(Faux) Leather Accent Foldover Clutch

Last month, Kristin shared a tutorial for a foldover doily clutch that was so super cute and seemed like the perfect gift for the upcoming holiday season.  Then I saw Vanessa‘s hand stamped foldover clutch with a block of vegan suede which was damn near perfection.  Which made me think of Delia‘s lil leather shoes that she’d make out of thrifted belts and purses.  Basically I just steal other people’s ideas and mix them all together into something a little different, because that’s how I came up with my go to Christmas gift for this year, the . . .

Foldover Clutches1 triangle_clutch1

I basically took Kristin’s tutorial and added faux-leather to the bottom.  For the large triangle clutch, I hand stamped my own fabric.  So there are a bunch of ways you can mix it up, or you can go with the original doily clutch just as it is – regardless, the tutorial is FANTASTIC.  Really simple, very clear and well written and so cute and practical – I highly recommend it.

So I started by going to the thrift store and looking for some cheap purses in great colors and with enough material to cut into rectangles for the bottom of these clutches.  If you are going with faux-leather, you can pick one up for just a couple bucks.

NaniIro Clutch

For this clutch, I busted out some Nani Iro Little Letter Flannel in sage green that I bought from Miss Matatabi because it matched soooo perfectly with this light brown leather I found.  I actually used the zipper from the original purse as well, which is why it matches so perfectly!  And I decided to go a little fun and funky with a tassel zipper pull :P  The lining is a Japanese double sided gray and white fabric that I used in Yuki’s nursery.  These materials just came together so beautifully and I love the combo so much it really hurt to give this clutch away!  But it’s headed to someone who I know will appreciate it, so that makes me happy.

Anyways, I’m going to give you some tips that I learned about sewing with leather and show you how to remix Kristin’s foldover clutch to make a leather accented clutch.  It’s easy!

Leather sewing tips:
– Look for leather that is not too thick or hard (it’s obviously harder to sew with and your seams won’t press flat)
– Use a denim or leather needle – you’ll need something heavy duty that will hold up sewing two layers of leather
– Lengthen your stitch (so as to not perforate the leather)

Also, when choosing your fabrics, pick something in similar weight to your leather.  If you’re using a thick heavy leather, don’t use a flimsy fabric – it just won’t work.  You can use canvas or duckcloth, or add interfacing to your fabric.  Likewise, if your leather/faux leather material is very thin, a regular cotton will probably be perfect.

Alright, let’s get started!  If you’re using an old purse, carefully cut out the largest panels of material possible.  Also feel free to cut and save any other hardware you might want to keep (zippers, buckles, etc).

Leather3The rectangles of fabric in the original tutorial are 10×12 inches, so you’ll want to cut your leather 10 inches wide.  The height will depend on how large you want your leather block to be (and how much you have).  Be sure to add 1/2 an inch for seam allowance to the height.  Cut 2.

Leather4To figure out the size of your coordinating fabric for the outside of the clutch, you’ll want to take 13 and subtract the height of your leather piece.  That number will be the height and your width will be 10 inches.  The reason for this is that you want your finished piece to be 12 inches and you’ll need 1/2 an inch on each piece for seam allowance.  So for example, if I cut my leather piece at 10 inches by 4.5 inches, my fabric will need to be 10 inches by 8.5 inches (because 4.5 + 8.5 = 13).

Leather5Cut your lining fabric according to the tutorial directions.  You should have 2 of everything.

Sew your leather to your outer fabric by placing them right sides together, holding them in place with paper clips or binder clips (you don’t want to/won’t be able to pin the leather).  Sew them together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Leather6

Press your seam flat (but be careful pressing the leather – use a low heat and test it out on a scrap piece of leather first).

Leather7

From here you can follow the original tutorial exactly!  The only part that is a little different is when you are sewing the front and back together, you’ll have to take some extra steps  switching your needle and thread colors.  I like to sew the leather first and then the regular fabric.  If your leather is pretty thick, you may want to round your bottom corners instead of trying to make them square.

Leather8Be sure to clip your corners.

Leather9And that’s it.  Kristin’s tutorial will walk you through the rest!

