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The Yummiest Leather You'll Ever Sew

November 3, 2013

LI-Leather-Jacket.jpgWhen I got an email from Kristl asking if I'd want to make a project using the Perfection Fused Leather that had just come in, I nearly jumped for joy. 

Making myself a leather jacket has been on the sewing bucket list for years -- YEARS -- but it always gets deprioritized for other things or because I feel like I don't have the time to devote to the careful stitching that leather requires or the cash to buy a hide. So you can see why I'd be so excited to play with this new yummy textile. This leather is lightweight and has a rayon backing, making it much easier to sew than unbacked leathers.

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I selected a pattern with clean, simple lines -- Simplicity 2341 -- and simplified it further by eliminating the trim and combining the snap collar of view A and the zippered pockets of view C. I also decided to line the jacket (I used a purple satin), which is not called for in the pattern.

While the rayon backing on this leather makes stitching right-side-together seams easy as pie, any time the face of your leather is going under the foot, you'll need to use tissue paper on it to prevent it from sticking to the pressed foot or the feed plate. Once your stitching is done, you tear away the tissue paper. (Sometimes, you have to spend a bit of time picking tiny bits of tissue residue from your stitching. Put in a favorite movie and have at it!)

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You'll want to set your stitch length a little longer than you would set it for sewing woven fabrics. Even though the backing fabric reinforces and supports the leather, you still don't want to perforate it any more than necessary.

A lot of people like to use binder clips in lieu of pins when working with leather, because pins can leave holes in your fabric.
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I prefer hair clips to binder clips, because you can more easily remove them as you stitch, and they don't leave imprints on the leather. But, they also don't grip as tightly, so you may have to experiment to see which you prefer and what the situation calls for.
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For my sleeve lining, I cut leather facings and stitched them to the bottom edges of the lining pieces before assembling the jacket. That way, the interior of my finished sleeve edge still shows leather rather than lining.
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I sewed the sleeves to their linings at the hem, turned them, then top stitched along the bottom to finish.  I inset my sleeves last, after the rest of the jacket was assembled, and bound the armsceye seams so there are no raw edges showing inside the jacket. Because a jacket like this is best if it has a perfect custom fit, I highly recommend making a muslin first. The sleeves as drafted in the pattern just didn't sit properly on me at the shoulder seam, so I had to make some adjustments. Since you want to sew leather as little as possible to prevent perforation and cracking, you don't want to have to take out and reset seams to get your fit right.  

I'm really pleased with how this project turned out, and I am in LOVE with the supple, buttery fused leather. As is almost always the case when I find a new textile I love, now I want to make something else (or many something elses) with it!
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This page contains a single entry by Holly Frey published on November 3, 2013 10:09 AM.

Knitting Techniques: M1R & M1L was the previous entry in this blog.

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