Saturday, October 12, 2013

Refashion Runway 2, Week 4: Leather

To be perfectly honest, when Beth announced one of the Refashion Runway challenges was "Leather", I was a little afraid. Not because I'd never worked with leather and feared the technical aspects. No, that part was actually pretty exciting. But I was worried I wouldn't be able to find a happy medium between dominatrix and cowgirl. You be the judge. Have a look at my results below. Then head on over to the Renegade Seamstress to see how the other competitors faced this challenge and vote for your favorite!

I picked up this simple, A-line, black suede skirt at the thrift shop. The tag claimed it was a size 0, but I was able to get it zipped - albeit not comfortably - and I normally wear a size 8, so I have my doubts. But that's neither here nor there.

Suede & Knit JacketSuede & Knit Jacket

My first thought was a leather jacket. I already have a brown one, so a black one would fill out my autumn wardrobe nicely. But there was definitely not enough leather in this skirt for a full jacket. So I supplemented this thrift store find with an extra large long-sleeved tee from my heavier days.

Suede & Knit Jacket

My first step was to carefully pick apart the side seams and down the length of the back. From each of the long narrow panels of the back, I cut out my sleeves.

Suede & Knit JacketSuede & Knit Jacket

I set the sleeves aside and used the aforementioned brown leather jacket as a template for the back panel. I made sure to line it up nicely so the existing seams on the skirt would be symmetric on the jacket. And the slight flare in the skirt would help my jacket flare at the hips as well.

Suede & Knit Jacket
Suede & Knit Jacket

From the scraps, I cut two trapezoidal shapes and attached them at the shoulders.

Suede & Knit Jacket

Then I cut two crescent shapes and attached them to the trapezoids.

Suede & Knit Jacket

When I went to top-stitch to the sides of the seams, I discovered that my sewing machine and the suede side of the leather did not get along. It kept skipped stitches, not catching the bobbin thread every time. I had already made a special trip to the craft store for upholstery-grade thread and leather needles, so I didn't really want to go back to buy a walking foot for my machine. These two short seams and the two shoulder seams were the only ones I needed to top-stitch, so I decided to just do so by hand. PSA: Do not try to hand-stitch through leather without a thimble. Just sayin'.

Suede & Knit Jacket

With that out of the way, it was time to attached the sleeves.

Suede & Knit Jacket

Then I sewed up the inside of each sleeve, as well as the tiny little side seam along the edge of the crescent shape.

Suede & Knit Jacket

This concludes the leather portion of our program, with a weird-looking front-less jacket.

Suede & Knit Jacket

To create the fronts of my jacket, I needed to separate the sleeves and body of my tee from its yoke.

Suede & Knit Jacket

Then I cut up the sides of the body, so I had two large rectangles. Each rectangle was attached sideways to one of the side edges of my jacket.

Suede & Knit Jacket

For the collar, I took the two sleeves of the old tee and cut the tops at a slight angle. I turned one inside-out, stuck the other one inside it, and joined them around the circumference.

Suede & Knit JacketSuede & Knit Jacket

Once it was turned right-side-out, I had a long tube with a slight crook in the middle.

Suede & Knit Jacket

I pinned and sewed this to my jacket around the back of the neck and down each side of the front knit panels.

Suede & Knit Jacket

And with that, my jacket was complete!

Suede & Knit JacketSuede & Knit Jacket

Don't I look totally hardcore in black leather and studded boots? Yeah, you know you're scared.

Suede & Knit JacketSuede & Knit Jacket

I can't wait for it to get just a tad cooler here, so I can wear this on the regular.

Suede & Knit JacketSuede & Knit Jacket

Hey, what's that on the ground?

Suede & Knit Jacket

As it turns out, photographing details of a black garment - without washing out the pale girl wearing it - can be a bit tricksy.

Suede & Knit Jacket

And now I will leave you with my best flying squirrel impression. You're welcome.

Suede & Knit Jacket

Don't forgot to go vote by Friday, October 18!

Refashion Runway Week 4: Leather - After

39 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the win! Your leather jacket is awesome. You have amazing sewing skills.

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    1. Thanks, Trish! Your sister's skirt is pretty freakin' sweet too!

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    2. This is the best I have seen in leather re-fashioning...kudos, girl!

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  2. This turned out fantastic, really well done. I'd be happy to wear that out around town. Must be nice to be able to say you wear a size 8 now too, you are an inspiration, and not just from your sewing talents. Good luck this week, I was delighted you won last week.

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    1. Thank you, Ingrid! Indeed, size 8 feels a lot better than size 18, that's for sure!

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  3. This jacket is classy and flattering.Your refashions just get better and better.

