Few things add edge to a look like bits of metal leering out from an unexpected angle; in combination with swingy fringe, the trend has continued to stomp down many a runway. Adding a touch of tough to pieces you already have in your wardrobe is a fun way to freshen up your look. But be careful: there is a wrong way to stud and fringe your basics, so we've put together this helpful little primer on Badass Embellishment Skills 101.
*3/8" Silver Small Conical Studs ($3 for pack of 100, StudsAndSpikes.com)
*Piece of scrap leather that matches your bag (try a craft or buy leather supply store)
*1/8" Wide Suede Lacing (around $3, JoAnns.com)
*Glue: we recommend either Loctite Vinyl, Fabric, and Plastic Clear Glue ($4, Lowes.com) or - what shoe repair guys use: Barge Cement
*ruler or straight edge
*black heavy-duty thread (optional; try extra-strong Hy-mark or millinery thread)
*sewing machine needle for medium-weight leather (optional, not pictured)
*sewing machine (optional)
1) MARK THE SPOT For this project, we chose to stud straight down the center of the bag, plus add a few onto each shoulder strap. Once you decide on where you want to place your studs, mark with a pen if you need to; alternatively, if you press a stud firmly into the leather, its prongs will leave small temporary indentations.
2) POKE HOLES Quickly, before the indentations fade, use a sharp awl at the prong-marks to poke a hole through the leather. WHAT NOT TO DO: Reasoning that prongs are flat so the corresponding hole should be as well, many people incorrectly slit the leather with scissors. Wrong! Once folded over, the stud prongs will compress and pull the leather in such a way that previously-small slits will be stretched wide - leaving you with a mess of ugly gaping holes.
3) FASTEN THE STUDS IN PLACE Force the stud prongs through the holes you made; while you're pushing on the stud, stretch the leather around the prongs. On the underside, grip the prongs with pliers and fold each prong down on top of the other. Tighten with the pliers by squeezing both the top of the stud and the center of your folded-over prongs; the prongs will be slightly pushed into the hollow underside of the stud.
1) PLACEMENT Using a straight-edge and a pen, we angled our fringe-line into the center of the bag.
2) GLUE Directly underneath your drawn-in line, place a small amount of glue.
3) ADD THE FRINGE Dip one end of your suede lacing pieces into the line of glue; place the other end of the fringe next to it in the glue, creating a long fringe loop at the bottom of the bag (which you will later trim to the length you want). Repeat until you have filled the entire fringe line with side-by-side lacings, looped over at the bottom of the bag.
4) FINISH OFF THE TOP OF THE FRINGE Cut two identical strips of leather that are slightly longer than each glued-down line of fringe. Hide the glued-down lines of fringe by covering over each with a leather strip, and glue to secure. OPTIONAL: To make your work look really polished and professional, topstitch the edges of the leather strips with heavy-duty thread and a sewing machine needle (rated for sewing leather). That way, no one will ever know the finished product was actually a DIY project!
2) STRAIGHTEN IT Straighten out any kinks in the fringe by hand. Then stand the bag up to dry, using gravity and the weight of the wet fringe to help it dry sleek and straight.
3) TRIM IT When fringe is completely dry and straight, cut it to the length you want.
4) CONGRATULATE YOURSELF on a job well done!
With such a fabulous brand-new on-trend bag, you'll want to pull it out at every opportunity: with a tweedy boyfriend jacket and sparkly skinny scarf; with a chiffon frock belted high with a huge stretchy 80s belt; with....
- Carly J. Cais, Contributing Editor
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