Tuesday, March 23, 2010

leather leaf cuff: how to

The little leather leaves from last week were my first foray into working with recycled leather. I loved it! Now every time I'm at the thrift store, I'll be scouting out potential leather. The green piece I have is soft and supple, so I felt brave enough to try it out on my sewing machine. An all purpose needle didn't work... not at all. I inserted a leather needle- what an amazing difference! So, as you can see, I stitched them up and added a button to make a cuff. I'm so excited about it, I couldn't wait to show you! I know it's just a little project, but sometimes these small discoveries get me the giddiest! It must have been contagious because I had a request for another smaller cuff from my daughter. Absolutely the best compliment I could ask for... and we do like to match.

Did I mention they're a quick whip up?! Another little cuff was ready in minutes. I'm might link some more leather in the form of circles... not necessarily cuffs next time, because they're versatile enough to morph into any number of creations. I'll leave it open-ended for now.

So here's how I made the cuff, just in case you have some scraps of leather around the house and feel inspired...

  1. Fold the leather and cut out a half leaf shape with sharp scissors... just like cutting out hearts on the fold.
  2. Overlap them rotating the smooth and suede side for texture and interest.
  3. Insert leather needle into your sewing machine.
  4. Feed each leaf through your machine slowly, adding one at a time. (I'm still mastering smooth joining of two pieces, but any roughness in my stitches doesn't bother me too much.)
  5. Once you have a length of leaf links that will comfortably fit around your wrist, with one leaf overlapping the end, remove from your machine. Make sure to back stitch to lock threads.
  6. Sew on a little button to the last leaf.
  7. Cut a slit for a button hole on the first leaf.
  8. Wear.

So soft and comfortable... with whispers of forest magic. Pin It

41 comments:

  1. wow what a wonderful idea, I love the green, the button, and the matching for you and your daughter. beautiful design, as always. And right in time for spring!

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  2. Genius! I love these. I will have to go out and get myself a leather needle asap to try this out. What a wonderful idea and thanks for sharing. Happy Spring :)

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  3. Hi Maya
    I'm a new reader (just found you yesterday while blog hopping) and I had to write and tell you how much I have enjoyed my time here. Thank you so much for the wonderful tutorials--I love your idea of a branch broach, and these sweet little leather cuffs are too cute for words!

    xoxos

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  4. They're beautiful and stylish! Except for the fact that they're made out of leather.

    I believe they could easily be made of something else, which is cruelty-free. Any ideas?

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  5. oh, so lovely! Wonderful way of recycling!

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  6. Thanks for your wonderful enthusiasm... it certainly makes it fun to share!
    Minna- the leather I used was bound for the dump. I feel great about giving it a new life. For other options: refer to the link on leaves at the beginning of the post and see how I did the same thing in felt. It has it's own sweet look.

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  7. So unique and very pretty :)

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  8. I just love that you can take something that might get tossed and give it new life. You're creativity and unique perspective are inspiring.

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  9. Ooh, I'm having green leather envy! That color is delicious. Wonderful project and so simple. Those are the best. I love that you can just make a slit for the button hole and no edge finishing! Yay!

    BTW, sometimes I have trouble stitching over leather because the bottom of the sewing machine foot sticks to it. Solution: cover the bottom of the foot with a tiny piece of blue painter's tape. Works like a charm!

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  10. this is utterly wonderful, maya! you really are brilliant!

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  11. absolutely wonderful, Maya ! which needle did you use ? (just because we have the same machine) I wonder if I have it among my needles.
    another awesome project you've created, my friend, well done ! oxoxo lotsa hugs !

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  12. Oh, that is beautiful! I would have loved something magical like that when I was a girl. Thank you for sharing.

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  13. what a wonderful way to repurpose the leather, beautiful!

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  14. love this - leaves are my favorite motif... and Betz is right - the color is so delicious. I'll be on the lookout for a leather needle!

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  15. Very sweet, I love the brown button.

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  16. Betz- thanks for the great tip! Trying out the tape next time.
    Sonia- I used a leather needle from Scmetz.

    Thanks everyone!

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  17. Oh, these are lovely! Like forest fairy jewelry.

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  18. what a wonderful idea! and i love the matching mommy-daughter cuffs! i think i'll have to try this! thanks for the idea.

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  19. wonderful! posted this at believing nature, http://believingnature.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/how-to-make-a-leather-cuff/

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  20. What a great tutorial Maya, thank you so much for sharing. This one I think that I will have to make for myself

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  21. These are lovely Maya. I love the green.

    Most excellent tip from Betz too. x

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  22. Beautiful project- and I just love the simplicity of it. I've been wanting to try sewing leather, but was unsure if a regular sewing machine could handle the thickness, or if you needed a special leather foot. Appreciate the helpful tips!

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  23. SO very beautiful Maya...and so sweet that the two of you are matching! I love that....these are perfect.
    xo
    Melis

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  24. Darling! And I just happen to have a stash of scraps! Now to get the proper needle!

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  25. I love these! I have an old suede jacket from previous projects laying around, that would be perfect for this :)

    thanks!

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  26. You can do them in any color; autumn leaves? Round them a little to look like flower petals? Alter the shape to get ivy leaves? So many possibilities & so simple. Great idea.

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  27. Oh wow Maya. I love this idea! What a gorgeous cuff for spring. Thanks so much for sharing this, I'll be linking.

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  28. wonderful. i have some buckskin lying around the house. What a great use for it. and i have birthdays coming up!!

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  29. Wow, you may be the cause of me pulling out the sewing machine and dusting it off. Great design!

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  30. That is so sweet. Thanks for sharing

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  31. Simple, effective and gorgeous. I don't have any leather, but might try with some faux suede I have in my stash.
    Love the tip from Betz, too. I sometimes sew with vinyl and have used wax paper over the top, but will now try the tape method.

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  32. Very cute! What did you get the leather from to begin with? I've got a couple of leather skirts (the natural soft leather) and was wondering if it is the right kind/thickness to do this.

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  33. This was my first time working with leather, so I'm not an expert on judging which thickness is optimal. I would think thinner is better, though. I got this scrap from a friend who was destashing... it was a scrap from a thrifted coat.

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  34. What a beautiful tutorial...Thank You

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  35. Great idea! Love the leaves and that green color, it is perfect! I have some old leather aomewhere at home, so I will try to make one. Thank you for the tutorial!

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  36. this is absolutely BRILLIANT!
    thank you for sharing your creativity ...
    i am pretty passionate about leaves
    so this sweet little design you have
    created also makes me giddy!!!
    blessings ~
    prairiegirl

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  37. I sew with leather quite a bit, and a teflon sewing foot works wonders! I rarely take it off since it works so well with other fabrics too.

    Jill

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