We went to the Alameda County Fair, so I was inspired to have some fringy cowgirl flair for this months outfit. You might remember my own vest from HERE. I sized it down for bebe and added some suede fringy bloomers and moccasins. Vintage red bandana shirt gifted from Lil Sara, bracelet from Minds Eye Vintage. Happy 6 months, Pepper! You're growing up too fast.


I don't really think of myself as a fringy-kind of girl, I normally dress much more plain jane like jean-and-Tshirts kind of deal. But I really love making fringe, tassels - that kind of thing. So I though it would be fun to try some clothes with a little extra flair in the form of a fringy vest. The finished result is actually very wearable - I'll just put it with the ratty old stuff I normally wear and it works just fine. In fact, I like this first vest so much it spawned a mini collection, I'll share the other piece soon (or soon-ish, since I obviously am not very good about keeping updated here lately).

Some ideas I started with. Also, if I ever have a band, it will be called "The Vestectomies" and I will make us all fancy vests to wear.
Simple pattern, front and back.
Sewing the mock-up.
Trying the thing on to make sure it fits. It does. 
Making a couple corrections with my "you got an F" red pen.
Sewing some fake fringe on to make sure it looks ok.
Cutting - this is a really amazing dove grey goat suede.
Cutting fringe. I usually use an Exacto but my blade
was dull so scissors had to work.
Sewing the whole thing together.

Here is my hunchback sewing stance.
Pattern, mock-up, finished vest. I know 'vestido' does not mean vest but I kept wanting to call it that.


One more project I really don't have time for right now but have always wanted to tackle - making a pair of leather gloves. I love how the pattern looks cut out. The gloves are carefully sewn from so many little pieces you probably never considered that have funny old names like "one pair of tranks, one pair of thumbs, four whole fourchettes, four half fourchettes, two gussets, and six quirks" (from wiki). Image below from Leathercraft Vol.2 from Mike Redwood's site. Below photos are from WARP AND WOOF - I love the construction pictures on this blog and you will understand even more if you read Japanese!If you really want to nerd out, you can read the complete history of gloves and glovemaking on Mike Redwood's site HERE.


Mitch Alfus starting importing leathers into the US the year I was born and hasn't looked back since. If you have any interest in leather, you have to watch this short film by Todd Selby. AMAZING!


Typical trip to my leather supplier. I want everything, I only need and have the budget for a few things. I can only dream of the wardrobe I'd make if I had free range to take what I wanted from here.
Rows and rows of every kind of leather.
I want it all.
Rolls of leather lacingBrindle hair-on cow hides. You don't see these very often.
Rabbit fur. Pink, red, spotted, they have it all.
Printed hair-0n hides.
Curly lamb.Here's the leather I buy for bags.Sarah and her picks.gimme gimme gimme. i need some more. gimme
gimme gimme. don't ask what for.


Basically, I've totally not been feeling like sewing bags lately because I'm having much more fun doing summery adventure things. When I do get around to cooping myself up with needle and thread, this is what I've been making. Who doesn't like some shiny red lips? I've obviously been into them lately as seen here and here. I quite like the idea of putting my makeup in a bag that looks like lips.LuLu Guiness designs some bodacious lips bags a seen below, but to be honest, I really hate making hard bags with cardboard or whatever in them. I want my lips to be soft and pillowy and fun to make. I've been putting off reopening my online store, but I guess I gotta stop avoiding it forever. I got better things to do sometimes then sewing leather pieces into mouths, you now? Anyways, aiming to reopen after this weekend or next week...does anyone else care about lips bags? Email me if you're interested in anything specific in the store. I've had a lot of people asking about the laptop bags, when I can get my shit together a little more maybe I'll make some of those...


No outfit says you're not afraid to get down and dirty better than a pair of overalls. Tough, functional, and sturdy, they've been the working man's uniform for the better part of the last century. With the popularity of vintage american work clothes on the rise, it makes sense that new versions of classic overalls are popping up in the fashion world. Here's some of my favorite images, old and new.

