Thursday, February 13, 2014

Learning about Leather

I have been on a quest to find the perfect leather to use with all the boho charms I have been collecting.  I want a nice medium weight leather that is both soft and sturdy.  The color should be rich, and the feel should be buttery.  I recently decided that my only hope was to buy a hide and cut it myself.

So I have been scouring Southern California and found some scraps, as well as full hides.

At first I made the mistake of buying leather that was nice and soft, but too thin.  But the heavier leather can look too much like a shoelace when it's cut.

I have been cutting it with a regular circular cutter and a self healing mat, which works surprisingly well.

I decided to make lemonade out of lemons, and use the soft thin leather to make tassels.  I LOVE tassels.  I have been scouring the internet nightly for cool tassels made out of anything: chain, pearls, leather, silver. So here is my attempt at making some out of the nice soft leather hide I bought at Save More Leather in Los Angeles.

The first one has a very nice sterling toggle clasp.  The second one has piece of turquoise and an old African trade bead.  I am going to attach them to necklaces made of hishi beads, wood beads, and leather.

Finally, here is a small sample of the vintage charms I have collected and turned into necklaces.  The first one uses some of the leather I cut.  The last picture is some pre-cut leather I just found that's actually pretty nice.  Sigh.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Aged or distressed t-shirts and sweatshirts

It turns out that those decades old t-shirts that your husband should have thrown out a long time ago are in.   The more threadbare and worn the better.  It took me a while to come to grips with this, but now I like it.  In fact, I just got this t-shirt for myself:

I believe this was washed for many hours in a Los Angeles wash house, and then silk screened.  But it started out as someone's undershirt.

David and I have been learning about distressing jeans and have discovered that there are places that will wash things for hours and hours and will also dye them, which is a way of fast-forwarding the aging process on t-shirts and denim.  Something about it is very appealing.  I love the old tags in the neck, especially if they are from some old manufacturer from the 50s or 60s.

I also picked up this old sweatshirt at a flea market,  that is now one of my favorites.

You can take new t-shirts and use sand paper and the sanitize setting on your washing machine, or you can search for a long time and find the perfectly aged and naturally-distressed item at a flea market or at a thrift store.  I like them both.

The old style sweatshirts often had the raglan sleeves set in.  I especially love hoodies, but pullovers are good, too.

I also love dyed garments.  The colors come out so vividly.  There's just something about a home-dyed garment that says it's special.  The black one above was dyed in a wash house.  I have some more things I will post that I have been dying , too.

Lastly, I have been collecting vintage t-shirts and have been experimenting with how to cut them to make them into tank tops.  I am still working on the details, like how low to cut the arm holes, and  whether or not to put darts in.  So far each one has been different.  I have some lace t-backs that I bought in downtown LA that I will try to add to the backs as well.  This is a big project I will try to finish before summer.