Thursday, February 6, 2014

Asymmetrical Leather Jacket

Leather Lessons done.  Time to show you what I made.  First of all, I need to thank Leather Hide Store for making all of this possible.  They have been amazing to work with and I can’t recommend them enough.  leather hide store
And now for my leather project.  Nothing too special, you know, just a
LEATHER JACKET!!  burda style assymetrical jacket leather Sew a Straight Line-9-2

I know, I made a leather jacket for Project:Sewn last year.  But I made a lot of novice mistakes, some you can see, others you can't.  This time, I made a good leather jacket, where I knew what I was doing, used some absolutely amazing high-quality leather, and I am seriously giddy over the results!!!

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The Ruby Red Slipper leather from is so amazing.  It is supple and soft, and so, so beautiful.  I can’t get over the color.  Gorgeous.

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I ended up needing two remnants for my jacket, I’d say about 25 square feet total.  I didn’t use all of the one hide (in addition to small scraps), and there were 28 total square feet between the two.  Though the “right side” color of both pieces was a great match, the thickness of the second hide was thinner than the first.  It was also a bit more stretchy.  So when I cut out my jacket pieces, I cut the sides, underarm pieces, and all the “double sided” pieces (collar, hem, facings, cuffs) from the thinner, stretchier hide.

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I used BurdaStyle Asymmetrical Jacket pattern.  And I forgot at first that Burda doesn’t include seam allowances on their patterns.  You have to add your own.  I traced everything out and made my first cut before remembering.  So so SO glad I didn’t get further into cutting.  As it was, the mistake was just an inconvenience.  I wish they’d just include the seam allowances. If I’m printing out the pattern anyway, what’s another page or four in a stack of 25?  Burda is crazy.

And while we’re talking about crazy Burda, let’s discuss the pattern itself.  Like all downloadable Burdastyle patterns, you get a finished-garment picture, a line drawing of the front and one of the back, and a fabric/pattern layout illustration.   And that’s it for pictures.  The instructions are written in paragraph form, and come across as if Burda expects you to know what you’re doing.  Burda isn’t for sissies.  But the designs are awesome and actually look like something you’d buy and like to wear.  So it’s worth it to me to suffer through, fending for myself for the end product.  Which, in the case of the Asymmetrical Jacket, is pretty much completely rad.

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The fabric recommendations for the Asymetrical Jacket is for woven material.  The leather was fine with it, though.  I used my grandma’s ‘38 singer, had all my leather-sewing supplies on hand, and followed my sewing-with-leather tips, going slow and carefully, and I love the end result.  One thing I didn’t know going in, and found out too late in the game, you should size up when sewing with leather off a woven pattern.  I do like how form-fitting my jacket is, but it is snug through the shoulders and underarms.  But I’m of the belief that full range of motion is superfluous in fashion, so I’m still happy.

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Now for a series of pictures I like to call:  Sabra Admires Her Handiwork

As I’m observing in this picture, the jacket is fully lined.  I’ve used this fabric for lining before, on my son’s Harmonica Jacket from a few years ago.  I bought a bolt of it from, I think WalMart on clearance.  It’s perfect for lining; some sort of stretchy polyester with stripes running its length, which I’ve lined up pretty darn well, thank you very much. 
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And hey! Look lined on this side, too.  And there is the hidden snap that keeps the underlapping front from dipping down when zipped.

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The zipper on the jacket took me the longest of any of it.  I’m usually okay with zippers, but this one was tricky.  For one thing, the pattern calls for an 18” zipper, which you have to trim the zipper down.  Burda expects you to somehow removed the top zipper stops, then replace them after cutting.  I tried.  I really did. I almost lost a finger and didn’t even get the stops to budge.  So I just cut them off and then used some same-colored embroidery floss to stitch a knot at the top of each side of the zipper.  It works.  Burda is crazy.

