Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Random thoughts

Posted by Lissa on June 8, 2010

My head is an absolute muddle of thoughts this morning.  And none of them are clear, articulate or pithy enough to warrant its own post.  In no particular order, then:

  • I really wish I knew how to sew.  I’ve used a sewing machine for one project in my life and that was sixteen years ago.  It’s not too late to learn now, is it?
  • But sewing machines don’t sew leather, I don’t think.  How does one sew a custom holster?  Doubletrouble, does your wife do it by hand?
  • I can sew buttons and that’s about it.  However, I have a project that I hope to reveal to you later this week, when my desired package arrives in the mail . . . more on that in a few days . . .
  • I’m shocked, shocked, that anyone was shocked about Helen Thomas’ views.  I was only surprised that a) she was that completely blatant about them — D.C. is a town of obfuscation, as we all know; and b) that she retired because of them.  It’s nice to know that open calls for ethnic cleansing are still frowned upon in high society.  One needs to be subtle about those things.
  • Man, it’s such a raw deal that Israel gets.  North Korea can kill 46 South Koreans – a classic casus belli if I ever saw one – and China can kill a few hunded Uighers, but Israel and Teh Joooooos are Teh Ebil! *spit* Never mind the Russians’ actions about the Chechens, or the divided city of Nicosia, or the Turks’ suppression of the Kurds, or the crimes against humanity going on in Congo — it’s time to Blame the Jew again!
  • Has anyone tried substituting mascarpone for cream cheese?  (Yes, I know that’s an abrupt shift, but there just wasn’t a good transition available.)  I made these over the weekend (and froze most of them for company this Sunday); I thought they were delicious, but Mike really hates cream cheese and couldn’t abide the frosting.  Think mascarpone would work as well?
  • While I was getting my hair cut on Saturday I saw a guy get an honest-to-goodness Mohawk.  I wanted to pinch his cheek and tell him to get some pegged jeans.  God, I must be getting old.
  • Actually, my birthday’s this Saturday.  Know how I’m celebrating?  Mike and I are going up to take our second class at the Sig Academy.  Awwww yeah 🙂

That’s all the randomness I can stand for today.  Off to go abuse treadmill.  Happy Tuesday!

10 Responses to “Random thoughts”

  1. Brad K. said


    Sewing is like shooting. Takes a few minutes to get started, someone to remind you of safety gotchas for a while. It takes time to master the hand positions, to build strength and flexibility and overcome the cramps, and to build consistency and accuracy.

    Equipment is critical to good performance, but familiarity with your equipment and supplies counts a lot more. That is “the right” or “the best” tool is great – for the d00d that knows it thoroughly, has mastered the “best” techniques, and can get the best performance out of that equipment.

    Don’t expect to spend less time “getting it right” with sewing, than on the range. Practice, practice, dear one, practice. You will be able to see, right in front of your very eyes, when you skip regular time-on-range.

    Just like there is a difference between target work on the range, varmint hunting, and plinking in the woods, there is a difference between patching and constructing. Patching can be a handy break, because it lets you check how others put that part of the garment together. Laying out new material is *different* from cutting a chunk of scrapped denim to patch a favored (or needed) pair of jeans or whatever.

    When you need it, it can be really handy to have the stuff ready to tack down a seam that is letting go, or other minor repair.

    Unlike shooting, sewing should result is smaller caluses and less need for ear and eye protection. Often the “tactical bag” is a re-used Danish butter cookie tin, and weighs less.

  2. Dave said

    I just started making holsters myself, and have had great luck with my 1940 vintage Singer. The only thing I had to do different was to purchase leather needles for it, which are available on Amazon.

  3. secretlivesofscientists said

    Mascarpone will go with pretty much everything, but it doesn’t really compare well to cream cheese. It tastes like whipping cream and it melts like butter when spread on something warm.

    • Mike said

      I also suggested ricotta as an option, which might work better in terms of staying solid.

      • Dr. Feelgood said

        I’ve run ricotta through my food processor to smooth it out, and it compares well with cream cheese.

