Thursday, 11 October 2012

Donald, Where's yer Troosers?

I am sitting rather gingerly while I type this post. The reason is this...
My very first attempt at sewing with leather and I'm not 100% confident in the integrity of the seams, so I'm taking it a little easy on movement and stretching. This is actually 'left-over' leather from the intended jeans (which are cut out but yet to be sewn) and was a really good learning exercise: stitch length, type of needle, speed of machine, how many layers I can actually sew through and generally all about how the fabric behaves (or not).

The skirt pattern is Vogue 1324 and maybe not the best choice for a first leather garment. There are no side seams but a triangular side inset, hence the seams lie towards the knees at the front and back. All seams are topstitched and there's an invisible zipper - ha ha ha - so the instructions say! It is a very fitted pencil skirt as you can see from the photo, whereas, mine is not.
Darts in leathers are a wee bit of fun. Sew as usual, then slice through the centre as far as is safe to do so, glue the flaps down and bash with a hammer instead of pressing the living daylights out of them. There's something rather rewarding bashing things with a hammer.
There was tiny cut in the leather which I only noticed after I had sewed the centre front to the side triangles, so it was patched with a piece of lining and more glue. It has held up remarkably well - so far. 


Detail of the topstitching and if you look very carefully, many skipped stitches. Apparently this is common when sewing with thicker leather and is remedied by hand stitching through the holes to grasp the thread into a stitch-like look.


This is my kind of hemming - glue and clothes pegs. Let set for 24 hours.


Finished article. You can't press the dart points flat, heat only stretches leather. DH (who knows everything) says the only way to 'press' the skirt is to wear it. It should take on my shape (dear help us all!) and the little bumps will smooth out with time. He says leather only gets better with age - like him!

No photographer this evening as he is at choir practice so I used the self timer in teenage son's bedroom. Some shots have my reflection in the mirrored wardrobe door for 360 viewing pleasure.

The zip was a real hassle. I did use an invisible one but inserted it more like a regular lapped zip. At the waistband there were just too many layers for the machine to cope with that I ended up sewing the top bit rather badly by hand. It's holding.



So the jeans are cut and rolled - don't fold leather - it creases, ready to be sewn.

I think I'll test drive the skirt first to judge the quality of the sewing before commencing on the jeans. I did not enjoy sewing with leather but this may be down to the pattern rather than the activity. 




Wearing it is even stranger. 

Hope your sewing activities are going well and even if I don't always comment, I'm always reading, keeping up to date and silently admiring from afar.

29 comments:

  1. Your skirt looks fabulous! You also look super skinny!!!

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  2. Very impressive skirt! Did you use a mechanical sewing machine?

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    1. No Sharon, just my little Janome. My mother still has her treadle Singer and I might borrow it for the jeans waistband construction - mine just doesn't have the muscle to punch through 4 layers of leather.

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  3. That cut is v interesting. I really like the seams going towards the knees; possibly something that would suit me.

    Thanks for the helpful insights into sewing leather. I enjoyed the image I have of you bashing your darts with a hammer....

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    1. Marianna the skirt design is great. I'm making another in wool at the moment - so much easier.

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  4. Great skirt. If you have leather you want to use but it feels a little thin, apply iron on non woven interfacing. Did this to leather jacket made for teen age son and it survived much wear. Sheila

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    1. Thanks Sheila, all advice gratefully accepted. I think mu problem was that this leather is too thick rather than too thin.

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  5. Oooh, I am envious! I have this pattern too, but it's way down the queue.. I was thinking of using heavy wool, but now you have me considering leather ;) Your first attempt with leather looks fantastic. Did you make the pattern without alteration?

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    1. Dig it out Sarah - I'm making it in wool now.

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  6. The leather looks really soft and buttery, it makes a very sophisticated looking skirt! Can't wait to see the jeans :)

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    1. Suzy, not soft rather stiff sort of feels like the skirt is sitting around me rather than on me, if you know what I mean. Maybe it will soften with wear.

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  7. Despite being difficult to sew, your skirt is lovely. It fits you well and show off your nice figure.

    karendee

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    1. Well thank you - comment like this are ALWAYS welcome!

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  8. You did a marvelous job on that leather skirt, Ruth--most impressive for a first attempt at sewing with leather. The fit is wonderful.

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    1. Thanks Kathryn. I wore it at work yesterday and it didn't fall apart! I had my jeans in the car just in case.

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  9. Wow Wow Wow!!! A successful leather skirt - and it looks brilliant on you. Very styish and perfect for both casual and formal. Can't wait to see you in the leather pants ...

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  10. You are sleek and spanky in this- that shape is fabulous!

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    1. Yep the skirt is flattering, I'll give you that. As for sleek and spanky - maybe not. But thanks Ann for the alluring alliteration

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  11. wow well done and the skit looks great for a first attempt - I hope you are happy with the road test and ready to start the trousers.

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    1. Should have made a jacket!!!!!

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  12. Nice job, really like the skirt. I agree a jacket would have been good. Where did you get your leather as it looks great.
    Regards,
    Tracy

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  13. I'm super impressed! Love how the design lines show up so well on the leather. Very good job. I'm looking forward to the jeans.

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  14. Your skirt is very impressive. The interesting seaming shows beautifully in the leather, and the fit looks great. I love your hemming photo ;)

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  15. Missed this post for some reason - really nice job. And I doubt I'd have seen the skirt from the pattern photo -- that gold cowlneck draws all the attention where in fact this is a fabulous pattern.

    I had an old Singer 66 when I was in college and made an enormously thick leather cape on it for a friend (I had no fear in those days) as well as some other leather pieces, and never had a skipped stitch. You may find that vintage is the way to go for this.

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  16. Found this through pattern review! Just finished the skirt and really enjoyed seeing yours! Wow- so ambitious! Mine is wool, so was much easier but I still had issues. Am starting the blouse today - cut it out last night. You CAN fit that gigantic piece onto 43" fabric, but just barely, up to size 14. I'm using "radiance silk/cotton" from fabric.com, which was expensive for me. It does hold a crease, though! And now that you point out the cost of the ready-to-wear garment, I can't wait to brag to my husband!!!

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  17. This was really interesting - thanks for sharing! I'd love to give leather a go...

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  18. Wow, you are my hero! Another pattern I am dying to try and you fearlessly tackle it in leather. I think you look fantastic in it! The color is super chic and the shape I think is way better than if it was a very fitted pencil skirt. For some reason tight leather equals trashy in my mind. And thanks for the tip about topstitching leather. I love the topstitched look and now I don't have to worry about skipped stitches (I'm allowing myself to use your method on thick fabrics and not just leather, hope the sewing police doesn't come after me.)

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