Maya Clutch

triangle_clutch2

The hand stamped version required an extra few steps, but was totally worth it.  I carved a simple triangle shape and used fabric paint to make a fun pattern on canvas.

trianglestamp(testing on paper)

trianglestamp2Once it’s dried and set, you can cut and assemble as instructed above!

triangle_clutch5

I had so much fun sewing these up these last couple of weeks and even more fun watching friends receive them.  It’s been a big hit, so if you’re looking for a last minute gift to sew up for someone stylish and special, definitely go check out Kristin’s foldover clutch tutorial.  You won’t regret it!

So are you still working on some last minute gifts or other holiday projects or are you all done?  Truth is, I’m so behind that I know I’ll be working past Christmas.  Better late than never right? :P

Vintage Inspired Plaid Summer Tank

I barely had any time to work on a signature look for Project Run & Play this week, but I wanted to submit something.  So I made this top that was inspired by the Vintage May series that Skirt as Top and Craftiness is not Optional is hosting.  I’m not sure what decade this is from, but it reminds me of something my mom wore, so my guess is 60s or 70s?  Maybe even 50s?  What do you think? (I don’t know my fashion eras at all!)

It is a refashion from this pretty hideous blazer thing I picked up at the thrift store.  I’m not sure what was going on with the blazer (it had three huge pockets on the front and shoulder pads too!), but I loved the purple plaid fabric.

Do you recognize the pattern?  It’s a remix of the Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress pattern! When I was making Yuki’s Jump Rope Dress, I noticed after the first few steps that without sleeves or a skirt, it made a pretty cute top!  So that’s pretty much what I did.

First I had to pick the pockets off the jacket and then cut out the front pieces, back piece and sleeves.  I didn’t have two pieces large enough for the front and back of the shirt, so the back of the tank top is actually pieced together (you can see the seam running down the middle in the next picture).

I cut the 2T size pattern, lengthening the shirt and followed the directions exactly for the placket and collar.  I shortened the shoulder length (though I could have gone even shorter) and cut the arm hole a little larger.  I used homemade bias tape to finish the arm holes and hemmed the shirt so it’s curved up on the sides.  I added a little pocket on the chest made from one of the original pockets that I had picked off.

I love it!

So for my “signature look,” I paired this shirt with the chambray shorts I made during KCWC.

I thought the outfit was a little simple and so I wanted to make an accessory to “dress it up” a little.  It looked good in my head . . .

I whipped up a little felt flower belt, which I really like.  Just not with this outfit.

But I’m sure you’ll be seeing it around again.  Juuuust not with this outfit.

So that’s it!  Simple.  Summery.  Vintagey.  All the things I’m feeling right now.

Is it just me or did that season of PR&P just fly by!?

Blossom By Blossom Dress – Special Occasion for PR&P

For winter’s rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

-Algernon Charles Swinburne

Well winter certainly isn’t over yet, but I thought the poem was fitting.  The dress has winter imagery, but spring colors underneath and flowers blossoming all over, so I immediately thought of winter turning to spring.  Hence the poem and the name :)

So here’s my entry for this week’s Project Run and Play Sew-along.  The theme is Special Occasion/Party Wear.  I had fun making this dress.  I can’t say that it’s a super original idea, but it was definitely a new challenge for me.

I started with the idea of finding a sheer patterned fabric to lay over a solid fabric.  I used this curtain, and though it was much more opaque than I had originally imagined, I liked the tree branch image.  Because I had a “sheer” fabric, I thought an illusion neckline would be something fun to try.  It turned out to be barely noticeable (because of the nearly opaque white fabric and the light colored green underneath), but that’s probably much more age appropriate for a toddler.

I wasn’t planning on making the main body of the dress two different colors, but the idea sprouted from my indecisiveness at the fabric store.  I would usually never pick a nearly neon green, but it went so well with the purple and I figured it would be hidden under the white anyways.  But once I started playing with it, I really liked the colors and made each one peek out a little bit.  They really shout “spring” and “fun” to me!  It was a nice contrast to the stark white and bare branches of the curtain material.  The fabric is a cheap nylon.

I hand rolled and stitched the neckline and armholes, which was new to me.  I don’t really know if I did it right, and it doesn’t look super clean, but I wanted the hem to be as small as possible.  They are still not nearly as small as pictures I’ve seen online, but I guess I’ll keep working on it.

