Leather jacket refashion

I’m sorry but this blog post may have an aura of smugness about it because I absolutely love the finished article! If you follow me on Instagram at all you may be aware that I’ve been busy refashioning a leather jacket. I was quite excited about the project so I uploaded quite a lot of posts, so apologies if you’ve seen all this before.

My garment was specifically made for a competition run by the Monthly Stitch and I don’t know the outcome of that competition as of yet, but my fingers are crossed! If you don’t follow me on Instagram and you don’t read the Monthly Stitch then this post is for you!

Here’s the jacket I bought…



A large man’s leather jacket bought at a local charity shop for £10! The first thing I did was to remove the jacket lining…


Then the object was to get as much flat fabric as possible so I got out my unpicker. I didn’t want to undo too many seams though as you can see all the needle holes made by the original sewing machine. I unpicked just enough to lay the fabric out flat. This is what I ended up with…


I then took the pocket flaps (seen at the bottom left of the above picture) and halved them in size.


I then put some eyelets in them. I wish I had silver ones though.



I put these to one side and worked on the jacket back. I used a pattern and laid it on the jacket back and semi-successfully tried to draw around it. It was very tricky marking this leather. The best thing to use were those large triangles of tailor’s chalk but it was very difficult to see properly.


Unsurprisingly I had to do a lot of piecing to make the fabric fill the pattern…


I brought back those riveted pocket flaps and attached them to the front of this piece…


I used masking tape to temporarily stick them to the front. My machine did struggle to get through all that leather. I topstitched the flaps on (painfully) slowly! Eventually it got done! Then the darts got sewn too! These were trimmed down and flattened by a rolling pin! I thought I’d better not risk an iron, although some people say you can press leather as long as you don’t use steam.


I’m pretty sure you can see what garment this is now. It was time to move on to the back. The next biggest pieces of fabric I had were the jacket sleeves so these were stitched together to form the back…


The back is not finished in the photos above as the exposed zip is not installed. It is just laid on top! I didn’t take as many photos at this point onwards because the zip installation did not go well at all and this garment then spent a few days in the naughty corner whilst I thought about what to do next. The problem was that I failed to see my true chalk line I drew for the zip window and followed a different line instead – one that made the zip window far too big. I thought I’d wrecked my project but I slept on it and thought about what to do. I decided to bring in the centre back seam, making the zip window smaller. I thought that I could always add a bit more fabric to the edges at the side seams to make up for this. Thankfully my plan worked and I was able to plough ahead.


This was my first ever exposed zipper. I had to unpick it several times before I was happy with it. Yes, you can unpick leather just so long as you sew back over your original stitching line! What I didn’t take into account though was the fact that leather does actually stretch. You can see in the photo above how much the top edge extends above the zip. It didn’t look like this before I installed the zip!

I completely constructed the front and the back before sewing the side seams together. I used clothes pegs to close the side seams and work out if the thing fitted me! It seemed to so I went ahead and sewed up those side seams. Now my original plan was to finish the waist with a facing but it did not look right and I ended up using the collar and lapels of the jacket to piece together a waistband. This looked so much better, particularly once everything was top stitched down. I sewed on a large hook and bar to fasten it at the back. There is a small gap between the top of the zip and the waistband but that can’t be helped. I tried on my new skirt and it fitted beautifully, although I had to wriggle myself into it! Once on it was wonderfully comfortable. The only problem was that walking was a little tricky. I did not particularly want this to be a wiggle skirt so I unpicked a few inches up the centre back seam to create a split and I rolling-pinned (new word) and top-stitched the seam allowance down. For the hem I just folded the bottom edge up and top-stitched it in place. I could have used leather glue to stick down all the seams and the hem, and I may well do that if I ever sew with leather again because I must admit that the inside of this skirt is a little messy! Nobody ever sees the insides though do they? The final thing to do was to lace up the skirt with some leather cord and here is my finished masterpiece skirt!



And here it is being modelled!




And I’ve worn it out too! Here I am with my work colleagues at the science department barbecue! It was quite handy being wipe-clean too!

20160703_200042 (1)

As you can probably tell, I’m thrilled with my new skirt! It’s a By Hand London Charlotte skirt and the fitting for this skirt was already done for when I made this version here.  The idea behind the competition I entered it for was to copy a ready-to-wear outfit. I did make a top to go with it but I think I’ll leave that for another post. You can read my RTW copycat post on the Monthly Stitch here. This is the skirt I was attempting to copy:

leather skirt

It’s from Topshop and it’s an absolute bargain at £245! Now you can see why I’m so smug – my version cost me about £11.50!

Thanks for reading this very wordy and picture-heavy post but I do feel rather pleased with myself and had to share it with you!




21 thoughts on “Leather jacket refashion

  1. Wow, this is so impressive!
    You should be SO smug because that is a brilliant copy made out of actual leather!
    Well done!

      • What a wonderful skirt. I love it. You should do well in the contest. It’s a great copy and looks good on. Your comments about leather sewing are so useful, too for when, if, I ever get around to sewing any of my bags of. remnant leather. Any particular comments on piecing?

      • Thanks Anne. I’m so happy with how it turned out. It did take me a long time to sew though because my stitches did keep skipping even though I did use special leather needles. No comments on piecing particularly other than really squishing those seam allowances flat! Leather glue probably would have very useful for this! Oh, and I’ve just found out I won a prize in the contest 😃

  2. Absolutely fabulous!! It looks way better than the ToP Shop version and I love the ties! That’s a skirt you’ll enjoy for years to come.

    • I think you’re right! I’ve just seen another leather jacket in a different charity shop. I didn’t realise they were 10 a penny! I think I may leave it for someone else this time though!

      • Phew! Haven’t seen that kind of bargain over here. Maybe you should reconsider… Never know when you’ll want a purse, or hat, or . . . or am I giving you unwelcome ideas? 😊

  3. What a brave project and a hugely successful one, too. A win well deserved as leather is tricky to sew on a straightforward piece of clothing, let alone one like this!

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