Leather Sewing Tips From My Pink Skirt



I used my basic skirt block to create a paneled pink leather skirt with leather I bought in South Los Angeles. I couldn’t pass up this pink leather….and the skirt works with my handmade mesh top made from a Lekala pattern.sav mor leather

Sav Mor Leather in South LA. Let’s just say it’s an adventure going down there. Lock your car, then be prepared to be amazed at this place.Pink leather skirt : Leather sewing tips

I cut my basic pattern into quadrants. I’m still working on this design as I’m trying to eliminate the darts while still having a tight fit. I’m not so crazy about the darts in the leather and prefer a  smoother look . But I’m happy with my  leather skirt anyway. I did make a muslin and made sure it was TIGHT. Leather should have a tighter fit as then it stretches out so much with time. I would advise to make it tight.Pink leather skirt Leather sewing tips

It’s not perfect . The leather shifted a little while sewing so the seams aren’t lined up and I was afraid to rip it out because I didn’t want hole marks. I did mess up the zipper the first try. But I think I figured out a good way to sew this type of zipper.  If you look at leather clothing in ready to wear you can often see the zipper teeth exposed, but NOT the whole zipper. I couldn’t find one tutorial for sewing this type of zipper so I’ll be creating one.Pink leather skirt : Leather sewing tipsHere are a few tips for sewing garments with leather.

Pink leather skirt sewing tips

I use weights to lay out my pattern then trace around the pattern. Another option is painter’s tape which comes off easily. Also, I cut out extra pattern pieces and create a mirror of any pieces on the fold so I can lay out the whole pattern on the leather.Pink leather skirt sewing tipsI use leather needles and a roller foot which glides easily over the leather.gluingdartWhen sewing a dart, I cut apart the dart and use rubber cement to glue it to the leather reducing bulk. The rubber cement dried clear and flexible.ClippingSA

I use these binder clips from the office supply store to keep the pattern pieces together. Pins leave permanent holes, plus they bend in leather.flatfellseamFor this skirt I used flat fell seams. I cut one side of the seam down, then ironed the SA to one side.  On my next skirt, I’ll open up the seams and glue them down.usingpressclothYou CAN iron leather but use a press cloth and no steam.topstitchseamI topstitched the tops of the seams on one side.

zipperTo make the exposed zippers, I folded the zipper seams over 7/8 of an inch. My regular seam allowance was 5/8 of an inch. This makes a 1/2 inch opening for the exposed zipper teeth. I glued them down and let it dry. I cut the very bottom of the zipper straight across the 1/2 inch opening.zipper2This was my second try at the zipper. See how the holes were left in the leather? I used more rubber cement to glue the zipper to the SA on the outside since you can’t baste leather. I let the zipper dry overnight. Once it’s dry it can be sewed through. I top stitched around the zipper.zipper3interfacingI interfaced my facings with fusibles, and ironed with a press cloth.waistI also redid the waist facing. The first time I topstitched it, it skipped stitches from the bulk. So I pulled out the top stitching and glued the waist down. I did buy some actual leather cement and wonder if it will be more durable than plain old rubber cement.hem.I also glued the hem. This turned into a sticky project!

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  1. says

    You look wonderful in this terrific skirt. Thanks for the great close up detail pics. Love the zipper and look forward to your tutorial since that is a tricky area. Bravo!

  2. says

    you did an awesome job! Your choice of the pink leather is perfect, and the zipper looks so cool. Thank you for all the tips–I’m thinking I might be able to tackle some leather after this post and the other about your jacket. Thank you!!!

  3. says

    Loving your ambition and eagerness to conquer the fears of sewing with leather! Very excited about your upcoming tutorials and leather sewing tips! Kudos on the pink skirt! Beautiful!

  4. says

    Fantastic, Justine! I learn something new from your post, thanks for sharing your experience sewing leather.

  5. Judy says

    Thanks for sharing the sewing with leather tips..Love the pink Leather skirt.. Just beautiful.. Great job.

  6. Debbe says

    You should look into the leather bag class on Craftsy. Since you know so much about sewing leather, it would be interesting to know if you agree with his techniques or have improvements. It’s a pretty good glass. I’m just afraid to buy leather and screw up. Your skirt looks fabulous on you!

  7. Georgia says

    Hi Justine!
    Your skirt looks very nice and it suits you perfectly, although I wouldn’t imagine that for a pink coloured material 🙂
    You can eliminate darts this way on your pattern: you extend the dart center to the seam, always squaring down. Re-design the dart extending both sides to the seam as well, meeting the dart center. Close each dart towards side seam and stick it close with some tape. Redisign waist curve above darts if needed. Voilà!!! You’re ready! Now your darts are vanished but you’ve retained the fitted look.
    Hope you’re always creative and successful with your projects 🙂