Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Obsessed With Double Belts

UPDATE: J.Jill sells this belt in gray and black for $34 now.

I've considered getting a very simple double belt like this Eileen Fisher belt at Garnet Hill for quite awhile:

It's also online at Dillards, Nordstrom, Neiman-Marcus and Saks in various colors. I love the minimalism. No buckle to imply any style so you can take other accessories in different directions. Right now Nordstrom has the Graphite color in one size only on sale for under $50 but it's $98 everywhere else. It is Made in America, in NYC. So that's a bonus by my count lately.

I may experiment with making a similar style. You can get a 72" length of leather strip at Tandy Leather in various widths. The 3/4" width is $13.99 for 72" strip. But it's natural cowhide, so the option to color it is a plus or minus depending on how much project you want to take on. Of course Tandy has dyes, paints and stains in many colors, and Edge Kote if you want the edges to look nice and finished. Tandy also has the tools to punch holes, and if you have to purchase these just for this project, the DIY ROI starts to look not-so-good. Although I already own these from scrapbooking projects.

And for the final important piece, Tandy has the Stud Thingie. Yes that is an official term in my house.

Or for a rocker chick look, try a dog collar spike:

I don't know about you, but I've never had a dog tough-looking enough to pull off wearing spikes on its collar without looking silly. I'd probably look silly wearing spikes too!

I already have a Stud Thingie, so the only thing needed is a leather strip long enough to wrap around my waist and upper hip area twice.

Save on shipping by seeing if there's a Tandy store in your area.

I should add, I don't mean to be an inadvertent shill for Tandy only. Their brand-building works as it's the first name that popped to mind. There are many other sources for these same supplies such as Zack White Leather Company which has a larger selection, and many at lower prices: long leather strips for double belts in many widths and you can even choose a preferred thickness, button studs, a ton of dyes and finishes, and tools like belt punches.

If you want a finished leather or a textured leather, try leatherwise on eBay. You may need to double up the leather and edgestitch and possibly piece strips together to make the belt long enough. This metallic blend of copper and brass in their eBay store would make a gorgeous belt:

Or how about this brown embossed ostrich texture:

You could also call their store in Santa Cruz, CA to see what leather solutions they have. I've ordered from their eBay store many times and loved all leathers I've received.

Wa-la ... a double wrap belt for not a bad price!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Make A Birkin or Kelly Style Bag

Maybe you want to make a statement by carrying a non-animal skin bag. Maybe you don't have the money for the real H. (Uh, maybe? More like, likely.) But still want a classic style like the Birkin or Kelly bags? Here are some tips to make one. It might take some work. But it wouldn't be worth it if it was too easy, right?

-- Search for the OOP Vogue 7892 handbag pattern
-- Adapt this paper Hermes Kelly pattern
-- Download directions to make a Birkin style trash bag
-- Get kelly bag fasteners and padlocks at MacCulloch & Wallis

Trying to make a knockoff look just like the real thing would never ever look right. And it wouldn't be the right thing to do. So get a little crazy. Add your own touches. Why not use an old Hermes-style silk scarf for a lining. And frankly I find the single color bags boring. Mix colors and show your style, like these artist-designed Kelly bags on the Hermes site (to see more, click on the les Kelly de Leila line drawing for a slide show):

So as you can see, you can be inspired by your favorite home dec fabric, faux fur, remnants of tribal fabric, studs, stencils, paints. Have fun with it!

Another personalization idea -- cover the bottom with many rows of feet like those on this Alexander Wang bag:

Check out this new line called Leah & Bliss, where they went nutso, encrusting Birkin style bags with jewels. Then carrying the bags in public. How can you miss this walking down a sidewalk? So people asked about them. Now they sell them. The rest is retail history.

(Pardon me I feel a rant coming on ... WAAAAAAAAAAAAAH why don't I create something fabulous and get the guts to parade it around and then ... and then ... !!!)

Finally, this Washington Post article explains differences between the Kelly and Birkin, but we're not going to worry about this too much, because this isn't trying to be anything like real, right! Although according to this article, it is fitting that Lady Gaga is putting Sharpie graffiti and spiked studs on a Birkin and not a Kelly.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Gallery of Shirtdresses

Who would have thought shirtdresses are interesting enough for a gallery of photos. Maybe they're not. But good ones have a lot of detail to be examined if you want to recreate them, like good trenchcoats.

This isn't the most gorgeous post of all time. Shirtdresses are brainy. And this is a thinking woman's post.

Click on photos to enlarge, or go to the Nordstrom product links to zoom in to details. If you want to fondle shirtdresses in person, you'll see below, there's only one place you need to go for these.

Safari details. Back yoke. And back center seam allows for some adjustment.

Trenchcoat-style flaps. Gathered sleeve hem. Princess seam and center back seam.

Note the extra wide hem.

Contrast collar detail. Big casual pockets to match slouchy casual feel.

Burberry at Nordstrom
More gunflaps. Self fabric belt. All classic on the front. But on the back -- an exposed zipper!

Hmmmmm. How literal. But it's flannel. And the shoulder line ...
Hidden buttons too, very clean. Depends on the look you're after.

Snaps instead of buttons. And the zipper detail ...
Also encased elastic waist.

Drawstrings and interesting collar for casual wear.

Back to work with this style. Or a party. Darting at the waistline. This belt style goes well with the collar and puffy sleeve. Maybe that's what makes me think of party. Not keg kind of party. More like wine and cheese.

Ruched waist.

Mandarin collar. Waist features drawstring in back.

Zipper closure instead of buttons or snaps. Very safari. Cute in khaki or navy.

Lots of topstitching, including lines over the pockets. Check out the waist. And raglan sleeves meet yoked back. Darts for shaping. Spend time looking at this one.

Snaps. Interesting back belt feature on dropped waist.

Who thought there could be so much to shirtdresses!
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