I finished it off with a bunch of flowers and petals cut from the curtain fabric and handstitched to the dress.  I just can’t resist putting fabric flowers on anything! :)

I like the way the fabrics look, but with hindsight, I wish I had chosen something different.  These fabrics are synthetic and stiff and unforgiving.  I sew at night when Yuki is sleeping and I’m horrible at using measurements (a major weakness), so last night I realized that the bodice fit ALL WRONG.  It was super baggy in the front and perfect in the back.  The neckline was too big and almost falling off her shoulder.  So I added some pleats to the front and had to take in the bodice a bit.  Now it’s a bit of a squeeze to get her arms through :P.  I really don’t know how to get that perfect balance of fitted, but still fits.  If the fabric had even a little give, it probably would not be so bad.  Oh well – live and learn!

The shoes are kind of a fun story.  I realized last night that Yuki didn’t have any shoes to wear with the dress.  I felt ridiculous buying shoes JUST for this outfit, especially since this girl has an outrageous amount of shoes for some reason.  But I went to Payless and these gladiator sandals, originally $12.99, were marked at $4.  They have a buy one get one 1/2 off promotion, so I thought I’d buy something else and these shoes would be $2.  But when I went to check out, it turns out the sandals were on clearance for $2 so with the half off deal, they were only $1!!  So then I didn’t feel so bad. :)  I didn’t particularly like the silver flowers they had on them, so I made a few more flowers with the curtain material and hot glue gunned them on.  I think they look great and match perfectly with this dress now!

I also made a petticoat with tulle to give the dress more body, but I think I actually prefer the dress without.  I guess it’s a good thing to keep around though.  It can be paired with any skirt or dress and since it’s kinda huge, she can probably use it for a long time.  This morning she just wore it around the house like a tutu and turned around in (very slow) circles.  Where does she learn this from!?? :P

(Please ignore how crooked that top row of tulle is.  I was in a super rush :))

For our photo shoot today we went to the Palace of Fine Arts.  Just another gorgeous spot in our city.  And the weather was amazing!!  It actually felt like spring!

Well, I guess that’s it for this outfit AND the Project Run & Play Sew-along.  I think next week the three actual PR&P contestants that are left will do their signature look.  It’d be fun to keep playing along, but I feel like it’s time to move on to other projects that are calling my name.  I’ll have a few tutorials coming up and a reflection on this sew-along challenge coming up, but for now I’ll just say that it has been so much fun participating.  I have learned so much, been so challenged and am so inspired!

I leave you with two outtakes from the photoshoot:

I told Yuki to lean in and smell the flower.  I think she’s either kissing it or nibbling on it.  Yum.

And this picture is SO our daughter.  You can put the girl in a dress, but that doesn’t make her act “like a lady!”  She was climbing and picking up rocks and scraping her knees the whole time.  That’s my tomboy!  She makes me proud :)

Linked up this project here:
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Tutorial: Double Layered Simple Skirt

I’m so excited to share this skirt with you!  It’s kind of a Sew & Tell, Tutorial and Repurposed Project all in one!  I wanted to do an add-on to the Simple Skirt Tutorial to show you an easy way to add another layer and get a fun new look.  I also had some fabric laying around that needed repurposing, and this was the perfect way to use it.

I started off with a tank top that had a stain smack in the middle of it.  I was ready to let go of it as a tank top, but I loved the unique scalloped eyelet bottom.

I thought I’d be able to use the material for a skirt for Yuki.  Since it has large eyelets I knew I needed another layer underneath so it would be appropriately modest for my little one :)  Luckily I had this old bed sheet I had bought at a thrift store for about a dollar.  I’ve used it to make lining for a pillow case, a mock-up for a jacket, and now this skirt and there’s still tons of fabric left.  What a great deal!  The sheet had a ruffle of eyelet fabric on the bottom that I thought might add some volume and why not add small scalloped eyelet to big scalloped eyelet?  Wouldn’t that be fun??

So let’s make the skirt!!  Like I said, this is variation of the original Simple Skirt Tutorial.  The first tutorial includes more information about materials, measurements, and hemming, which is NOT included in this tutorial, so please refer back to that one if you have any questions.

Materials:
Fabric – You can use two different fabrics, or the same fabric for both layers.  You can also repurpose something or use new material.  It’s up to you!
Elastic – I used 1″ wide elastic and you’ll need it to be as long as the waist measurement plus 1 inch.  If the kid’s (or adult’s) waist measurement is 17 inches, cut 18 inches.

