Thursday, September 12, 2013

Within Driving Distance

Yesterday morning - when I walked into the studio - it stunk ! ! !  Tracing the odor to the source, it was coming from the leather coat I'd bought used at Value Village. I hadn't noticed the smell before, probably because it's been bagged since purchase, but after it had sat out the night before it seems the previous owner may have been a smoker... or something else... stinky.




Based on what I've learned recently about working with leather, I cut it apart on the seams and threw the (many) pieces in the washing machine. They're still drying but they seem somewhat reconditioned so I'm curious what will happen after I press them... on appropriate heat... with steam. Either way...




... it doesn't look like I will have enough leather for all of the coat pieces. I've cut and traced each one individually and what a lot of pieces for a size three coat and the band is missing from this picture. It's 6" x 27".




I went on-line to price purchasing leather and based on the square foot calculation of 16.6 square feet with a bit extra for fiddling and fussing, I would most likely need four skins for a cost of about $200.00 for lamb skin. Plus shipping. Not likely. The 100% polyester faux leather shown above was $52.00 less 50% on sale. That seems far more reasonable and perhaps easier to look after for a toddler since it's completely washable.




When I cut the Value Village coat apart, the lining was underlined with a layer of batting. The lining and the batting were not attached except at the seam line. I have some lovely Kashi lining in a blue that will be perfect and eliminate this step. I bought it in the bargain center years ago for $2.00 a meter. I'm always amazed at what I find back there. There was nothing wrong with the lining other than that it was old stock... which is commonly expensive stock.




There were four buttons on the original coat that I cut off and put aside. It's highly unlikely there will be enough leather for this little coat for my grandson however, if there is, the coat has a center front zipper and won't need buttons. If there's not enough, I'll look at either sewing a bag for myself or mixing the leather with another fabric to make a jacket in which case I may need the buttons. The Winner's catalogue came in the mail yesterday and...




... the jacket on the front appears to be a mix of leather with men's suiting. It's inspiration - not just like that - but something like that.

I've been pondering the phrase within driving distance for the past few days from two perspectives. The first is a BLOGGER MEET-UP. Do you live within driving distance of Kamloops, British Columbia and would you be interested in a meet up on Saturday, September 28th? We could meet at a restaurant, bring show & tell, and organize a pattern and fabric exchange if there's sufficient interest. If so, send me a private email at myrna AT myrnagiesbrecht DOT com and let me know how far you'd be driving so we can pick a reasonable time.

AND... in terms of teaching... one of my favourite ways to teach is a privately hosted workshop. I did this a lot in the past when teaching textile art. An individual - as opposed to a group - took the initiative to say THIS is what I want to learn and then together we figured out a workshop that merged that wish list with my skills. Sometimes, we met in the host's home but more typically the host rented a room in a community hall or church and the costs were shared between participants who were friends and/or acquaintances of the host or group members from a wearable art, sewing, quilting, or art based group.. or friends of friends. Most classes had between six and twelve students but depending on the facility up to twenty works well. What's wonderful about this way of teaching and the phrase...

... within driving distance is that there's less pressure because no flights need to be booked. In the event that things don't work out, no one is out a lot of money plus the cost of the workshop remains lower because the shared expenses are lower. Lunches were usually a potluck and most often I was hosted overnight by one of the participants. It worked fabulously.

Does that sound interesting?

If so, within driving distance means about 10 hours to me so that's as far south as Portland, north to Prince George, just past Calgary if going east, or over to Vancouver Island if going west. If you like the idea of hosting a workshop, please let me know and we'll see what we can put together that will teach what you want to learn. What fun that would be ! ! ! ! !

This weekend, I'm going to visit my daughter and her family - leaving early tomorrow morning and returning Monday afternoon. There won't be another posting until Tuesday and I'll be unable to reply to comments and emails over the weekend but things will be back to normal next week.  Have a great weekend.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - experimenting with washed leather, learning new things

10 comments:

  1. really? You can put leather in the washing machine? Interesting. I have an old coat which is so out of style-your beautiful work might be the impetus I need to refashion it. Looking forward to seeing the next steps!

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    1. It took a while to dry but the wash didn't affect it at all. OTOH - I ironed one piece on too hot and put a shrink mark in the middle so a lower than wool setting is needed and I'd vote for a pressing cloth. Other than that, it looks quite good. I may condition the pieces with coconut oil since it's my latest thing and I have lots on hand. I tried laying out the pieces and there's not enough for the little coat so I'll make it out of the faux and use the leather for something else.

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  2. A few months back we had a speaker from Tandy Leather come to our guild and talk about sewing with leather. She mentioned a product called NEATS FOOT OIL to soften leather. I haven't tried it personally but thought I would share this with you, FWIW. Good luck!

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    1. Thank you. I'll do some research into that product. It was amazing what washing it did though. I just got back from showing it to my friend who saw it before and after washing and she couldn't believe the change.

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  3. I wish I lived within driving distance of Kamloops. Deep sigh.
    And, thanks for the photo of the jacket combining menswear & leather! Very cool and inspirational. Just like you!

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    1. Sign. I wish you did too. You're welcome for the photo. Thanks for the compliment.

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  4. I went on a spree of buying old leather coats at Goodwill a year or so ago but I haven't figured out what to do with the leather. Thanks for the inspiration and the information on washing it. As to Neats Foot Oil every kid I ever knew used it to soften baseball gloves.

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    1. You might want to wash a sample just in case I lucked out but it seemed to work fine. Apparently, I need some Neats Foot Oil. I never played baseball so I missed out on the whole oiling the glove thing... thankfully... I'm so NOT athletic.

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    2. We used Neats Foot Oil for boots and saddles and anything leather. It really works.

      I would like to meet for the bloggers day but I have a feeling it will be crystal day as I get ready to ship things to the client. I have a leather jacket to make and I am DONE!! October 22!!

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  5. Your idea of "driving distance" really resonates. With the house concerts we put on, it's similar in that the artists go from one house to another within driving distance of each other. I also feed the artist dinner and put them up for the night if they wish (I'm close enough to Toronto they often have people/family they want to see too). As the host, I benefit from some 1:1 time with them at dinner and I like taking care of people. I don't mind that aspect at all, I suspect your hosts would feel the same.

    As for the clearance area, I think knowing fabric is a skill that takes time. People (including myself) don't always recognize a quality product. I'm learning to look more carefully at content and feel. I've bought some lovely silk/cotton blends on clearance.

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Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.