DIY Leather Obi Belt Idea from Lucky Magazine

Spent a lazy Sunday pulling apart the magazines that have piled up over the past couple months…and came across this Lucky Magazine feature in one of their issues from a little while ago (not sure which one).  Sure, P.S. I Made This did a DIY of the obi-style belt back in February, but this is a little bit of a different style – plus includes some sources for buying the leather.  Here are the sources mentioned in the blurb above:

All great sources for leather, but I would also add:

(with stores throughout the U.S., this is THE place to get leatherworking supplies, tools, hardware, and skins)

(variety of exotic leathers and hides)

(includes frogskin and metallic hides)

(extremely high-quality, full-sized hides for a variety of end uses)

And, my absolute, all-time favorite:

(beautiful, amazing array of FAUX leathers and manmade vinyls!!  Yay!)

My Tips: When using lambskin or lightweight leather in a loose, tied belt like in the picture – all you need to do is cut and tie.  (Yay for simplicity!  But don’t ever ever EVER use your the same scissors/rotary cutter you use on fabric on leather…that’s a sure way to blunt your instruments.:-(  Have dedicated leather-cutters if you can!  [I use my kitchen shears that I use to cut other stuff in the kitchen with b/c they’re tough and can really withstand the abuse…but I’ll never cut fabric with them! LOL])

If you want a more structured belt, say like Gucci’s S/S 2011 RTW metallic python version with tassels – finishing the edges properly will make all the difference between looking “home-made” and “couture.”  If you’re using real leather, don’t forget to burnish the cut edges!!!  (What is burnishing? you may ask.  A how-to coming in a future post, chickadees!)



Gucci runway photo, Yannis Vlamos /

~If you liked this post, please share it!~


Leave Comment

The New York Times Really Doesn’t Understand the Meaning of DIY…

 all photos by Kava Gorna,

Or at least the blame shall fall to Chelsea Zalopany, who wrote the Dec. 30 article “Feathered Friends / D.I.Y. Headbands.”

Oh, New York Times.  I appreciate your efforts to make DIY more accessible to everyone, I truly do.  But you’re approaching it wrong.

To make DIY appeal to a large audience, you need to showcase something that’s easy and that anyone can do (at least to start off with; though you can totally go off on a tangent into cray-cray complicated projects once you’ve whet the appetite).

The opening paragraph is almost a contradiction in terms.  How many of you spend the time between Christmas and New Year’s “just sitting around?”  Me, I spend it with family, running to New Year’s get-togethers, send out thank-you cards for Christmas presents, exchanging gifts that were the wrong size or broken when I opened the box, cleaning out my email inbox, taking down the decorations, throwing out all the extra Christmas cookies…and that’s just for starters.  But even in the spare time I do have…if I’m considering a DIY project, well…

It takes Behr three hours to create each spring 2011 twig headpiece, and she’s broken it down into four easy steps. Now that’s time well spent.

Now there’s one sentence guaranteed to strike fear into the hearts of anyone even dabbling in DIY…and enough to send me back to my Christmas cookies.

Why spend 3 hours on a single hand-dyed, hand-shaped, hand-wrapped feather headpiece?  (Unless you enjoy the process that much.)  I’d rather use those 3 hours to make:

*2 Polka-Dot Shoe-Clips
*1 Magazine Clutch
*1 Cage Cuff
*2 Scroll Earrings
*and a Woven Ribbon Bow Tunic

Kind of like the 12 Days of Christmas. You can even set it to music (start with the tune from the “5 Golden rings” part), if you like.;-)  [And all these quick-and-easy projects are coming up here on Chic Steals…stay tuned!]

And all that will probably only take an hour and a half, so you can also make a feathered headband using my tutorial here, just for good measure.:-) [Use a “hat pad” instead of hand-gluing all the feathers like I did; there’s some great choices here.)

photo from

So leave the involved, 4-step process using unbleached coq feathers, setting with vinegar, drying with a hair-dryer, steaming over a kitchen teakettle, hand-stripping, and hand-wrapping painstakingly in wire…to the experts.  That’s what you pay $148 for.  (But if you ever wanted to attempt it, now you know how the designer actually does it.)

The NYTimes also needs to interview someone who actually understands how to translate a hand-crafted, couture piece into something satisfyingly simple (and cheap!) to replicate.  (Probably not the original designer of the piece, unless they can design for the budget market.  It’s a different skill-set to address the questions of “how can we imitate the luxe look and where can we cut corners? How can someone make this at home easily, with readily-available materials?”  These aren’t usually questions up-market designers are asking themselves as they design, which makes someone like this probably not the best source when it comes to a post-holiday DIY.)

And for the love of Mike, have someone modeling the finished product.  A designer (and writer!) should know that the hesitant reader (and DIY’er looking for her next project to tempt her away from those cookies) can be swayed by a well-executed $$$money shot.

What do you guys think?  Are you DYING to try this 3-hour DIY?  Or does it negate the meaning of D.I.Y….a veritable contradiction-in-terms, if you will?


P.S. Thank you all for your kind words and well-wishes to my mother during this difficult time for her and our family. Regularly-scheduled blog content will return tomorrow.  Thank you.

~If you liked this post, please share it!~


Leave Comment

Amazing DIY Inspiration Slideshow at the

The DIY Fashion Examiner has put together a great slideshow of DIY-able looks emerging off the current runways from Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week.  From Cynthia Rowley to Jason Wu, Lela Rose to DKNY, these picks for Spring/Summer 2011 are fodder for any frugal crafter or high-fashion-loving DIY-er anywhere!  Definitely check it out if you want to get those creative wheels a-spinning!


~If you liked this post, please share it!~
Leave Comment

Pin It on Pinterest