Tuesday, June 16, 2009

THE leather jacket

Remember this? I've been collecting various leather items (for years!) with the intent of cutting them up and making my dream leather jacket out of them. Well, I finished it several weeks ago and here it is!!

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.
  1. Use leather needles in your machine and change them frequently (I used three just on this jacket)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Surprisingly (to me at least) you can successfully use fusible interfacing on leather. I used the wool setting with steam and it worked great.
  6. 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.
  7. ...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.
  8. 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.


  1. amazing! gorgeous! i'm just thinking about learning to sew and found a leather purse-from-skirt project that sounded cool. THIS is AMAZING and i will definitely be coming back for inspiration once i'm a bit more accomplished :D

  2. I can't believe I didn't comment on this! I've also fantasized about the perfect leather jacket but am intimidated by the price of leather and the possibility of making big, irreparable mistakes. A refashion is a great idea and yours is almost identical to what I would make for myself! You're amazing!