When Portia asked me to join in with these talented group of ladies, I was so excited! I feel so honored to be among this group. And challenge-wise I thought “no biggy”, refashioning is second nature. Then her package arrived. 2 words – Leather pants. Thats when I started to worry!! Not only have I never really worked a lot with leather, but there is NO room for mistakes and I’m the kind of woman that is glued to my seam ripper. But I will say I’ve ALWAYS wanted a real leather skirt, I love the edgy, yet feminine style. It has always been a little dream of mine to make a leather pencil skirt, and now, thanks to Portia and this refashioner’s challenge, I can finally make one! Now that I knew what to make, I didn’t know exactly how to go about making it. Making them into a skirt…easy, doing that with leather is the HARD part. In the end I was surprised how easy this split leather was to work with and found this skirt to be perfect! My machine didn’t have a hard time sewing it, because the leather was soft and thin split leather, and I bought a special needle for the task. Here’s how…
1. Seam rip open the inside seam of the leather pants. Make sure to seam rip the top stitch and seam that is just under the zipper flap area.
2. Turn the pants inside out matching the side seams together in the middle. The front seam will be on one side and the back seam will be on the other side. Mark where the new seams will be with marking chalk or whatnot. It will be a fairly straight line on both sides.
3. Sew along the new back seam marking only. Then cut the extra fabric off. Don’t sew the new front seam together just yet, just cut near the soon-to-be seam (allowing for the seam allowance).
4. (Optional) – if you need it taken in, you can you take it in the back (be careful of the butt pockets-you don’t want to take it in too much that they get too close) or the side seams. It can get pretty thick, so I cut the waistband (instead of just fold) first then sewed it together the size I needed. You may have to do this on both sides if it is really big.
5. Cut the skirt to the desired length. I wasn’t planning on hemming because leather doesn’t fray, so I made sure to cut the bottom very even and straight.
6. Now, on the centre front seam, fold under the top side – mimicking and following the topstitch (that follows the flap coming out from under the zipper) that you seam ripped previously.
7. Topstitch it down to the other front half side of the skirt.
8. Looks like this! I left a 5 or so inches in the front not sewn, if you do this then you can hem or not. If you want the edges hemmed under, do this with an iron and some no-sew fusible tape or just hand stitch it in the inside without going through the leather. (look at number 10)
9. Topstitch the back seam by sewing down the seam allowance while you do it.
10. Optional – If you want to hem the bottom, you can do it with no-sew fusible tape and an iron. I just cut the bottom very straight.
Overall, I really love how it turned out and already have some plans for it in some future posts. I’m excited to wear this in the real world!
I find it to be totally versatile in that I can make it feminine or edgy, casual or dressy or a mixture of all the above. Thanks to Portia for including me!
OH – MY – GOSH! Unlike Liz, I have never wanted a leather pencil skirt; but somehow she manages to make it look like a fantastic idea! This looks uber cool, and as Liz says, super versatile; and all from a £2 thrifted pair of leather “pants”. (One of those words that means something completely different on this side of the pond!) I know alot of people that have been hesitant about sewing with leather. But really, most standard machines can handle it. As long as it’s clothing weight leather, you use proper leather needles and, in my experience, using a walking foot helps avoid slippage! Dodgy leather and suede garments crop up all the time in charity shops and the leather or suede they’re made from is great for bags, purses, wallets, cuffs, leather bound planners or books etc. Or with a little tweaking, as wearable garments once more! Just goes to show, those dodgy 80’s trousers needn’t be overlooked in future….!! Stunning job Liz!