Saturday, October 12, 2013

Refashion Runway Season Two:
Week 4, Leather

I have come to the conclusion that cows are stubborn,
no matter what form they come in.
And try as you might, you can't always get them to do what you want.
At least, that was my experience with this week's leather challenge.

This project really put me to the test, and had me pretty scared at first.
I'll admit, my first day had me oober frustrated, near tears, and,
actually, a small little expletive was uttered.
I don't that was a sign things were going really rough!
But, just like working with cows,
you've gotta lay down who the boss is and not let 'em whoop ya!
And that is just how I decided to approach this knee-knocking challenge!
To start things off, I found a hideous fake fur and leather coat at Goodwill.
I say hideous because fake fur gives me the heeby-jeebies,
especially the stained and discolored variety this coat was sporting.
So I did the only humane thing that could be done...
I put the furry fiend out of its misery.
With seam ripper in hand, I completely dissected this coat.
And quickly discarded this furry mass...careful, it might bite!
(If I come down with rabies, we all know where it came from.)

I was left with the lining...

...and these leather pieces.
I had already removed the sleeves from the jacket before snapping this.
Having never sewn leather before, this was a huge learning curve for me!
I didn't want to get too ambitious, so I decided to make a vest.
To get things started,
I needed to make some fitting adjustments to my vest.
The arm holes were way too long and gaped terribly.

To fix this,  I first took in the shoulders.
The arm hole on the right is after taking up the shoulder,
and the one to the left is what it looked like without any changes.
Next, I needed to fix the neckline, which was too wide.
I marked and sewed a graduating seam or long dart down the seam in the middle of the back.
This took in the neckline and pulled the shoulders in a bit more.
My neckline was pretty high, so I marked and cut off the excess,
leaving enough to fold over and hem down later.
The arms still gaped a little bit,
so I gradually tapered in the side seams under the arms.
All of these little tweaks made for a great fit!

Next I removed the pockets and sewed up the holes.
I really wanted to keep them, but the pockets stuck out too far and
just didn't work with this vest.
After that was done, I folded and hemmed all the edges and armholes of the vest.
Taking the leather piece that was originally the collar,
I cut a lining piece from some beautiful red fabric,
this covered up the messy underside that had been glued to the
lining and 'fur'.

See how messy that is?

Laying it on the fold...
...leaving lots of extra room around the edges.
Those edges were folded inward and ironed down.
Then I pinned...err, paper clipped the lining to the leather piece.
And sewed them together.
Now the collar got clipped to the vest,
right sides together.
After that was sewn down,
I flipped the collar over and sewed down the lapel corners to keep it laying flat.
Five broken needles (and lots of chocolate) later, I have a fun, leather vest! 



For a fun pop of color, you can even fold that collar up a bit!
It was a bit windy, can you tell?

Both me and my sewing machine survived
with a completed leather project to boot,
I think that deserves a thumbs ups!
Now head on over to The Renegade Seamstress
and cast a vote for your favorite leather refashion!


  1. Too cute!! I love it! :-) And I had to laugh about the cows... too true to be funny, really, but I can definitely empathize with ya there! ;-) Cows aren't that fun to work with... Usually by the end of a cattle work day, we've got half the cows named "steak, T-bone, roast, etc"... hehe!
    This vest turned out super cute. I love the 'under the collar' fabric. What a fun touch! It totally made the outfit, too. :-) Now all you need is a good hoe-down barn dance! :-)

    1. Haha- that is funny about the cattle, and I understand that! Sadly, we have actually named some of our cattle using that sort of a system. :) Thanks! I agree, the red lining made this vest. I agree-- I was totally loving this ensemble and wished I had a reason to wear it out...although dancing in leather would be *way* too warm!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Trish, we had fun taking them. :)

  3. Ugh, that faux fur had to go! So much cuter now, and I love the collar lining. What a great idea!

    1. No doubt about it- I could barely make myself touch it long enough to remove it from the leather. :/ Thanks!

  4. Thumbs up indeed. I am always surprised when I think you don't sew for that long. I love the way you write your posts, always make me laugh. Can't wait to see what you do next!

    1. Thank you so much, Magda! I appreciate that so much- you are such an incredibly talented seamstress- I believe you deserve to be in the top 3 for sure! I'm so glad you like my posts and they can give you a laugh! Writing is one of my first passions, even before sewing, so I love hearing that you enjoy to *read* my posts. :)

  5. Oh my, you did a brilliant and I mean brilliant job with the jacket! You are amazing Desarae! The vest is super cute and so perfect for the Fall :) I love seeing what you create. Hugs!

    1. I'm speechless to your compliments-- thank you, Stephanie! I have never been a big leather fan, but I was surprised at how much I ended up liking this. You are right, it is perfect for fall, and the weather has finally started turning here, so I might actually be able to wear it! :)

  6. I thought you did a good job on all the other categories, but this one beats them all! I had no idea what the ladies would come up with for the Leather challenge and I am happy to tell you that you won my vote again. :) I particularly liked how you used ONLY leather and not just a few pieces worked into a garment. Three cheers for you! The humor in your writing is the brand my brothers and I perfected while growing up. ;) Really fun to read! I have a taste for all things western and this vest with the red skirt (!!!) and boots was all too cute. LOVED the ones so far.

    1. Why, thank you!! :) I'm pretty new to the western look, I'm a Yankee originally and a Northern girl at heart, so western dress still feels a out of character for me, but I had fun with it! Aww, I'm so glad you enjoy my humor, I'm just getting comfortable writing that way on my blog, so I love getting positive feedback about it! Thanks so much for leaving such a thoughtful comment! :)

  7. You did an amazing job with this project! Your vest looks wonderful paired with red. Your photos are very, very good - they are a credit to your photographer, to the beautiful landscape, and to you for having the ability to look so relaxed, natural and happy. I can hardly believe you haven't been sewing that long; you certainly have a talent for it. Looking forward to the next refashion!

    1. Thank you, Jenny! I have passed the glowing compliment onto my photographer, aka, my little brother! He is a budding cinematographer and photographer! That is why I can be so relaxed, we crack up and make jokes all the time, and I don't mind being silly around him. :) We have fun taking them! It is hard to believe it myself, when I think I've only been sewing for 8 months! I just see it as making up for lost time! :) Plus, I'm surrounded by so many great seamstresses, it is a wonderful motivator.


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