Wednesday, March 24, 2010

new necklace: recycled leather

A new necklace! This one is made of some leftover fabric scraps I got in a swap, leather sequins (more on this below), glass beads (the smallest beads) and smoky quartz beads (the medium and large beads).

I can't seem to recall where I saw these necklaces - I thought it was on For Me, For You, but it might have been Unruly Things or frolic! or somewhere else altogether. Regardless, I saved the image so that I could remember to copy the necklace on the left.

I cut all of the leather sequins by hand from scraps of leather that I salvaged when I worked in retail. You see, when I worked in a certain women's boutique, all of the leather goods came on specially padded hangers. The pants and skirts would come with a little rectangle of leather that had been placed between the ridged grippers on the pants hangers and the garment, to keep the garment from developing ridged patches while being shipped. Unfortunately, we knew our clientele would not carefully replace those leather pieces after trying something on, so I had to remove all of those pieces before moving the garments to the floor.

I hated all the waste in that store. I actually started a recycling program that eliminated 80% of our waste and saved us money (because recycling was free, but we paid for our garbage service by the trashbag). I'm not a vegetarian, but I do hate to see animal products go to waste, even scraps of leather like this. So I started stacking them up, and slipping them into my bag. I never knew if it was kosher with the company or not - I figured it was easier to ask forgiveness than permission, and no one ever noticed that I was taking these things home instead of throwing them out. I still have hundreds of these things, about an inch to two inches wide, and about 3 inches long, in various shades of tan, brown, and black. Most are suede.

So, for this project, while it would have been nice to use a firmer leather, I wanted to use up some of these scraps. I lightly pressed them with a dry iron on low setting to get them all flat, then, using a die I bought from a leather goods shop online, I scored about 5 leather "sequins" into each piece. I had to cut all of these circles by hand, which took a while, but the sewing went really fast, at least. I made up a pattern for the base using paper, then cut and stitched it out of some scrap fabric. All of the sequins and beads are sewn on by hand, but even with some 300 or 400 of these 3/4" sequins to attach, I was able to stitch about 3/4 or more of them on in a single evening while playing board games to boot.

I still have lots of those leather bits left! I'll have to come up with another project!


VDOprincess said...

this is fantastic. am so jealous of your mad skillz.

Glass Of Venice said...

Wow nice jewelery. The earrings and last neck less i like most. It looks very creative and unique.

Women Leather Pants said...

nice post love it