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.
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.
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.Here are a few tips for sewing garments with leather.
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.I use leather needles and a roller foot which glides easily over the leather.When 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.
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.For 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.You CAN iron leather but use a press cloth and no steam.I topstitched the tops of the seams on one side.
To 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.This 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.I interfaced my facings with fusibles, and ironed with a press cloth.I 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.I also glued the hem. This turned into a sticky project!