tool.

Hey…I had leather…AND a wood burning tool.  Of course I had to give it a go!


I have a sophisticated wood burner that is either On or Off.  I read online it was best to use a lower heat setting, so I just used the only one I had.  It was hot, Man.  It definitely burned the leather, and it was very precise about it.

I started by using a leather tool that is for tracing.  It is something I picked up at Michaels.  It is just pointy with a blunt end on it, so it can press against the tracing a leave a slight mark in the leather.  It would have left a better mark if I wet the leather first, but I wasn’t that patient.  I drew the design out on tracing paper and then pushed it into the leather.


The designs kind of evolved from the original tracing and sometimes it was hard to follow the lines.  If it was a symmetrical one, I had to watch to make sure I was doing it the same on each side.

Lastly, I burned the edges and then put on some snaps.


I might need to seal them, but I don’t have anything on hand right now.  Not sure if I can afford a trip to Tandy Leather.  I usually end up buying lots of stuff! ;)

A tube top

In the “easiest patterns ever” category, this should go pretty much to the top of the list.  It is a just 4 pieces, but yet, I managed to make the first one too big and too long.

I measured my upper bust, hip and then determined how long I wanted it.  I added too much “blousey-ness” for length, and not enough negative ease for the top band.  You need to go a good 2-4 inches narrower than your measurements on the top and bottom bands.  The bottom band was 5 inches on the fold and the top band was 3 inches on the fold.  The pattern ended up looking kind of like this:

tube-top-patternI wanted the back to be more fitted than the front, so I made it in two pieces and had it curve inwards.

As you can see here:



The back dips down a little as you can see here:


Sort of anyways.  Trust me…it dips down.

I wore this outfit to work with a sweater over the top.  My office is pretty business casual (some wear nice jeans to work), but not casual enough to wear a tube top with nothing over my shoulders.


Overall, this was a pretty quick and easy sew.  When I made the blue one here, it was pretty much perfect after having redone the measurements on this one.

Measure once, cut twice! 😉

Crafting Con Guest Post

I love to do costumes, so I stepped up when Crafting Con was asking for guest posters.  The concept is making clothes that are wearable “costumes”, but not too over the top where it looks like a costume.

Get it?

The theme this month is 80’s movies, so I did a google search to refresh my memories of the pool of movies from my youth. There were lots of options.

I could do a Tom Cruise outfit for the Boy from Top Gun.

I could maybe do a Molly Ringwald inspired costume from one of the movies like Pretty in Pink.

In the end…The Dark Crystal came up as an 80’s movie. So…Kira the Gelfling (elf)!

Click on over to Crafting Con to see what I made!

No hardware clutch tutorial

So, I kind of love this little bag.  I love the leather, the motif and the design.

This is a tutorial on how to do this type of bag in leather.  It would be much easier to make it in another heavyweight fabric, so go ahead and use what you have.  As for the reverse appliqué, if you don’t use leather or another non-fraying material, you would need to seal the edges or stitch over them.  Or just don’t do an appliqué, and this should take you less than an hour to make it.

For this clutch I used a fairly lightweight lambskin (red), Perfection Fused Leather (gunmetal gray), silk lining (red) and fusible fleece interfacing.  If it were a heavier leather, then I would not have used the interfacing.

If you like the design on it, I actually saved this one, so here you go (click on it to make it bigger):


Continue reading No hardware clutch tutorial

A new clutch

Our friend turned 40 yesterday, so a bunch of us went on a brewery crawl (her husband rented a bus for us, thank goodness!).  The kids were out of town all week at their aunt and uncle’s farm, so I had some time to sew up something to wear!  I will go into details of the drafting of my pants and top (though, the top was pretty simple) in a later post.  Here it is all about my cute little clutch.


The dimensions on the pattern pieces were 9.5″ x 11″ for the outside and 9.5″ x 9.5″ for the lining.  The straps for the front and back were 2″ x 18″ and 2″ x 15″.


I saw this pin on Pinterest for the idea for the style and made it up for the size I wanted it to be.


I did my normal reverse applique design on the front.  The main body is lambskin suede, the applique and straps are probably lambskin (my sister-in-law gave me some leather scraps she got at a garage sale), and the inside is silk.


Pretty happy with how this one came out!  It was just the right size and easy to carry for a night out.

Sewing for a cause: Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

The wonderful thing about sewists is that they love to give.  I joined a Facebook group that is dedicated to sewing for some charities on the Pine Ridge Rez in South Dakota.  It is called Sew for Kids Volunteers.  Reading about the poverty and standard of living on the reservation is very humbling.  Right now they are trying to gather clothes for kids for back to school, so the group was trying to gather shorts and skirts for the kids.

I was short on time, so I decided to just scour the kids handmade closets for clothes that they didn’t want to wear or no longer fit, focusing on seldom worn clothing.

The boy prefers to wear elastic waist exercise shorts, which I don’t make.  I did, however, make him some very nice cargo shorts last summer.  He didn’t wear them more than a few times and they don’t fit him anymore.  I made up an extra shirt, but otherwise kept the outfits together and these are going off to the boys.


They wanted skirts for the girls, but I instead had dresses that I made for testing or just didn’t get worn more than once or twice.  There were also some shoes that went with the dresses that didn’t get worn more than a few times, so those are going with, as well.


I hope they fit some of the kids.  My kids are fairly thin, and the reservation has some obesity issues, so I hope they can find some kids that will be able to wear them.  I am going to make some items specifically for them, as well.  I just need to get a plan in mind.

Next time I teach the sewing class at church, I will make sure we select a project for the reservation.

If you have some extra sewing time, or some gently used clothing for kids you are willing to part with, please send them along.  Join the group or read their blog to see different options for helping out.  As with all charities…every little bit helps.



