Friday, January 17, 2014

Zippity Do Dah!

What to do with hundreds of zippers??

Here's one idea:

Yes, it's a luggage tag, made with a recycled zipper and recycled leather!

Back to the friend, Sherrie, had received a VERY large donation of sewing supplies, fabric and notions, and sorted it all our for our local American Sewing Guild.  I was away from home at the time, but she offered to set aside a few things for me.  Instead of picking through the zippers, she gave me the whole bag of them -- 337 in all colors and sizes!!

My new zipper stash, sorted by size.
So, I've been looking for projects to make with my newly acquired craft material.

While in Missouri last fall, my niece sought my help in crafting some leather luggage tags that she wanted to make for Christmas gifts.  A quick trip to the Goodwill store yielded the leather in the form of a skirt, a women's blazer and a large purse.  When we were finished, she had 13 luggage tags and a few people scratched off her gift list.

Her project motivated me to make a few luggage tags and I was inspired further by the tiny zippers in this collection.

A red Wilson jacket (that cost me $20 at the thrift store) was the perfect weight for my tags. When recycling leather garments, I found it best to start by deconstructing them.  Using my scissors, I cut the jacket apart along the seam lines, trimming out the lining as I went.

Depending on the style of the garment, you can end up with some pretty large pieces of leather! Also, some of the design elements of the garment can be left in tact and incorporated into something else (like the flat-felled pocket on the right (above) may become the top of a clutch?)

Using my rotary cutter and ruler, I cut two pieces, and sewed the zipper to them.

Sewing leather is not hard, but a few specialty sewing notions come in handy:  first, buy a package of leather needles.  They are a bit heavier and are designed to pierce the leather without breaking.  Second, a Teflon-coated presser foot keeps the leather gliding along under the needle without jamming or skipping stitches. (Someone suggested covering a regular presser foot with a piece of scotch tape, but I haven't tried that.)

After inserting the zipper, I trimmed the leather to create the top of the tag.

I made a 'layer sandwich' of another piece of leather, wrong side up, a piece of heavy vinyl, and the zippered top piece, and stitched around three edges.  I trimmed the bottom leather and vinyl after I stitched them in place, to be sure nothing slipped and the sides of the tag were nice and clean.

I made a little 'belt' out of another strip of leather and a buckle from my stash of recycled hardware, but needed to put a cut in the tag into which the belt would go.

Another notion, called a button-hole cutter, made quick work of that!
The wood block under the leather protects your table when using a button-hole cutter.
When the tag is unzipped, you can slip a business card or a piece of paper with your name and address under the vinyl piece.  The zipper helps protect your identity from prying eyes.  I especially liked the bright color -- it makes it easy to identify your bags in the airport.

I just couldn't help myself when I saw a lavender leather jacket (clearly for a woman!) for about $12 at another thrift shop.  And I couldn't stop making more luggage tags...what a great gift!!

Two different styles of luggage tag made from lavender leather.
Check back later...I have a lot more leather and zippers, and I'm hoping to come up with more ideas how to use them, alone or together!

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