Zippered faux leather skinnies

I’m not going to lie. This was a slap dash, poorly thought out project. I just suddenly, desperately needed a pair of leather skinnies with feature zippers and I thought I could whip them together using a bit of cheap, novelty fabric.

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I freestyled an existing trouser pattern into a slimmer design. However, I realised along the way that the fabric (faux stretch leather) needed to be very close fitting in order to minimise the sight of ugly wrinkles and creases. I should have started with a leggings pattern, not a pants pattern. I had to narrow the legs further as I went, by inches at a time. It was never going to bode well.

The irony of the matter is also that this faux stretch leather is only slightly stretchy, and in one direction only. It’s like wearing skinny jeans in non-stretch denim. There’s not a lot of give when I bend and stretch. I’m pretty sure I’m going to rip the crotch seam next time I wear them, but I’ll still happily wear them until I do.

The three feature zippers are non functional. I installed them as per this tutorial, however I covered the backs of mine with a soft fabric, rather than add pocket bags.

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In any case, it was a fun make. I needed a frivolous sew after I spent so many hours on my coat, and these pants suited the purpose well. And besides, everyone needs the occasional wadder to keep things real!

 

A blue cotton top

I’m putting this top to bed. I like it from some angles and not from others. I might still wear it, or I might cut it up and modify it, but I don’t think I want to make another.

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The fabric that I’ve used does it no favours. It’s a denim-look cotton shirting with just enough stretch to keep the bound armscye and neckline permanently wrinkled, despite a good pressing.

Perhaps I could lower the neckline and change the shape of the front armscye, or add darts, but I’m just not loving it either way. And I need to love it if I’m going to spend any more time on it. Sometimes you just have to let things go.

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Refashioned slightly for wearability

I quite liked the idea of a long, graduated hem for this coat when I first made it (even if the husband was quick to tell me that the shape reminded him of the wings of a cockroach). Even so, after wearing it a few times, I started to find the length in the back annoying, particularly as I could feel it against my legs as I walked. 

 
 


I’m also quite excited about the piece of fabric that I chopped off. I think it might be the perfect shape to turn into a capelet or bonnet for one of my little peeps.

Sew DIY Lou Box Top

I’d like to introduce you to my brand new, hot of the press, Lou Box tunic by Sew DIY. I was a pattern tester for this top which meant I was lucky enough to be one of the first to make it. Now, I know very well what I am like when it comes to patterns and sewing. I very rarely stick to patterns and I’m quite useless at following directions, which is why I don’t often put my hand up to test patterns. I think it would be unfair of me to sabotage a new pattern without being able to give proper feedback.

When I saw my first sneeky peek of the Lou Box top I knew I could commit to testing the pattern properly because it looked perfectly perfect exactly as it was. It is such a simple design, chic and elegant, and very easy to sew. Beth has also included a few different hemline and neckline options in the pattern, without you having to go all maverick and invent them yourself.

 

The pattern includes instructions for sewing it with a woven or a knit fabric. I chose to use a beautiful Italian cotton jersey for my tunic. I made the scoop neck version and I’m very happy with the degree of scoop. I used the curved hem pieces and the dip hem as a guide for the back length, and then I simply lengthened my pieces each by 10cm to create a tunic instead of a top. I wanted the longer length to wear with my leather blocked leggings.

 


I stitched up a size XS/X according to my measurements on the packet. This threw me, because I am a 34.5″ bust with broad shoulders which would usually place me as a size 12 or M in most patterns. I needn’t have worried though. The pattern measurements correlate beautifully and I am really happy with the fit.

I will definitely use this pattern again. It makes a fabulous summer top or tunic. I can see myself sewing up a silk version in a few months time now.

Upcycling: Leather blocked ponte leggings

These leather blocked leggings actually started out as a leather skirt. I purchased the skirt on Ebay for $13. I found a skirt in the largest size I could find, the longer the better. Luckily, leather midi and maxi skirts seem to be in very low demand on Ebay, with most going for a steal, if they even sell at all.

The quality of leather of the skirt was nothing like the gorgeously soft and glossy lambskin that I’ve used before, but it was perfectly fine for this project. The skirt was listed as ‘new’, but the leather actually looked as though it had been washed. I’ll give it a bit of TLC with leather cream and I’m sure it will come up better. 

For the making of these pants, I kept all the seams of the skirt intact, but I did cut off the hem and buttons so that I could lay it flat as a single layer on my cutting mat. You can see some of these seams on my legging panels. I think the random seams add to the interest factor.

 

 
 

I used a beautiful black ponte knit for the back of the leggings as well as for the front knees. Breaking up the leather on the front of the leggings was necessary due to the amount of leather I had on hand. But placing the ponte at the knees also meant that these pants do not restrict my leg movement at all. They are super comfy!

The pattern I used was Vogue 8859, a Marcy Tilton pant. I’ve used this pattern before in my pre-blogging days. I’m completely useless at making notes on pattern pieces (although I am trying to work on this). One thing that I love about blogging is that I have pictures and pattern modifications documented in a way that I can easily go back and look up again. Anyway, I remembered these pants fitting really well the last time, except for being a little too high in the waist. These are the only photos I have of my last version.

Isn’t this the most fabulous ponte knit ever! I think the print was called Dragonfly Fantasia.


In my first version, I ended up hacking off the waistband after I’d sewn it, before restitching the elastic back on, a little lower down. This was a messy modification, but perhaps even messier, was my 2012-self attempt at recording this change by simply putting the hacked off portion back in the pattern packet!

So to summarise my modifications in this pattern:

  • removed 1.5″ of length through the crotch
  • removed the yoke
  • narrowed the waist through the back crotch seam by 1.5″
  • drew up a waistband to stitch to the top. I inserted my elastic through the waistband instead of directly to the pant as specified in the instructions.
  • skipped the pocket
  • added 1″ in leg length

This was an incredibly simple make. I think the panels of leather have turned a very basic, everyday pant into something a little more special. I know I will get heaps of wear out of them during winter. I also quite like the look of them dressed up with my trusty ‘white’ make from back in May.