Leather trimmed tunic

I have this idea that I need to practice fashion illustration. I have a fabulous set of Fashionary sketch books that have been sitting untouched for at least a month. I see beautiful fabric and I simply can’t control myself. A vivid picture forms in my head and I pounce on that fabric, much like what happens when a vampire sees blood. Now who’s been busy watching too many episodes of True Blood back to back…

So once again, my plans to sketch this dress fell through. However, I did manage to use up the rest of my little bitty leather scraps (from here) and my black ponte (from here), so I’m going to give myself a high five for scrap busting anyway.

The dress is basically a modified version of Vogue 8840 (seen before herehere, and here) with a bit of leather embellishment. I used a metal ruler and a sharp rotary cutter to cut dozens of 6mm strips of leather. I lined up a few strips side by side and basted them on the interfaced ponte with fabric glue, before stitching them down with a single centre seam. I then just kept lining up those strips until I liked the look of the pattern. 

I added leather strips to the front of the dress and to a panel at the bottom of the back of the dress. I only added the back panel because I was short of ponte. Yay for that though, because I think that back panel finishes the look!

V8840 is a pattern designed for a top. What I wanted was a slightly unfitted tunic that I could layer with layers upon layers of wool for a Midwestern winter. I’m pretty happy with what I ended up with.

Here are the modifications I made: 

  • lengthened both pattern pieces to turn the top into a tunic
  • fused interfacing on the inside of the entire front dress pieces and to the back panel. This was needed to stabilise the ponte for stitching on all those leather strips.
  • shortened the (short) sleeves by a few inches
  • brought the side seams in by about 2.5″ and adjusted the bust dart to deal with this
  • ditched the back seam and kept the back piece the same but cut on the fold (cheater broad back adjustment)
  • widened and lowered the neckline a smidgen
  • added a front zipper





25 thoughts on “Leather trimmed tunic

  1. sewmanju

    Another complete winner. Chic, sexy and perfect for autumn/ winter. And the leather!!! I have actually bought some…don't know what to do with it yet. BTW does this garment get dry cleaned? You surely can't wash it?!


  2. Debbie Iles

    Thank you! I treat all my leather a little differently – I'm learning too! My full leather pants and shorts are lined in silk so I mostly air them or occasionally hand wash the inner silk carefully. I will get my wool coat with the leather collar drycleaned. This tunic is meant to be layered, much like my other ponte top with the leather arms, so it always has a clothing layer beneath it. I will probably spot clean it, carefully handwash (trying to avoid wetting the leather) and occasionally get it drycleaned. My other V8840 top with the leather arms accidentally went through the normal wash several months ago…ooops! It's not good for the leather, but I dried it carefully and gave it a lot of TLC – polishing with a leather cream and managed to restore it. Hope this helps – I always think ahead about washing too!


  3. sallie oleta barbee

    This is so badass! I love the graphic element that the leather and zipper adds, and the differences in texture is just so lush and tactile (i.e. I want to reach through my computer screen and get my dirty mitts all over it!!) Wonderful piece!


  4. Pingback: Refashioned // leather trimmed tunic |

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