Last Tuesday, the debonair and ever entertaining Kenneth King shared his knowledge of working with leather and suede with a group of sewists at Mood’s NY locale. What. A. TREAT. Leave aside the fact that I could listen to this man talk about cardboard for ninety minutes…he covered enough about this enormous topic to make us all feel like paying Dmitry in leathers a visit straight after.
I had no idea leather was so…manipulable. Is that a word? I don’t feel I should call it manipulative, as I don’t think it’s trying to control my actions behind my back. Unless you count the fact that the mantra I MUST HAZ LEATHER is now on repeat in my head, that could possibly be considered thought control. There are so many ways to mold and shape this material. For example, the dart. You can slice that jammy open and slide it over rather than folding it. Besides making up samples right there and then on his droolworthy vintage Bernina, Kenneth had a glorious handful of leather samples with different seam finishes–just look at that slot seam. I want a full length leather duster, slot seamed from shoulder to floor. How cool would that be?! Several times, Kenneth advised using an “acid green contrast leather, peeking out of a white bodice. And how about a blood red leather paint on the edges of the seam?”
GET OUT OF MY HEAD KENNETH KING.
You can hammer this stuff. Glue it. Tape it. Shave it. (Seriously… with a callus shaver.) And oh, so many new notions to play with…
My sewing desk would be like a mechanic shop! Mechanics, they hold a special place in my heart. My dad owned a gas station, and taught me, to the point where I could diagram it, how a combustible engine worked. I floored my 7th grade english teacher by presenting this information in a paper, and then lecturing the class on it without looking at said paper. Ah, Mr. Schultz. He knew how to push my feminist buttons, and I knew how to wreck his chauvinist view of the world. But I digress.
The insides of Mr. King’s kit. As fellow bloggers Devra and Tricia noted, every time he pulled out a tool, it went back in exactly as it was. I can only imagine the order of his studio. One brave attendee asked to borrow a pencil from his kit to make notes. I almost fell over as I watched her grab a red waxy pencil to scribble with. I have to wonder what would have happened if she’d asked to touch his beloved Bernina…
Now that coat, I DID touch. That’s the lining you’re looking at. THE LINING. The outer shell is made from… wait for it… synthetic hair weave. The leather collar is handstitched with great big thick diagonal swaths. It’s glorious.
Have you worked with leather? Would you? I’m completely smitten, and the leather boots I wore to class obviously say “I’m okay with it.” I kind of want to make a forties cocktail dress out of it.
Possibly with a nice hair weave trim.