Category Archives: custom work

paint the town

I’ve just added five new fabrics to the swatch gallery, fancy fabrics perfect for your holiday party-going.

red silk with gold embroidered fleur di lys black cotton with oversized silver damask print

I’ve got pure silk with a fleur di lys pattern (above left – in gold, too!), black cotton with an over-sized metallic silver damask print (above right), and two vintage kimonos that are dying to become your next evening bag (below).

vintage kimono with silver embroidered chrysanthemums vintage kimono with metallic embroidery

I picked up these kimonos last spring during the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC, and sadly they are extremely damaged in some places, but that just makes them perfect to upcycle into elegant evening accessories.

Both are rather subdued (compared to my usual fabric choices: bright colors and wild patterns, as you well know), but I think the subtle metallic embroidery is bold in a sort of retro way. These kimonos are about fifty years old, so it makes sense that they evoke images of a stylish mid-century lady getting ready to paint the town red.

Contact me at custom (at) if you want to take some of these home!


stash boosting

…which is the opposite of stash busting, of course. I don’t even pretend to do that anymore.

black and white abstract ikea printblack and white abstract

These two black and white abstract prints are from Ikea, and the awning-style stripes below are vintage. Bright, aren’t they?

yellow navy red and whitenavy, blue, orange and white

Anyway these are the latest additions to the fabric gallery. All of these are heavier-weight cotton canvas, perfect for the notepads and pocketbooks. I seriously doubt this will be my only stash update before the holidays, but it’s never too early to start thinking about your gifting needs no?


new fabric!

I’m sure you’re shocked to hear this, but I’ve been fabric shopping.

I could claim to be stocking up for the winter, but I think we all know that I gather fabric for my stash year-round. Like a squirrel hoarding nuts!

These are just a few of the quilting-weight cottons I’ve added to the gallery, just in time for you to start contemplating your holiday custom orders. These look great on the jewelry rolls, hair accessories, and you can bet that you’ll see all of them on the obi belts in a few weeks.

As always…more on the way, for both this gallery and the heavy weight fabrics. Anything in particular you wish I would stock? (I’ve had more than a few requests for more animal prints…) Tell me what you want!


how to wear your obi belt

The obi belts have been getting lots of love lately, especially at the Squidfire Philly show and the Art on Belmont show. I made a whole bunch of new ones and put them up in the Etsy shop, if you haven’t seen them yet. A question I have gotten from some customers at the shows is: how to wear the obi belt? They would be intrigued by its shape and seduced by the fabric, but weren’t sure how to integrate it into their wardrobe, or were concerned they couldn’t “pull off” such a bold accessory.

Luckily at Squidfire I was wearing mine, so I could easily demonstrate how I would wear it…which is in no way the last word on the subject, but since this is my blog, let’s do it my way (cue Frank Sinatra), and talk about how I would wear it!

The Holland Cox obi is a solid color canvas or denim on one side, and a lightweight cotton print on the reverse, reinforced with lightweight interfacing on both sides. This means it will be stiff enough to hold it’s shape and cinch in the waist, but still flexible enough to be comfortable. The belt is designed to be worn at the natural waist – it will not bend around your natural curves properly if you don’t position it where you waist naturally dips. The widest part of the belt is only 5 inches wide – and as a petite, short-waisted person, I can personally guarantee that 5″ is not too wide for anyone! Don’t be scared of the wide belt!

The other important design point is the extremely long ties. They are 36″ to 41″ long, long enough to wrap around your waist and tie in the front, the side, or in the back if you really, really want to (but I love the look of the front or side knot). My obi belts feature ties in a print that either matches or coordinates with the printed side of the belt.

Holland Cox obi belt with contrasting ties

This belt is a dark eggplant canvas on one side, and reverses to this lovely polynesian floral. Instead of using the same floral for the ties, I chose this coordinating hexagram print. You could wear the solid side of this belt with a more conservative outfit, like a dress in solid brown or cream, and then wear it on this side when you were feeling more playful.

Holland Cox obi belt with a side knot

This belt is olive green canvas on the reverse, and I used the same fabric for the belt and the ties, although the belt is cut on the bias – I can’t resist cutting on the bias with stripes or checks! The effect is especially cool with this wild pattern, I think, plus the diagonal lines make you look skinnier! I love wearing my belt with the knot on the side, the way it is shown here.

Like all Holland Cox accessories, the obi belts come in very bold patterns and color combinations. This actually makes them easier to wear than plain black or other neutral-colored belts, and here’s why: I don’t have to know any of you personally to know that most of you have wardrobes that are 80 to 90% solid colored. (Go on, go and look.) A single, eye-catching accessory can therefore inject quite a bit of excitement into several different outfits, especially if you choose one that either has a lot of different colors in it, or includes a color that you wear all the time.

You can wear the obi belt with just about anything – dresses, skirts, tailored pants…the only thing it won’t work with is something that has it’s own bulky belt built-in. At the Squidfire show, I wore mine with jeans. I didn’t take a picture of myself, but this little collage shows the basic ingredients I used: my belt on the printed side, dark blue jeans, a long scoop neck shirt in a bright color (mine was purple – not tucked in), a coordinating shrug (mine was brown), and interesting accessories.


black & white & blue


I think the obi would look especially cool on any outfit that accentuates the waist – like a fitted dress with clean lines, or a top combined with a wide, circular skirt. Adorable! Do you have an outfit that would look stunning with an obi belt? I would love to see the way you wear your obi belts!



new in the etsy shop: notepads

One of my favorite non-handbag things that I have designed: the notepad! It is so utterly utilitarian, but also very pretty, an excellent way to show off some of my favorite fabrics. A perfect present for someone who isn’t “into” handbags, but would still really appreciate a handmade gift.

I just added seven to the Etsy shop. All the ones shown above, plus one more in the blue geisha colorway. Quite a few of them are even appropriate for the men in your life! I won’t let it be said that I exclusively use girly, floral fabrics. As always, I’m happy to do custom work on these, just let me know what you’re looking for!