Leather pouch for the win

At the sewing retreat I attended a few weeks ago, there was a gift exchange similar to the white elephant game. You were supposed to have something new, and not used, but otherwise it followed the rules of the game.

Namely, you could steal the gift.

The lady that ended up opening my gift really wanted to keep it, but alas, it got stolen from her.  Perhaps in the future we will do an exchange, as she has an embroidery machine and I have lots of leather. 😀

So, this is just a simple pouch (no real pattern), and I did a cutout on the front with one of my drawings.


The handle is just a turned under leather stitched down.

20150716-DSC_0024I also added a homemade tassle out of the accent leather to the zipper pull.

20150716-DSC_0022I was pretty happy with how it turned out, and I got it done just. in. time.  The night before, of course.

At least it was done!


Off she goes

This morning I sent the girl off for an overnight horse camp.  She went with one of her friends that moved away last year, so hugs ensued when they saw each other.

In preparation for the camp, I *needed* to make her a few things.

Of course, I did.

Some of the girls wear leggings when riding (cooler, I guess), so I made her a few pair with matching tank tops.   The leggings were Oliver + S Playtime Leggings, which are a bit too high in the front.  I dropped the front waist rise by about 1″.


I actually made two of the horse leggings.  The extra pair was for her friend.  She is a little taller and bigger in the waist than my girl, so I adjusted them for those fitting issues.  I had enough for both, and have had the fabric for at least 5 years.  Use up that stash!  I love how quick and easy leggings are to make, so it was simple to just do two of them.


The tank top was the basic bodice block I drafted for her, with a longer back to cover her bum.  The rodeo rider on the front was a weird “appliqué” I purchased several years back at Michaels.  It is a “color transfer”.  You place it on the fabric and iron it for a minute and then it seems to dye it a shade or so darker.  It also moves as you are ironing it, as you are just placing the paper on the fabric.  It was a bit of a pain, so I wouldn’t recommend it.  It does have a cool faded, aged look to it, though.


I made one extra camo tank top that will go with jeans.


Then, she needed a laundry bag, which I made with the last of this $1 yard cotton horse fabric.  Glad I got that used up!  For the drawstring, I used one of my odds and ends.  I am not sure where I got the tassled cording.  I had to cut one end off, as it wouldn’t fit through the casing.  It will serve it’s purpose.


She also needed some summer jammies.  The girl like to wear the ones I made her last winter (long sleeved shirts, flannel pants).  Not sure why, since its not like we keep our house particularly cold with the air conditioning.  She wanted a shorts set, so I drafted a top, and then just took and redrafted the Oliver + S Playtime Leggings into shorts with a lower front rise.  The top is another quick draft off her basic bodice block.


I am certain she will have a wonderful time this next week, but I will definitely miss my little munchkin!

Retreat sewing

Last weekend I went to a local sewing retreat, so I had a chance to sit down and get some sewing done!  I didn’t get as much done as I wanted, but it was nice to sew with other ladies that “get it”.

We all had a great time and I got two shirts, a jacket and blackout curtains made.  The curtains were pretty simple with quilting cotton that matched the girl’s room, backed with blackout fabric.  She has a hard time sleeping when it is light out, so I am hoping this will keep her from camping out on our floor now.

*crossing fingers*  Not working so much, but she has spent a few nights in her bed.

The jacket is Burda 7296 and I think I cut out a size 12 (I am 38″ chest and 31″ waist).  I cut it out last winter at some point, so this really gave me an impetus to get the dang thing done!  I did a few things differently on it (like normal), but mostly kept to the pattern.  It is roomy, but once it gets cool I will likely be wearing a sweater.  It will be fine for that.


I forgot the instructions when I went to the retreat, so I “used the Force”.  It turned out fairly well.


The fabric is a fur-backed embossed velveteen.  It isn’t a super heavy jacket, but will keep the wind off of me and give me a little warmth.  I love the fur collar and cuffs.  As I did not line the jacket, I sewed down the seam allowances to lay flat.

20150719-DSC_0039 20150719-DSC_0042 20150719-DSC_0037

This next item is a simple tank in a sweater knit.  A simple draft.

I jazzed it up with an applique I had acquired a few years back.  It didn’t fit across the whole back, so I had to tack down the edges.  I only sewed the top  of it, left the bottom unsewed.


It worked best that way, as it was on the knit.  It is a little see through, so I need to wear a tank underneath.


I will get a picture of the other top when I wear it.  The one above was after work, and it wore very well.  Hardly a wrinkle!

Red, white and blue

This was a pattern test for SLPCo’s Bella.  The girl *needed* a 4th of July outfit, so I opted to make her a patriotic dress with all the patriotic material I had just sitting there in my fabric closet.

20150701_1692 20150701_1700In case you were unaware…that is a tweenager look

Basically, it was the only fabric I had enough of to make a maxi dress.  I wasn’t sure how thrilled she would be in wearing a maxi dress in July, but it seemed to go over alright.  She got lots of compliments at the 4th of July parade.

20150701_1722 20150701_1709

I made this dress 8W and 12L.  The last maxi dress I did in a 10L was a little short of being maxi length, in my opinion, so I made this one longer.  They only have chest and waist measurements for the older girls to choose a size, so it was guesswork on what to choose for the length (she’s 56″ tall).  She wears a 12 for RTW jeans, so I think that is likely the size I need to use.

The dress pattern doesn’t come with a band at the bottom.  I mistakenly cut a 10, so I added the band to get it to the right length.

The back has some great straps, and I made an overlay of a little thinner ribbon.

20150701_1694Overall, she looks pretty dang cute in it.