    I just realized what I like best about your refashions. You create great clothes that look good on real people, living real lives. A lot of refashions that I've seen are of the "aren't I clever" school, too costumey or contrived.Admittedly, costumes are among my favorite things, but not as everyday attire. I'm not saying your refashions aren't clever, because they are. However, the first thing I notice is how cute the outfit is, not that it used to be something else.

    regards,
    Theresa

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    1. Thanks, Theresa! I suppose my refashions have just naturally tended toward more wearable, everyday garments. I mean, when I started all this it was to replenish my wardrobe as my body changed. If I didn't make stuff I could wear in my day-to-day, then I wouldn't have had anything to wear!

      No spoilers or anything, but with the next challenge being "Halloween", I have a feeling you may be seeing some more costumey refashions soon.

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    2. I love Halloween and I love designing and creating costumes. Trick or treating doesn't happen in our part of Mexico. The boy/girl scouts have a big annual Halloween carnival every year in one of the suburbs of Merida and I've been a judge for their costume contest for several years now. The cultural difference in costume ideas is interesting, they go more for blood and gore. Of course, Carnaval in the spring is more of fantasy dress up time here.

      regards,
      Theresa

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    3. I, too, love costumes, but, well, they're not exactly practical. So I am completely content to make boring, "useful" garments the rest of year if I can go a little crazy for what is quite probably my favorite holiday.

      I can't promise any blood and gore (at least not on part), but I hope you'll be pleased with the costume I'm working on. I know I am so far! Perhaps one of the other competitors will go the zombie route, if you really need that blood and gore fix. ;)

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  4. Gorgeous jacket ! I have a very similar black suede skirt and was not wearing it and was wondering what to so with it. And I just purchased an industrial sewing machine that can handle suede and leather so I should be making something soon. BTW, are you going to line your jacket ? If not, does it stick to your clothes ?

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    1. Thanks, Claudia! I hadn't decided yet on the lining. And I only wore it long enough to take pictures (it's still around 85F here in Texas), so I'm not sure if it will stick to my clothes. But if does, yes, I'll probably go back and add a lining. Have fun with your new sewing machine!

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  5. After last week's spectacular denim dress, I wondered if your creative power would be used up. Happily your creative germ has blossomed into a raging success with this gorgeous black jacket. I think that you have just gotten started!!! You have My vote, Carissa!

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    1. Thank you, Linda! I'm totally blushing now!

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  6. Amazing! You do a great job with the refashions.

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    1. Thanks, Dee! I aim to please!

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  7. You are amazing Carissa! I love the idea of adding the soft front panels and definitely give a soft and fun touch to the jacket. Awesome idea and great job putting it all together! I'd be too terrified to try something like this! :) Lisa

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    1. Hey, that's what this whole challenge thing is all about, right? Pushing myself to try something I wouldn't normally do? And I'm so glad I did. Thanks, Lisa!

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  8. SO CLEVER! I'm particularly loving the draped front, it's very stylish!

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    1. Thank you, Juliet! I took inspiration from a couple of drapey-font sweaters I own and adore.

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  9. and yet again you made my ohhh and ahhhh all over the screen.... I am a big fan of you!

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  10. This is so clever! And it's going to my to do list! You are inspiring!!! Good luck!

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    1. Thanks, Magda! Your leather corset still astounds me though!

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  11. Awesome job, Carissa! This is beautiful, and I think you certainly struck that happy medium you were looking for with this piece. I'm not a big fan of leather, but I would wear this jacket! Your drafting and pattern making skills are amazing, did you take classes or is it all just self taught and from lots of experience?

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    1. Thank you, Des! And I would totally wear your vest. I love it!

      No, I've never taken a sewing class. Most of my sewing knowledge has come from trial and error and/or other people's blogs. Plus I have a background in math, so I actually really enjoy the geometry behind pattern-making. I know. Weirdo.

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  12. Your jacket is beautiful. You are my favourite refahionista at the moment! You are very creative with a great sense of style. I love reading your posts!

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    1. Wow! Thanks, Nay! You're so sweet!

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  13. This has got to be my favorite refashion of yours EVER! I have a purple suede button down shirt in my refashion pile waiting for me to do something with it. Oh yeah, I voted. :o)

    www.dressupnotdown.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks! Purple suede sounds perfect for autumn. I'd love to see what you do with it!

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  14. Beautiful job, and it looks very good on you. I especially like how you made the collar from the long sleeves - what a creative way to get a finished edge on the collar and front without sewing!

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    1. Thank you, Jenny... er... Jo... seriously, what should I call you? :)

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    2. Jenny is fine! Jo is just the j and o of 'jenny_o' put together :) ... it's a long and boring story from back when I started commenting on blogs :)

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    3. Fair enough. Jenny it is!

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  15. I just love your creativety with redesign.
    Ellen :)

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  16. Wow, that's amazing! I love the combination of the two fabrics. It's such a cool jacket!

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    1. Thank you, Heather! The temperature finally dropped a bit last weekend, and I'm so happy to be able to wear this!

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  17. I LOVE this! the combination of the two fabrics is great, and the design is totally something I want to copy! now to troll the thrift stores for a large suede skirt....

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    1. Thanks, Cari! I'm always happy to hear I've inspired someone's sewing!

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