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The other thing that threw me with this zipper was the zipper strip that runs down the left side there.  The pattern says to cut a strip 3/4” wide.  Even if I was using the recommended woven fabric, I don’t see how I could have gotten two sides of folded-under seam allowance and covered the zipper tape effectively.  After struggling for way too long with the recommended size strip, I sacrificed more of my precious Ruby Red Slipper, and cut a 1.5” wide strip.  Problem solved.  Burda is crazy.

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Just a few other details.  The sleeves have vents and cuffs.  And there are some more of the snaps you saw at the hem, only here they aren’t hidden.  I just used some Dritz heavy-duty snaps.  I worry that they won’t wear very well.  They were hard to set into the bulky leather at the cuffs (no issues at the hem, where they only had to go through one layer) and just don’t fee very secure to me.  And I totally hit my thumb with the hammer when setting them.  My blood blister matches the jacket, though, so it’s all good.

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I cheated when sewing the sleeves.  I was supposed to set the sleeves into the arm hole, in the round.  I know this is the preferred method of sewing sleeves.  But I couldn’t think of a good way to gather the leather for easing, and I was intimidated by the idea of messing up and having to unpick. So, I  sewed the sleeves in before sewing up the sides of the jacket or the underside of the sleeves.  I did my best to ease the arm scythe as I fed it into the machine, and I’m really happy with how it turned out, and I’m not sure I could have achieved the seam matching so well if I had tried to set the sleeves in the proper way.  Sometimes cheaters prosper.

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Don’t tell my kids I said that.

Speaking of my kids.  It’s really funny how impressed they are by this jacket.  They kept checking on my progress and cheering me on.  I went into my kindergartner’s class yesterday, before I finished the jacket, and he totally was telling his teacher about it.  I also wore it last night to an activity with some of the youth from my church.  I received multiple compliments on it, without them even knowing I made it.  It’s teen approved, you guys! 

Yep, I like this one.  A lot.
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You can win $50 to use towards some amazing leather of your choice from      

leather hide store
The giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Jacket: Asymmetrical Jacket by BurdaStyle in size 38, leather is
Ruby Red Slipper from
Tee Shirt:
Seafarer Top by Sew Much Ado, blogged HERE
Jeans: Jalie 2908, denim from
Michael Levine/, never got around to blogging these
Hair, makeup, jewelry, photography and background provided by my awesome friend, Camilla.

In case you missed any of it…
Leather Lessons Sew a Straight Line-6tr supplies2 Leather Lessons Sew a Straight Line-8 tips


Sew Much Ado said...

So, you're just kidding about this, right??? Holy moly Sabra! I am so amazed at your skills! The fit is perfecto on you, I am seriously in awe of every part of that jacket!

Alexa said...

Wow, just wow. That jacket is incredible! Well done! I hope my skills progress to the point that I can make something as nice looking as that.

Reno said...

Oh, yeah. Just a leather jacket. HOLY COW, Sabra! It's awesome!!

Shannon Phillips said...

Wow, I am so impressed! The seams are all so crisp-and the matching is awesome! I love the color too.

Jodi said...

Shut up. That is just too awesome!

Paisley Roots said...

You are hilarious and soooo incredibly talented and amazing!! Can I be you when I "grow up" ????

kristin said...

I can't. I mean. I just....I can't - it's INCREDIBLE. Holy cow, Sabra! I bow down. You should be so proud of yourself, it really is wonderful.

Kitschy Coo said...

So impressed! You're a knockout in your jacket.

Ann said...

Great job! I knew you were probably sewing a jacket, and I knew it would be good, but I was still blown away by the final result. You should be so proud of yourself!!

Erin || said...

Oh. My. Gosh. You are amazing!!!!

Stef said...

Holy freaking cow, you are my hero. AMAZING!!!!

Jessica said...

LOVE THIS! I was hoping to use my remnant from Leather Hide store for a jacket, but like you said didn't have enough sq feet. Saving up to one day to buy another remnant to make my own jacket...not sure if it will look as great as yours though!!

A Lemon Squeezy Home said...

You are incredible Sabra! Incredible! This is the coolest jacket ever. I love that red leather too! I need some for Ruby :). Plus you are a babe.

