Sewing Leather MariaDenmark.com

Sewing leather: The Paula Pleat Skirt

I have been dreaming of making the Paula Pleat skirt in leather since I made the first sketch. But since I don’t have much experience sewing leather, I haven’t got around to actually make it.

Now Pauline from Pauline Alice made this absolutely fabulous snake-skirt in fake leather and I want it even more!

Sewing Leather MariaDenmark Paula Pleat Skirt

 

Isn’t it great?

And the best thing is, that Pauline has written a tutorial on how to sew with leather. Here she goes:

Paula Skirt: Tips for sewing leather

The Paula skirt pattern is perfect to be made in real or faux-leather. But before starting, here are a few tips for sewing with leather:

  • There is no do-over! You’ll leave permanent holes so be extra careful with your stitches.
  • Because of the permanent holes, you can’t use pins. Any kind of clips (paper clip, hair clip…) or tape can be used to keep the pieces aligned.
  • No need to finish the seam allowances as leather doesn’t fray! Great!
  • Don’t use the iron to open the seam allowances. Topstitching is a good idea.
  • Use a new needle. And choose one made specially for leather.
  • Use a special foot. You can use either a Teflon foot (with a white non-sticky plate), a roller-foot (with wheels under the plate) or a walking foot.
    If you’re like me and don’t have a sewing machine supply shop near by, here are 2 tricks: use Scotch tape on the bottom of a regular foot or place pattern paper between the foot and the leather (see the pictures below for details).
  • Use all-purpose polyester thread and a long stitch length for more strength.

 

Let’s start!

[Click the photos to enlarge]

Sewing Leather Needles

1. Choose a special leather needle and use a new one.

Sewing Leather: Using tape

2.I’m going to show you how to use the Scotch tape tip first. I’ll be making the skirt using 2 methods with regular feet: the Scotch one and the pattern paper one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sewing Leather

3.Place Scotch tape on the bottom of your regular foot, leaving the needle hole clear.
It has to be invisible (or matte) Scotch to glide easily on the leather.

SEWING LEATHER

4.This is my fabric: a snake print faux leather. It’s a medium weight fabric with a great drape.

Sewing leatehr at MariaDenmark

5.Cut the pattern pieces according to your size. Back and front waistband: x 2 on the fold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.Back and front skirt: x 1 on the fold. Report all the marks (pleats and darts).

6.Back and front skirt: x 1 on the fold.
Report all the marks (pleats and darts).

7.Tip: if you’re using real leather or heavy faux leather, you might want to trace and cut the pattern pieces one layer at a time instead of on the fold. Make sure you report the marks on the wrong side.

7.Tip: if you’re using real leather or heavy faux leather, you might want to trace and cut the pattern pieces one layer at a time instead of on the fold. Make sure you report the marks on the wrong side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sewing Leather at MariaDenmark.com

8.Stitch the darts and pleats on the front and back skirt pieces.
Remember that you can’t use pins!
I used paper clips instead to keep the pleat in place.

Sewing leather at MariaDenmark.com

9.Use a long stitch length (I used a 3mm one). Follow the instructions and baste the pleats of the skirt pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sewing Leather at MariaDenmark.com

10.I didn’t interface the waistband pieces (you can make a test and see how your fabric reacts to heat).
Then follow the instructions and stitch the waistbands to the skirts.

Sewing Leather at MariaDenmark.com

11.Edge-stitch the seam allowances to the waistband to reinforce the seam and finish it nicely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12.The edge-stitch looks great with leather, I think it looks quite authentic.

12.The edge-stitch looks great with leather, I think it looks quite authentic.

Sewing Leather at mariaDenmark.com

13.Follow the instructions and stitch the skirt side seams.
Here is the other method for sewing leather with a regular foot: place a strip of pattern paper between the foot and the leather and stitch over it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sewing Leather at MariaDenmark.com

14.I like to place one edge along the seam as a guide as it’s not completely see-through. Then tear it along the stitches.

Sewing Leather at MariaDenmark.com

15.For the zipper, I used a regular one, not an invisible one as recommended (the only black I had). I used Scotch to fold the seam allowances down and keep the zipper opening close. I sticthed the zipper and teared the Scotch tape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sewing Leather at MariaDenmark.com

16.Follow the instructions to finish the waistband. I edge-stitched all the seams to keep the seam allowances flat, to give structure (as I didn’t use interfacing) and as a decorative detail.

 

Sewing Leather at MariaDenmark.com

17.Here is a look of the inside: no need to finish the seam allowances!

 

 

 

 

 

 
I kept the original length of the pattern. It’s supposed to be an over-the knee skirt but as I’m quite short, mine is more of a midi length.
I kept it like that as I like the contrast between the feminine/retro length and the more modern fabric.

I didn’t hem the skirt (great bonus from leather!).

Thanks Maria for allowing me to use such a great pattern. It’s a great basic that looks amazing in a variety of fabrics, from the traditional cotton to something more modern and trendy like leather. I can’t wait to wear my leather Paula skirt!
I hope these tips will be useful!

Thank you so much Pauline!

You know I love your version – even more than my own!

Sewing Leather MariaDenmark.com

And here is another pic to show you just how fantastic this skirt is – a winner in every wardrobe. And you know what? The rest of the week, I’m giving you a 15% discount on MariaDenmark Skirt patterns – including this one, the Paula Pleat Skirt (or maybe I should rename it Paulina Pleat Skirt!)!

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