Tag Archives: clothing design

Studio/Skill Upgrade: Leatherworking

I’ve been putting this off for years.  I’ve always wanted to work with leather, but I have talked myself out of it over and over.  “You don’t need any MORE tedious crafts to do by hand.”  “You have never done this before.  It takes years and years to learn this craft.”  “You will mess up.  Leather is expensive.”  “Don’t kill the animals.”  etc…..

I love leather. I don’t want to, but I do.  I absolutely do.

I have quite the garment weight leather stash from years of collecting thrifted garments, friends’ worn out leather coats, scraps from other people’s leather projects, etc.  I started to actually use it by incorporating small leather accents into my designs.  It’s not enough.  I want to design with more leather.  I’ve decided to really jump in and order a couple leather sides in a harness weight and make some all leather items.  Fine leather goods.  Harnesses and hardware.  I’m totally in.

The problem?  My studio is set up for creating garments and accessories out of fabric.  I can handle garment weight leather from my stash, but I want to make things out of heavyweight leather.  Time to start collecting leather tools!

My first leatherworking tool: a round knife.

The other problem?  Yeah, so I’ve never actually made anything out of really heavyweight leather so there’s that whole learning curve thing ahead of me.  Luckily, I’m really used to being self-taught and trying things I’ve never done before (aka: almost the exact definition of my costuming career) so no big deal.  I’ll suck for awhile and then I won’t (fingers crossed).

Bridles from a friend to inspect, disassemble and use for parts.

I’m trying to get my hands on all sorts of leather items to see how they are made.  A friend gave me a pile of horse bridles to get me started.  I don’t *think* I’ll be making horse bridles, but I can see how the makers handled the leather and learn from their construction methods.

I’m creeping closer and closer to the day where I put in a big order for leather and I feel like it’s a big jump for my brand.  I am excited.  I am nervous.  But mostly I am excited because the worst thing that can happen here is my closet gets filled with a bunch of interesting leather pieces for me to wear.  NOT BAD.  The best thing that can happen here is all of YOUR closets get filled with my interesting leather pieces for YOU to wear.  NOT BAD AT ALL.


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DIY-ish Clothing Labels

I’ve had “Order New Clothing Labels” on my to-do list for forever.  I put it off for so long because I know what I’ve had in the past and I know what I DON’T want, but I don’t necessarily know what I want.  Until I figure that out exactly, here’s another stop along the way: the DIY-ish label made from custom printed fabric from Spoonflower.  I consider them DIY-ish because it FELT like a DIY project because of all the stuff I did but I guess I didn’t print the fabric myself.  So, DIY-ish….?

What I love about these labels: very economical, able to make small orders, easy to change the design with each order, totally custom.  What I don’t love: they are printed (instead of woven), there’s several steps involved to turn them into labels, they either have raw edges or serged edges (or tediously folded and pressed edges).

Here are the steps I did to create my clothing labels:

WIth my freshly opened package from Spoonflower.

First I designed the labels using Photoshop.  I have zero pictures of this because the process was mostly me with RAGEFACE grabbing and shaking my laptop screen in frustration.  After I sorted through all that computer design, I ordered a yard of fabric from Spoonflower with my uploaded image.  I designed two different labels, but had them repeated within the same yard.  One label has my brand and website on one side and laundering instructions on the other.  The second label has the garment size on one side and a little sketch of me on the other, because why not?

Audio Helkuik Labels

I prewashed and dried the fabric and then pressed it to get ready for the next step.

Cut & serged.

Next I cut the strips of the labels apart and serged the edges.  I wasn’t sure if I would like the look of this but decided to try it out on this round of labels to find out.  They look kinda DIY, but I’m kinda into that so it’s totally cool.

Stacked and ready.

I clipped all the labels apart and organized them by laundering instructions (four different phrases) and garment sizes (five sizes).

Front of first tag: audio helkuik,

I already started using them in my upcoming collection, prysm.break.  Here are the labels sewn into a tank from prysm.break.

Back of first tag: machine wash cold, hang to dry. Front of size tag: S.

While I don’t necessarily love that I have to use two separate tags, it’s the only way I could feasibly have a zillion different size/laundering instruction combos without giving myself a mega headache. Plus, it gave me a space to put a little happy Audio waving hi!


Price was a huge factor in my label decision-making process.  I looked at a million really cool labels from clothing label companies, but most of them were pretty pricy AND you had to make really large volume orders.  Since I’m still deciding what exactly I want in a label, I didn’t want to commit to thousands and thousands of one label right now.  With this method, I got about 220 of each style, so around 440 labels total.  I think I paid $20-ish including shipping, so it was a reeeeeeeeally affordable option.

I’m definitely not the first to make labels this way.  I have seen some tutorials on it before. Here are two blog tutorials that I read:

See Kate Sew:

Little Kids Grow:

To create your own labels (or any custom designed fabric) on Spoonflower’s website:


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