Sunday, December 15, 2013

In the Works: A Cropped Swing Jacket (With Leather!)

I sewed leather for the first time this past week -- and loved it! Leather is a beautiful material to work with, and after I finished sewing it, I thought, "why didn't I try this sooner?"

My latest project is a little swing jacket to match my Asymmetric Drape Front Skirt. The main body and sleeves are in the same wool crepe as the skirt and the collar and yoke are in leather. Here's the muslin.

The front length is about waist level and curves lower toward center back. I wasn't sure what to do with the sleeve length so I tried a long version and a cropped version. I decided to go with the shorter length, as it gave the jacket a cape-like look. I also considered a rounded vs. squared stand collar and decided to go with the squared look.

The leather is from Leatherwise, which I wrote about in this post. It is a black lambskin from Italy that was a pleasure to work with. One side is a smooth with a slight sheen to it and the other side has a suede texture.

Because the leather I chose is soft and thin, it was easy to cut with my regular shears and sew with a jeans needle and a walking foot. I also used my regular pins -- well within the seam allowances -- to hold the pieces together, but other resources suggest clips, as it is difficult to pin leather. I was able to get away with pinning it because my leather was so soft.

The walking foot worked like a dream and made sewing leather to fabric really easy. There was slight sticking to the machine (the body of the machine, not the feed dogs) as I sewed the leather, but working slowly allowed me to adjust as I went along.

To test how well the leather could be pressed, I cut off a small piece of wrinkled and marred leather and, using a poly iron setting, no steam and a silk organza press cloth, tried a test press of the wrong side to get the wrinkles out. It worked pretty well -- I definitely took a gentle pressing approach (no press of death for leather!).

The white marring on the pressed piece was already present in the wrinkled piece -- it wasn't caused by my iron (whew!).

Here's the back yoke sewn and topstitched. Sorry for the lighting issues!

I wasn't planning on topstitching the yoke, but after I sewed it to the main body, another row of stitching seemed needed in order to keep the leather flat.

Moving onward!


  1. can't wait to see this! I am so thinking of a wool/leather combo lately and now you are tempting me with that link.

  2. Oh, it looks wonderful!! I love that silhouette, and the wool and leather will be stunning.

  3. This is gonna be great! Can't wait t see it.

  4. This is going to be a great piece.

  5. Thanks for the info on ironing leather!!

  6. This is going to be special. Hope I can see it come to life while I'm in Italy.

  7. I love the combo of leather and either wool or a heavy knit. Your jacket is going to be beautiful.

  8. Good for you in being brave about sewing with leather! That swing coat is super cute.

    You can use leather bond contact or rubber cement (what a reputable jacket company I know uses) to tack down the leather seam allowance if you don't want to top stitch.