  4. Dragon said


    Drop me an email at dragon@dragonleatherworks.com, and I’ll happily give you pointers on leather stitching. Sewing, typically, is a term reserved for working with cloth…Stitching is what you do with leather.

    If you want a leather stitching machine, the mainstay of the trade is the Tipmann Boss. Runs around $850 – $975 used, and about $1,250 new.

    There is a great video on a site from another leatherworker, that takes the process of making a holster (which takes about 7 days, what with glueing, wetting and forming, drying times, etc.) and condenses it down to a 20 minute video. The stitchng machine that is featured in said video is a Tippmann Boss.

    The video can be seen at http://www.adamsleatherworks.com/index.php/how-s-it-made/

    Yo can also hand-stitch using a needle awl, a stitch spacer (an embossing wheel that marks where you stitch, so that your finished work is evenly stitched) and a canvas hand stitcher. I did hand stitching when I was trying to come up with my own holster designs, but my work is more suited to riveting the leather as opposed to stitching.

    Making a holster with hand stitching isn’t easy, as you typically work with 8 to 9 ounce veggie tanned leather (thats roughly 1/8″ thick). Its hard to push a needle through two pieces to stitch them together, which is why you use a needle awl to make the pilot hole for the stitch.

    Anyways…you got my email. If you would like pointers on getting started with doing basic leather work, feel free to drop a line…


    Dennis aka: Dragon

  5. Michael said

    Learning to sew: It’s never too late to learn anything. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway.

    Sewing leather with a machine: A stout, metal-framed home sewing machine will usually sew lighter leather. I’ve got an 84-year-old Singer Model 66 that puts carpet thread into upholstery leather quite happily.
    If you want to sew the kind of stuff holsters are made of though, it takes a different kind of machine altogether. A household machine very simply will not punch through that kind of leather, nor will it run thread heavy enough to do the job.
    For that, you either need an industrial sewing machine (count on a four-digit price tag), or do it by hand. For a one-time project for yourself, hand sewing leather is not that big a deal assuming you get the right tools. Go to the nearest Tandy or whatever leather craft store is in your area and tell them what you are up to. I’ve always found them to be helpful. Otherwise, feel free to drop me an email and I’ll be happy to share more of what I know without completely taking over your comment section.

    Sooper Seekrit Projkt: Ooooo! I’m looking forward to that!

  6. Mrs. Doubletrouble said

    yes Lissa, I sew some holsters by hand and some by machine. The machine is a hand-operated Tippman Boss. I learned leather work by doing hand sewing on repairs and I’m more comfortable with it, but the machine is better for speed (large projects go faster on the machine). I use a stitching awl and punch the holes with an awl or special punch tool.
    I find the machine is a little cranky; it doesn’t like some leather, it doesn’t want to stitch next to a buckle, or it will skip stitches for no discernible reason.
    Lightweight leather can be stitched on a regular machine, as others said. Just get a heavier needle and some upholstery thread; but you can’t do holsters on a regular machine.

  7. Sevesteen said

    I’ve done a handful of hand-stitched holsters, using 8-9 oz veg tanned leather. I cut the stitching groove on one side, dampen the groove slightly, use the wheel to get spacing, then pre-drill the holes with a drill press and a tiny, tiny drill bit. Cut the groove on the other side, then stitch. I’ve got some documentation of my hand-stitched process here If someone disagrees with my method, they are probably right. I’d suggest taping your pinkies when you sew–I wound up using the cut-off fingers of rubber-coated knit gloves. (The entire glove was too bulky and screwed up my dexterity too much)

    My Mom just bought me a Tippmann Boss that I picked up from the Tippmann factory Friday. Not quite as nice looking as hand-stitching, but hours faster on a holster. The Boss is a very heavy duty machine, manually operated–each pull of the handle gives one stitch. I’m still learning–It is working well for me except at the beginning and end of stitches.

  8. Dixie said

    It’s not too late to learn now, is it?

    No, my grandfather learned in his 40’s (early 50’s, maybe?), and he was sewing quilts in a few years. Sewing is one of those “things everyone needs to know,” if only for being able to stitch shut a busted pair of pants while traveling. (chuckle)

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