This is the last outfit I designed and sewed, my first summer outfit of the year. It’s made up of a cognac brown leather jacket and an army green playsuit. I drafted and sewed this outfit as a year-end project at school, over the professional Pattern Making classes I’ve been attending at Afol Moda in Milan. And I have to admit that I adore it… I think it’s my best memade outfit experiment so far!
I was inspired by different leather jackets with a collar, I came across online or while I was reading magazines over the last months (among these there were a Valentino, a Salvatore Ferragamo and a Hermès jacket). I chose to make a short jacket, some centimetres below the waistline only, because I needed a short jacket to match with a lot of summer dresses I already had in my wardrobe. Moreover it perfectly matches with this summer playsuit.
Given that the jacket I wanted to design had a very simple line, I played with the pockets/darts position, designing them asymmetrically. I added a zip placket on the sleeves. The back is very simple, with a yoke and a back central seam.
I chose a beautiful, soft ,thin Nappa leather and a retro pattern lining (I bought it as a viscose fabric at the shop, but I found out it was polyester when I burnt it…it hate when these things happen! Anyway I liked the pattern very much, it matched with everything, both the leather and the playsuit, and I had no time to change it, so I kept it in the end).
I made a toile to test the fit and then I sewed the jacket at school, using an industrial linear sewing machine. I have to say that sewing this jacket took me a long time because I had to be very precise, but it wasn’t as difficult as I imagined (thanks also to my teacher’s super-precious suggestions).
Sewing leather has to be a “one shot deal”, so I was extra-careful in sewing it in a perfect way. And obviously I can’t use pins because they leave holes in the leather (you can use them only inside the seam allowance if your jacket is lined, so you can’t see the holes outside and inside).
I used paper tape instead of pins both when I cut and sewed it (I tested the paper tape on a scrap of leather before using it on my jacket to see if it would have damaged the leather I had bought) and I used it only inside the seam allowance to be sure. I used the Gutermann textile glue too, especially for the sleeve placket and the pockets. Be careful because both the paper tape and the glue can dirty the needle, so don’t stitch over them.
I used a thick thread (such as thread for jeans) and a Teflon presser foot. I used a top stitch foot to topstitch (for pockets and zippers I used the Teflon foot instead and I tried to make the seam as straight as I can). I made samples with some leather scraps to understand how to sew pockets and zippers in the right way before sewing them on my jacket.
Hemwise, I managed to press it slightly to keep it in shape (be careful because you can both burn and stain leather).
I have to say that every time I had to stitch a seam on my jacket I had a cold sweat. Anyway, I managed to get my jacket done without too much noticeable damage. Using an industrial sewing machine has helped me to sew it well for sure. I’d like to try to sew something similar with my domestic machine. I still have two pieces of this leather…let’s see what I come up with!
The dress is in a beautiful army green viscose fabric that I bought second hand from Giulia (she used this fabric a while back for one of her collections at MOKU Lab in Milan). It’s perfect for summer because it’s very cool and light.
I designed the central draping on the waistline using a draping scheme I found in Pattern Magic Vol. I by Tomoko Nakamichi (pg. 62-67), mixing it with short culottes.
I wanted to try a low neckline on the back, so I designed a drop opening.
I lined the bodice (the most complex step was to understand how to line the bodice, seen that it has a central draping). The culottes have a facing sewed with the bodice lining on the waistline instead.
Sewing this playsuit has been much more fun and faster than sewing the leather jacket. I still have about 2 mt of this viscose fabric and I’m gonna sew another version of this garment, a maxidress for a wedding in June. To match with my brand new leather jacket obviously!
Behind the scene: me fighting moschitos 🙂