You’ll also need the essentials – sewing machine, iron, thread, scissors, pins, and though it’s optional, a safety pin is super handy.

Let’s get started.

First (and always), wash, dry and iron your fabric.  Then it’s time to cut it.  For more details about measurements, see the Simple Skirt Tutorial.  For this project, I wanted to keep the width of the skirt fabric the same as the tank top so that I wouldn’t lose any of the eyelet and I wouldn’t have to re-sew up the sides (basically, I didn’t cut the tank top yet).  For the bottom layer of the skirt (white) I folded it in half and measured the same width as the top (blue) material plus a 1/4 inch for seam allowance.

For the length, I measured the bottom layer first.  I cut it at exactly the length I wanted the finished skirt to be.  The great thing about using these fabrics is that the bottoms were done and required no hemming!  And yes, you do need a bit of room for seam allowance on top, but you’ll see later why I didn’t add any length to the bottom layer.

For the top layer (blue fabric) I laid it on top of the white fabric at the length I wanted it to be.  Then I added about 1/2 an inch to the top and cut it.

If you are using fabric that needs to be hemmed at the bottom, be sure to add another inch.

Here is my cut fabric:

Make sure the white fabric is folded in half with right sides together, pin and sew up the short end.

If you are using new fabric that is unfinished on all 4 sides, you will need to sew up both short ends on both fabrics.

Turn your fabric right side out and press the seam.  Now you should have two tubes of fabric that are the same width.

Now, with both fabrics right side facing out, you’re going to insert the top layer inside the bottom layer.  So in this case, the blue tube was inside the white tube.  Line them up on the top and pin all the way around.

Sew along the top edge around the entire waist, using a 1/4 seam allowance, back stitching at the beginning and end.

When you are done and you pull the material out from inside, it should look like this.  On the left is the bottom layer, right side up, and on the right is the top layer, wrong side up.

Flip the top layer down over the bottom layer.  I did not want any of the white fabric to show at the top of the skirt, so instead of pressing it open right on the seam, I made the fold with about a 1/4 inch of the blue fabric on the inside of the skirt.  This is why I didn’t add any seam allowance to the bottom layer fabric when cutting the length, but I added an extra 1/2 inch to the top layer – a 1/4 inch for seam allowance and another 1/4 inch to fold over to the inside of the skirt.  Does this make sense??

Press all the way around and pin.  Now we’re going to make the casing for the elastic.  Leaving about a 2 inch opening, sew all the way around the waistline, making sure your casing is wide enough for your elastic.

In the picture above, I was using the elastic to make sure I was sewing my casing wide enough.  After you’re done, you should have a 2 inch gap that is open for you to slide the elastic through.

If you have a safety pin, insert it into one end of the elastic.  This will help you guide the elastic through the casing.

Pull apart the two layers to find the opening for the elastic.  Using the safety pin, pull the elastic through the casing.

Pull the elastic all the way around the waist and back out through the opening.  Make sure the elastic hasn’t twisted at all and is laying flat the entire way around.  Overlap the elastic by about an inch and sew them together.

Finish sewing up the casing and you’re done!!

Now, I don’t know if you noticed this, but in the original simple skirt tutorial, I said you needed about double the waist measurement for the width of the fabric.  So for a 17 inch waist, you need 34 inches of fabric.  For this skirt, I didn’t want to cut any of the blue fabric away, so I left it at it’s original width, which was at least 42 inches.  All the extra fabric, plus the extra layer made this skirt really full!!

This skirt reminds me of something you’d wear to a tea party or something.  But all our lil’ tomboy wants to do is climb things and play with dirt and rocks.  That’s our girl!

Luckily, we live in California where an outfit like this might still be appropriate for November.  But it won’t last long, so I promise I’m going to start focusing on more winter-ish clothes soon.  Fleece, flannel, and sleeves, here I come.

As for this tutorial, I’d really like some feedback.  When I’m trying to explain the steps, I feel like I’m not being clear and that it’s too confusing.  If you have any suggestions for parts that need clarifying, I’d really appreciate you letting me know.  Or asking me questions if you need help.  I want to help!  :)  I hope you try a Double Layered Simple Skirt.  And if you do, please send me a photo!!  Have fun!