Cloth and Hide · Leathercraft · Watches

Adventures in leatherworking: update

So it’s been about 5 months since I started my new hobby and I think my skill levels have certainly improved. Stitching is neater, lines are cleaner, burnishing is better.

My main improvement has come from getting some decent tools -rotary cutter has been a godsend for cutting out straight strips of leather. I’ve learnt a few tricks so that starting and finishing stitches are neater and more consistent.

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Cloth and Hide

My new fav jeans

I’ve been pining after a pair of orslow 105’s for a while now. Mid/high waisted and straight leg, they tick all my boxes for fit. And to top it off, they come with a 30inch inseam so I don’t even need to get them hemmed.

I had already resolved myself to saving up for month or so to cope with the price tag when an innocuous pair of “orslow denim jeans” appeared on eBay, shipping from Japan. They were a third of the retail price and marked “preowned” but seemed to have no fading whatsoever. I enquired a bit more and they were indeed a pair of 105’s in my size and three days later I was wearing ’em.

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Footwear

Smoke Jumper

So years ago I saw on Instagram (I believe it was Papanui’s) a pair of John Lofgren donkey punchers. At first I was like wtf is this? It was a pair of boots, but with lace holes that seemed to extend further down the vamp than normal so that they kinda looked like an angry pug. And then there was this funny moustache thing coming out from the laces and the curvy, slightly effeminate heels. I was not immediately taken by the style but the image swam to the back of my mind to be retrieved at a later date.

During my visit to Blue Works vintage clothing I saw Steve wearing a similar design but without the moustache (which I later learned is called a false tongue or kiltie). I believe his are a two-tone version where the upper and the lower leathers are different colours. The combination of extra lacing and rounded toe makes for a heavy-duty, tough-looking boot. Steve was wearing his with OG107 fatigue pants and I thought they looked bloody great. I learned that his pair was from Wesco and I slowly but surely fell down the rabbit hole of Pacific Northwest boot companies. Continue reading “Smoke Jumper”

Leathercraft · Watches

Slowly but surely

So an update on my new little hobby: leathercrafting. Making watch straps, as I’ve discovered is not as easy as it looks. There are tight tolerances and a few millimetres off here or there makes for an unco-looking strap! Slowly but surely I am making progress.

My biggest challenge so far has been my choice of leather. I bought a piece of black chromexcel offcut from eBay and I thought “sweet!”. But it turned out to be too thick for watch straps.

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Footwear · Musings

Rethinking Black Shoes

Ask me a year ago (hell, a season ago) and I would have said that you don’t really need black shoes. Ok, maybe one pair for weddings/funerals/job interviews that you dust off occasionally, but the rest of the time you can wear brown. Black is just too stuffy and formal. Brown shows that you are more casual, cooler, more stylish.

But lately I’ve been coming back around. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been looking at too many Japanese denim blogs and Insta accounts or my current obsession with Pacific Northwest bootmakers lately (more on that later) or just too many guys wear brown derbies these days. It’s not that my opinion has changed about sleek, formal looking black dress shoes – I still think black oxfords are still too formal for my day-to-day wear. It’s the casual black footwear that’s got my attention lately.  Continue reading “Rethinking Black Shoes”

Cloth and Hide · Leathercraft · Watches

Strappin’ novice

So I began my leathercrafting with making some watch straps which is probably not the best thing to start off with. Watch straps have extremely low tolerances and tight gaps and are small fiddly things that you see up close. The tiniest bit of not straight stitching is immediately evident. And the tiniest bit of not straight cutting results in a buckle not fitting or not fitting between the lugs. Anyway it’s too late now, so if I can make straps I should be able to make anything?

First up, the tools. I started off with some basic tools from Birdsall Leather: pricking irons, grooving tool, needles, waxed linen thread, hole punches, and a skiving blade. I had other basics like a rubber mallet and metal ruler at home. Some cheapo wood and chopping boards finished off my beginners kit.

I had some kangaroo leather scraps which I bought from Birdsall leather so my first strap was a double layered strap which was stitched along the length. This is actually the hardest kind of strap to make so I had jumped right into the deep end. I started off by making a template out of some breakfast cereal box cardboard.

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Cloth and Hide · Musings

Clothes to survive dadhood 

Being a dad has made me appreciate tough clothes. Unless I’m at work, my clothes have to be functional and survive the rigors of being smeared with food or faecal matter, wiped with snot, scratched, scraped, and vomitted on. They have to be occasionally Napisan’d and scrubbed. It’s a hard balancing act, being a dad and trying to be stylish.

I’ve embraced the dadstyle hard. My wife says I’ve gone “full Chevy Chase”. I’ve got the whole camp mocs, Hawaiian shirt, ragged old five panel cap thing going. It’s a nice mixture of interesting and rugged that’s been surviving trial by monster toddler so far. It’s also not loungey streetwear that just about every guy is wearing these days. Camp mocs are also a great casual alternative to sneakers when wearing shorts.

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Cloth and Hide

Jeans ain’t jeans

I’ve started getting into a bit of raw denim lately. For those of you who haven’t been steeping in hours of Reddit/rawdenim, raw denim is denim that still has all of its indigo dye. It hasn’t been washed and it isn’t faded. Because of this, it is stiffer than most jeans you’ll find at the shops. But after a period of wear, it will develop a fade pattern that is unique to the wearer.

The world of raw denim is a peculiar one and once you do the deep dive as I have, you’ll realise there’s a lot of ritual, tradition, hearsay, myths, and controversy on the internet. Do you soak or not before wearing for the first time? How do you soak? What are the benefits of chainstitching hems? Should you wear your jeans into the ocean??

I started off with a pair of Levi’s Vintage Clothing 501xx 1947. LVC is a fantastic line in the Levis universe which recreates iconic items of clothing from their long history. And the 501xx 1947 is, you guessed it, from 1947.

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Cloth and Hide · Musings

Amazon Launch and the Australia Tax

Seems like everyone waiting with bated breath for Amazon to launch in the land of Oz have had their shopping heaven dreams crushed. Newsflash: Amazon is not the retailer-Armageddon. Not yet anyway. Not only is the range of products on Amazon Australia much much smaller than the US counterpart, but the prices are pretty much what they normally are in Australia (read: rubbish).

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