I started with some faux leather that A and I picked up for costume and an eventual ill-fated vest experiment. It was too dark and a little dodgy, but I cut everything out and tested my snaps in it before I decided to bin that version and start over in actual leather. Years ago, I had purchased Ye Olde Bagge of Leather Scraps at aa hobby store and it has just rode along in my craft stuff, waiting for me to blossom into a found-object-jewelry-making genius. Instead, it went into a sci-fi prop.
Ignore the gift card for right now. That mistake comes later.
With holes spaced outside the base, I'd have a solid object to stitch everything down to that wouldn't stretch or get weird. Using this piece as a guide, I used a thumbtack to poke corresponding holes in my leather and laced everything together. It pulled taut and everything went great! Merry Christmas! Wait, no, it was weird and everything looked strange.
Final Vortex Manipulator