Alida L. said...

WOWOWOWOW That is so beautiful!

Miriam said...

Cough cough cough, holy crap I can't breath because I'm choking on all the dust you just left me in. OH MY FREAKING CRAP, this jacket is amazing, but that's just like SOOO insufficient, because it's like astronomically blow me away freaking cool amazing. I mean? I could never. You're just ridiculous, and I mean that in the best way possible.

hey june said...

ok, so three things:
1. Burda is truly crazy. You should email them about that zipper flap, that's gotta be errata.
2. I coincidentally was checking out the interior construction of my favorite jacket the other day and they totally set the sleeves in flat too! Target is another prospering cheater.
3. you're my hero.

Andrea Pannell said...

You. Are. Amazing. Seriously!!!!!

Falafel and the Bee said...

That is one incredible jacket! And I think we all agree, you are amazing.

Delia said...

Dang girl! This is AMAZING!!! I bow to your awesomeness...and a Burda pattern FTW! You are a incredible!

Caila said...

You are just SO UNBELIEVABLY AMAZING. When I grow up I wanna be just like you!!! Great jacket, Sabra, and you're gorgeous in it!

lin3arossa said...


Heidi Polcyn said...

WOW, just wow. This is seriously amazing!

Stacey Byrne said...

Um yeah. Now not only are you the Queen of Jeans but also the Leather Goddess. This is amazing!!!!! And that leather color is divine.

Beach Angel said...

Amazing. Enough said!

Jessica at Me Sew Crazy said...

Sabra - everything you do is simply stunning. So well well well well done my dear!

Ty Bebe said...

Holy moly!!!! This is insane! So awesome!!! You are amazing!!


TheSewingLoft said...

just one word- WOW!!! You rocked this! It is fantastic girl.

Jennifer Fedor said...

Gorgeous work! Beautiful Lady! & Lovely leather! ;)

marissa | Rae Gun Ramblings said...

Umm you are seriously the coolest ever!

thingsforboys said...

That has to be the best thing I've ever seen made on a home machine! WOW!!!

Charity said...

That jacket is absolutely incredible! Well done! I have GOT to get my hands on some leather so I can do my feeble best to copy you. =)

Susan Phillips said...

Oh goodness! This is all sorts of awesome! The color is exquisite and the fit is perfect! I can't believe your skills - exceptional! I'm so glad you caught the non-seam allowance before you cut too much more! I've totally done that too! What's up with not adding them? I now steer clear of any pattern that leaves them out....maybe they will catch on? One can only hope :) said...

Great job!! This jacket looks fabulous on you!

Caroline said...

This is beyond impressive - you've inspired me to try leather too! Nice work.

Sassy T said...

Love the jacket. Featured on Sassy Sewing Bees ❀

Anna said...

Jiminy Cricket - you are my sewing HERO!!!! I found a link to your blog on Pinterest, and really appreciate all the tips and tricks and very honest critique of the pattern and the process. The jacket is AHHHMAZING. Great work!! I have recently been experimenting with adding upcycled leather from thrift store jackets and such to my purse projects, i.e., handles, bag bottoms, binding, and pockets, and have been so pleasantly surprised about how easy it is to get a very polished effect with a few leather details. An entire garment from hide seems a bit ambitious for my level but I am really inspired by your work here - thanks so much for sharing, especially all the detail pics.

Crystal Rice said...

I stumbled on your page because I'm planning to make a faux snakeskin jacket. The fabric is easily damaged by heat and I'm thinking to sew like leather. Imagine my surprise and delight in discovering your leather project is the very same asymmetric BurdaStyle pattern I'm making!

Your comment about the zipper strip is already helpful!

Congrats on completing a beautiful coat. I certainly know how difficult it was.

Victor sale said...

Nice red Hoty jacket i like to wear celebrities leather jackets and give it other when i use it one time

David Christian said...

Um better believe it. Presently are you the Queen of Jeans as well as the Leather Goddess. This is amazing!!!!! Also that cowhide shading is divine

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