Thursday, August 27, 2015

Dwarvish Belt

My anniversary gift to my darling husband - 10 years!  It seems like yesterday.

This was a belt blank from Tandy Leather, which I tooled into a pattern based on the Dwarvish designs in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit films.

Design drawn on:

Edges of the design cut with an exacto knife (because I lost my swivel knife) and the background stamped in with a small teardrop camouflage tool.  Where the lines intersect, a shader helps give the impression of over/under:

Dyed black with Fiebings, treated with a finish.  Edges treated with gum traganth and an edge slicker.
Buckle and keeper also from Tandy.  They make it really easy to make a belt - it comes with snaps, so assembly is really just inserting the buckle, sliding the keeper on, and pressing the snaps closed.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Octopus Sandals

This was a quickie project to work on in the evenings during boot school.  There was a fun tutorial being shared all over the interwebs:

Because she goes into so much detail, I'm going to just show a couple of finished photos, and add a few notes.

Sandals can be worn with the straps up the leg, or around the ankle:

Close-up of the tooling & stitching:

So - some things I did differently from the tutorial:

1. I was concerned about the veg tan leather stretching.  I used 2-3oz, and remembering how much it stretched just from tooling, I'm a little cautious.  Especially if one was to wear these somewhere that they might get wet.  So, I bought some ripstop nylon, glued it to the back, and stitched around the edges.  The stitching will also help give it some dimensional stability.

2. I also didn't like the craft foam layers in the sole.  Partly because I was concerned about it's durability over time, and partly because it ripped right through when I was stitching it.  Instead, I used some squishy black leather I had laying around.  It was about 8oz thickness, and because it's not foam, the sandals really don't have any give - they're hard.  But - I remember wearing salt water sandals as a kid, and those were pretty much the same. 

3. Since I have a big sheet of black soling material, I used that for the soles.  Also used Duall 88, rather than Ecoweld to glue everything together.

4. After making the stacked heel and standing on it, it was clear that it would be a very uncomfortable sandal for me without some sort of arch support.  So I made some ovals of veg tan, and skived the edges down really thin, and just moved them around between the layers until it felt better under my foot.  You can't tell from the outside, and it makes them far nicer to walk around in all day.

Things I will do differently next time.  And there will be a next time - a friend desperately needs a pair of green squid sandals, and we'll be making those in the next month or two.

1. I would like for there to be more cushion.  Perhaps poron could be a layer, with some kind of edge to disguise it?  Or maybe I can find it in black.

2. Those long straps don't stay up very well.  There may be things that can be done - like painting some liquid latex on the back of the straps?

3. Those strap ends need a keeper.  That's pretty minor.

4. The strap across the front of the foot needs to be farther forward on the side where the little toe is.  It's not terrible where it is, but a little more coverage there would be good.

5. The tentacle at the back does nothing.  And it would be great if there was more structure there.  So next time, there will be a strap on each side, coming up just behind the ankle.  It'll wrap around the long strap, and be slightly less tentacle-like, but will provide some much-needed structure.