I couldn't be happier with how it came out. The leather is so soft and buttery and it fits me PERFECTLY. The pattern I re-used is Vogue Elements 7266 - it's out of print now which is a shame because that whole Elements line was the best thing Vogue ever did, in my opinion. I used thrifted polyester satin for the lining and a reclaimed zipper that I shortened and dyed black. The only new things I used were the needles, thread, snaps, and interfacing.
And for completeness - here are pictures of two of the jackets that went into making it:
Leather is definitely not the easiest material to work with.
- Use leather needles in your machine and change them frequently (I used three just on this jacket)
- Don't pin anything! I have rubber coated metal clips that I use to hold the pieces together while sewing. I've read that paper clips work well, too, but haven't tried those.
- Keep your seam allowances in mind when assembling. You don't want to have to sew through eight layers of thick leather if you can help it.
- Use a slighly longer stitch length than you normally would, particularly if the leather is very soft. Leather needles are shaped like a triangular blade, and so are literally cutting through the leather with each pass of the needle. This can result in perforated pieces that easily tear apart if you're not careful.
- Surprisingly (to me at least) you can successfully use fusible interfacing on leather. I used the wool setting with steam and it worked great.
- I wasn't able to find rubber cement for use with leather, so I tried the "regular" kind. This did not work. At all. The suede side of the leather completely absorbed any cement I tried to apply.
- ...but it doesn't seem to have mattered! I didn't do anything to the seam allowances (with the exception of #3 above) and it still looks great.
- As time intensive as it is, hand sew as much as you can. This ties to #4 above. I used leather needles made for hand sewing (and a really good thimble) to sew all of my linings closed and it really made a difference.