Lady railroad workers in the lunchroom. Photo by Jack Delano, Iowa, 1943.
Women in overalls. Photo from Special Collections, UC Riverside.
Model in overalls from Life magazine. Photos by Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1944.
Women sewing denim overalls in the Lee Work Clothes factory. Photo © Minnesota Historical Society/CORBIS.Women welders on the way to work at the Todd Erie Basin drydock . Photo for the Office of War Information, 1943.Lady railroad workers. Photo by J.E. Stimson.Fast forward...supermodels in uniform. Photo by Peter Lindberg for Vogue, September 1991.YSL Fall09. Plain front leather overalls. Kind of looks like a fly-fishing outfit or something you would wear when gutting fish on the deck of a boat. Either way, I quite like them for their strange mix of sexy-yet utilitarian.Christy Turlington for YSL.Chloe in some leatheralls...this photo was tagged "oh honey no." I say, you go girl. Love to you, overalls.


I've become completely enamored with 80's lips icons lately, as you can see here. So I nearly flipped this past weekend when I saw the whole Sonya Rykiel Resort 2010 accessories collection because there are lips all over it. These are the only photos I could find online yet - in person, they're awesome. I've know for a while that I wanted to make a lips bag with zipper teeth, and I was finally motivated tonight to tackle it. I generally start a new project by thinking it about it for a while, sometimes drawing it, but often just making a first rough pattern or even freestyle cutting and sewing directly from my head. I make a couple versions until I figure out how the pattern will work best. Thus, I generally end up with at least on crappy prototype that I usually end up liking more than the nicely constructed finals. I like mistakes and flaws because they add character.
Here we have a some paper lips patterns in various sizes, the remains of an old leather skirt, zipper, and piping. And my great-grandmothers sewing shears that are almost as long as my forearm.
I sewed the pieces to some leftover wool batting I had used for a quilt, but I think it's not poofy enough for what I wanted. Now I know for the next one. You learn as you go, always.All sewn together, definitely flawed, but pretty good for an hours work. This is just step one, I'll be working more on this one...fur sure.Throwing in my favorite photo of Margiela's Sonya-inspired coat, made for the 40th anniversary of Sonya Rykiel. Red heads do it best.


Check out OAK, they've got some of my stuff online and at Bond Street. I'm setting up my new workspace right now and getting ready to bust a move on some new stuff. Check back soon!


Total studded overload. I made this little bag/wallet thing with some of my leather scraps and leftover studs. Brass and's really heavy with all that metal on there. I got no Bedazzler....these are all set by hand.
I was also a little inspired by the blingy allover sparkle of disco balls. Must have been from looking at all the images when I did my disco ball post a while back.
I love studs, but I'll be moving along. Too much of a good thing can get old. I'll still be making my the studded clutches, but I've got a lot more I want to work on. I'll have a small collection of studded bags and clutches in-store soon, I'll let you know when they are up!


It's not very often that I find bags I really like. It's part of why I began making my own. I don't like a lot of tacky hardware (I know that sounds contradictory since I make so many studded things right now), I don't like complicated design, and I especially don't like materials that don't feel good. So it's exciting when I find a brand where I like almost everything.
Deadly Ponies, coming out of New Zealand, is a great new handbag line. Everything is made by hand and the leather quality looks awesome. Check out some of the little photos I pulled off their website:
Cool belts...Look...they even do painted things...Deadly Ponies website here.


David Himel's blog The Art of Vintage Leather Jackets is one of my favorites for all things leather - history, hard to find jackets and boots, vintage details, and behind the scenes glimpses of tanneries and leather-working. Check it out if you're interested.
Amazing photo from his site of one of my favorite birds, Cate Blanchett, sporting some fine English gear. Check out her rings...and the fringe.


For some new bags I'm making. They have a really interesting texture with lots of tiny holes and an almost waxy feeling. It's always makes me a little sad to see them like this...