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Jan 8, 2014

ULTIMATE Upcycle -- Leather Sofa into Leather Newsboy Cap!



Believe it or not, friends, I used to own the same identical sofa pictured above, picked up at a thrift store nearly 15 years ago for a song.

It was already beaten up when I got it and became much, much more so when we got dogs.  Here's Michael lounging on it a decade ago.  Look at those lustrous curls!



Back then, before I ever dreamed of sewing celebrity, my apartment was done up in true mid-century swinging bachelor pad style.  I do sometimes miss my aubergine walls...



Anyway, being the thrifty person I am, when the sofa was finally too beat up even to sell on Craigslist and was about to go to sofa heaven, I stripped most of the leather off the cushions, and I've had the scraps in my fabric stash ever since.  This was a high-end sofa in its day and the leather is soft and supple.  I've been meaning to make something with it and now I know what: a leather newsboy cap!







Ever the prescient sewer -- I even kept the covered buttons!





I've practice-stitched on pieces of this leather many, many times and it has never given my machine problems.  Can I actually make a wearable garment?  We'll see!

This is what I'm aiming for:



Readers, some questions:

1) Have you ever turned old furniture into new fashion accessories?

2) Would you consider a project like this to be upcycling (since the sofa was headed for the landfill), recycling (since I'm not working with actual garbage),  or the catch-all, re-purposing?  I want to get my terms right.

3) Don't you think Michael should grow his hair out again?

To the sewing machine, Batman!

30 comments:

  1. Recycling, and yes, the curls look good!

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  2. Leather cap...ABSOLUTELY!
    ( but PLEASE make it smaller)
    ...the leather will drape differently, and appear even bigger.

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  3. I plan to do the same with our couch when we get a new one! I think I would call it recycling.

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  4. What a great idea! Are you going to make it as large as the original?

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  5. I vote for curls. I love the aubergine walls. And why didn't you post a pic of yourself?

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  6. Love curls, my daughter has curls. Looking forward to seeing your leather Newsboy. Those buttons might come in handy after all.

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  7. Yes, I use all different materials to sew and create. Since I mainly sew household items, and things that are useful then I definitely would find a use for the leather. At the moment I am finishing off vintage aprons that were for presents 3 Christmas's ago. Hopefully, they will be finished this Christmas. I love the curls, don't mind the walls with the right accessories. I remember that color was all the rage at one time. Great idea the cap.

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  8. Oh that hair! Though lustrous, I think he's got a good thing going right now :-) And that was amazing foresight, Peter, to strip that couch. I cannot think of ANYONE else who'd think to do that.

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  9. How about elbow pads on a jacket or the shoulder "gun patch" seen on military inspired sweaters? Also, I did not know that you lived with Peter Frampton!

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  10. Yes on the hair, no on the hat - I'm with okaysofi and think you'd be better off saving the pieces for future details. A leather newsboy is just - somehow - a little creepy...

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  11. Wow, who wouldn't smitten by those baby blues, curls and smile! Vis à vis upcycling/recycling, I *think* it goes like this: recycling takes waste & makes it into something else (think plastic bottles into polar fleece fabric) whereas upcycling takes something unwanted (waste) and changes/renews/remakes it into something wanted (like leather cushion covers into a hat). But I'm prepared to be converted :-)

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    1. I agree completely-- something about the curls really sets off Michael's eyes.

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  12. I would stick with upcycling. Artistic terms are flexible. Whatever the artist says it is, that's what it is. :-)

    I have never done anything like that, yet, but I would.

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  13. Wow, those curls are fantastic on Michael.

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  14. I love the idea of a leather newsboy cap, but I AM glad it's brown and not black. That would be a bit leatherdaddy.

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  15. Excellent! I vote for 'upcycling' because, as gorgeous as the sofa was when new, by the time you scrapped it, it really was scrap.
    I'm so glad I'm not the only one who grabs and hangs onto fabric not likely to come my way again. I've found thrift shop 80s dresses and skirts are wonderful sources of leather and suede. Not too many lambskin jackets make it to the thrift store, unfortunately, but a lot of the silk, lace, rayon, and sheers I use for dolls' clothes and shoes come from 80s clothes which are old enough to be there, but no so old yet as to have rotted.

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  16. Ahhhh! Please sew this! And then let me try it on, so I can determine if it is just like the one I have always wanted (from a production of Something's Afoot, nonetheless!)

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  17. Wow, I'm amazed. Definitely, a yes to all 3 questions :-) I think the ladies would turn it into a bag! Your sewing machine must be really powerful!

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  18. 3 - Well, you know I'm biased toward curls. And what lustrous locks they are!

    2 - Upcycling I think

    1 - No, but I have a leather couch that is nearing the end of it's (first) life...

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  19. Yes! Michael should grow his hair! :)

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  20. Don't let him grow it out - every woman who comes near him will want to rap those curls around their fingers and you will get jealous. Plus it's not as..brown? these days. I also see why in his head he is still an autumn not a summer! Love the reuse of the sofa for a hat. You sat on it and now it will sit on you! Ooo err!

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  21. I save every leather bit that comes my way; I snatch up leather and suede skirts at thrift stores, f'r instance. I would definitely have recycled the leather off a couch, even one in as uggh-y a colour (poo-poo brown, looks like!) as that one (Sorry, Peter!) Leather is getting harder to come by now that people are down on red-meat eating,

    Oh and while Michael looks cute in his curls, he definitely looks "distinguished" with that magnificent silver hair and those electric blue eyes! We should all transition into middle age so gracefully!

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  22. I love those aubergine walls! We've got Cab Sav walls in the main bedroom, probably as a result of growing up with neutrals on every wall I think. Anyway, now I don't like neutrals much, we have colour on most of our walls and I love it!
    No leather sofa's here to save the leather from, but I do have a few skins I picked up years back; one is probably going to become a bum-bag for my husband. I might use another for a hat though; for me though as he won't wear hats.

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  23. Of course this is recycling and genius to think of using your sofa! And though I love the curls he looks so handsomly mature now.

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  24. Michael is so adorable with his curly hair, he looks like a 70's rock star!

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  25. Random thoughts:
    1) since you're dealing with fabric, couldn't you use the term "re-fashion"?
    2) my bedroom is currently painted that color purple.
    3) yes to the long curls, so cute.

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  26. you better keep those pics of Michael and his lustrous curls away from that wretch of a cousin of yours - she's bad news when it comes to a hot fella and with those baby blues and bouncy curls she'll set her cap on him i'm sure!

    Yay to the leather cap!

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  27. 1.I once re used some piping cord from a chair, but I haven't done that with fabric from furniture. I absolutely would do it though, if I had a dying piece of furniture covered with nice quality fabric.

    2.I like the term recycling, or re-using, because the term upcycling annoys me.

    3. YES! Those curls are absolutely gorgeous!

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