This Instructable describes the making a leather flexi-8 for styling your hair, inspired by Lilla Rose. When used with a hair stick (or pencil), this type of hair accessory can hold a lot of hair, but won't tug unevenly like regular elastics can. It uses a small strip of material, and you're welcome to substitute leather for recycled bike tube rubber or other durable material of your choice. The size of the flexi-8 is determined by the length of the rope/leather tube.
I learned leather working from Instructables' free leather classes (beginner and intermediate), and you can too! The technique used here is particularly informed by the Round Handles section of Mikaela's thorough tutorials.
You will need:
- Small length of cotton or poly rope
- Cutting mat
- Strip of leather wide enough to wrap around the rope with seam allowance (mine was 1.25")
- Waxed thread and a needle
- Round leather cord
- Stitching chisels
- Rotary cutter or utility knife
- Pliers (optional)
- Double stick tape (optional)
- E6000 or other glue (optional)
Step 1: Cut & Mark Leather Strip
Use a ruler and rotary cutter (or utility knife) to cut a strip or leather slightly wider than the circumference of your rope.
The length of your strip will determine the size of your figure eight, which affects how much hair it can hold. I used a strip about 10 inches long for a flexi-8 that is appropriately sized to hold all of my long, fine hair. Make it longer if you've got long thick hair, and smaller lengths will produce hair accessories suitable for half-updos, etc.
Scratch stitching lines a short distance from each long edge using an awl and ruler.
Step 2: Punch Holes for Sewing
Use a stitching chisel to create evenly spaced holes along each stitching line. If you don't have downstairs neighbors to worry about, use a mallet to thwack the chisels. My quiet alternative was to use an adjustable tool handle to hold the chisel and press down very hard with both hands.
Step 3: Apply Double Stick Tape (optional)
Apply a strip of double sided tape along the center of the flesh side of the leather. Press it down firmly before peeling off the paper backing. Stick your rope to the tape and wrap the leather up around it. The tape step is optional, but it's handy for keeping everything in place while you sew. Fold your roll into a figure eight to preview the final look.
Step 4: Whip Stitch Seam
Thread a leather needle with thick waxed thread (about 4x longer than your tube), and begin stitching from the inside going out. Pull the thread through, leaving a short tail inside the tube. Stitch around the seam and into the same hole again, then continue whip stitching all along the tube. Use a thimble or pliers to help move the needle if the stitching becomes difficult.
Step 5: Shape & Wrap Junction
When you get to the end of the tube, use the remaining thread to stitch the ends to the middle, anchoring the figure eight shape. Wrap the junction in leather cord, and use a little glue to secure (optional based on your tie-off). Allow to dry before wearing.