Sewing with faux leather – how and when to use it

9d06312162eb50bf627ca77fb8a29d4bRed-LeatherLeather is a massive trend this season, but the good news for sewists everywhere is that faux leathers are so good now that they will cut the mustard just as well as the real thing.

I know what you are thinking: hmmm, leather’s not really my thing. Well, as a top to toe look, it’s not  mine either, but think again. Its much more versatile than the black biker jacket look that immediately springs to mind.

I love this mushroom coloured dress from Anthropologie. It’s so much softer and easier to wear than the image I usually associate with leather. And this gorgeous burgandy leather coat is so chic with a tailored look rather than the leather-21rough tough image.

And finally, this pic of the casual black leather trousers mixed with a lovely woollen and fur textures is really tactile and stylish. I love this look.

faux leather trimSo, with leather the angle I am coming in at is…. TRIMS. I bought just a little bit of faux leather for a project a few months ago – I was making a fancy dress costume for my daughter – and have have been using the leftovers in abundance. You may remember my St Tropez Scoop Neck – one of my FREE sewing patterns – trimmed with a  lovely bit of faux python leatherette. Here it is in case you missed it.

And here, da da, for the first time, is a new version of the Cocoon Jacket – (which is now available as a multisize sewing pattern.) You may remember it from the first time round in classical navy blue  – but this time I’ve made it with faux leather cuffs and pocket linings. The main body is a fine quality wool which contrasts well with the cool smooth leather finish.

 

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All the fabrics for this jacket (including the check wool) and for the St Tropez Scoop Neck come from Fabworks Mill Shop.

There are many types of faux leather out there with all sorts of different backings but most are pretty easy to sew with. There are one or 2 things to remember before you start:

• You cannot use pins as they will leave permanent holes in your faux leather fabric. Use clips to hold the fabric instead of pins.  You can buy special leather clips but paper clips or hair clips can work just as well.

• The same goes for the needle of your sewing machine – so NO MISTAKES for fear of permanent marks.

• On the plus side, you will not need to finish your raw edges as faux leather doesn’t fray.

• You will find that your seam allowances won’t stay open. You can solve this in several ways:

You can topstitch your seams

You can use leather tape (a special double-sided tape that holds your seam allowance down)

Or you can glue the seam allowances down with leather adhesive and use a wallpaper roller to seal them shut.

• Use a specialist leather needle in your machine and if you are planning to do any hand stitching

• Leather type fabrics have a tendency to stick to the base plate and/or presser foot of your machine. To solve this you can either use a Teflon foot, or you can simply place a small piece of sticky tape over the bottom of a universal foot so it glides easily over the fabric.

• Use a longish stitch for a stronger finish. A shorter stitch will make too many holes in your fabric and weaken it.