A simple white staple and a super leather skirt

It might seem like I’ve been churning out a tonne of clothes in the last few months. I sew a little each night and it’s been good to restock my wardrobe. I arrived in Kansas nearly six months ago with one small suitcase of clothes, culled down to the bare minimum. It was seriously all the clothes I owned. But before you feel sorry for me, there were at least another 2-3 suitcases filled to the brim with fabric and patterns that I chose to bring with me in the place of clothes. It’s been great to have the need to sew anything and everything, rather than just wait to replenish staples.


But amidst my wardrobe restocking, I’ve somehow missed out on some staples, meaning long sleeved cotton tops and T’s, the boring stuff. So I decided to sew one. That’s right, one will do me. I’ll stick to frosting any day. It took me a good two weeks to choose the pattern and decide how to modify it. And then it took me another week to actually sew it. It was like somebody pressed my slow-motion button. I can frenzy up a full outfit in 3-4 days if I’m excited enough. Yes, it cuts into my sleep a little, but to me it’s worth it.

I used Vogue 8952 for this top. I’ve used the pattern before, here and here. I made the raglan style this time, but modified it a little:

  • the sizing is roomy so I sewed down a size but widened the back by 5/8″ (my normal broad back adjustment)
  • I widened the sleeves
  • narrowed the waist
  • Increased the hem allowance but kept it straight and simple. I’m most likely to wear this top tucked in.

I’m pretty happy with the fit and the shape of this top. It is exactly what I was after and I know I will get a lot of wear out of it. So was it worthwhile sewing this ‘staple’? It was actually. I was able to refine the shape of a simple top to exactly what I wanted. The fabric also makes a difference for me. As boring as it may seem, this basic cotton knit from Tessuti Fabrics is actually a really beautiful fabric. It’s quite stable, but still stretchy, with a lovely firm weight and feel. It is pure cotton, not poly, so I also know it will last well without pilling.


And now that we’ve gotten the boring old staple out of the way, what do you think of my new skirt?! It’s a pretty simple, self-drafted circle skirt, fully lined in silk habutai from Mood. The leather is a Minelli cowhide from Tandy. It is a fair bit heavier than what I’ve used before and probably more suited to a jacket. I much prefer lambskin, but I compromised on weight to get this colour. I love the colour. It is exactly what I was dreaming of.  

The weight of the cowhide made sewing a bit difficult at times, and I know I could have finished the back waistband better where it fastens. I ended up putting a button on the inside, attached with a leather loop. I couldn’t stitch through the leather neatly enough so I sewed some interfaced fabric on the inside and attached the button to this. It’s worked out ok in the end. I’m going to call that outside stitching a design feature, and cross my fingers that the button holds up to the weight of the skirt.  

22 thoughts on “A simple white staple and a super leather skirt

  1. Lexi H

    That skirt is all kinds of awesome! I have gone the easy road with some leather skirts on sale at Gorman but one day I'd love to tackle sewing a leather skirt like this! A perfect ensemble with the simple white top.


  2. Kathryn

    I think this is hands down one of my favourite sewing blogger makes ever! This skirt is so like my perfect suede skirt that I wore till it fell apart & have always dreamed of recreating! Is this a full circle skirt? You're right about the colour too – it's so rich! I love the sleeves on your shirt too.


  3. Sophie

    That skirt with those shoes!! Yummy. Love the whole thing and I think you are especially clever for drafting that skirt. I like how it's made up of pieces two, kind of breaks the space up a little.


  4. Kirsty

    I've been iove with this skirt ever since you posted it on instagram. I love it and I'd be claiming the back as a design feature. Oh and I really like the way you've installed the zip 🙂


  5. SewJillian

    Well done for making cake, we all know frosting is way more interesting 🙂 But what frosting! That skirt is divine and your machine did well to sew through it. How on earth did you manage the zipper? That skirt has the most lovely movement. Debbie you're a genius!


  6. Debbie Iles

    Thanks Jillian! Everything but the waistband was easy to sew though with a leather needle. Four layers of leather was a bit too much for my machine though!! The zipper was easy because I just stitched the leather onto the tape and used the bottom panel of the skirt to start where the zipper ended.


  7. Sara

    Gorgeous! The top, first of all is really much more distinctive than a basic tee and that skirt is so sleek and wonderful. You must be the best dressed girl in town!


  8. Debbie Iles

    Oooh thank you Oona-B. Having just discovered True Blood, I'm very surprised I was able to tear myself away from it long enough to sew this skirt. If you could per chance, find a way to send Eric Northman my way, consider the skirt yours 😉


  9. Pingback: Top 5 HITS of 2015

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