Sewing a Leather Look Skirt

Sewing a Leather Look Skirt

Several weeks ago I mentioned work and life have been a little hectic of late. Well not much has changed hence posting about a leather look skirt I made several weeks months ago. Two months to be precise! Anyway it was a great project for learning and I was really pleased with the end result so here it is. Better late than never.

Pattern and Fabric

The fabric is our lovely leather look fabric, which you can find here. It has a subtle embossed croc effect and a soft fleecy wrong side. I was surprised how soft and malleable it was.

Since I hadn't worked with this sort of fabric before I decided to go for a super simple tried and tested pattern. Enter McCalls 3830 AKA the 'wardrobe workhorse' as my lovely friend Portia Lawrie referred to the finished skirt.

Pattern and Fabric

It is a very simple pencil skirt available in five lengths with front and back darts, a back zip, waist facings and no waistband.

I used our Kona cotton in black for the facings. I did consider lining it, but didn't want it to be too warm so I had options for year round wear. Clearly the leather look fabric would be too bulky so the Kona was a suitable alternative.

Full front view

Adjustments and Sizing

I made a size 12 and ended up having to take it in. I also adjusted the side seams slightly taking them out a little across my thighs. This is a common adjustment for me in fitting skirt patterns thanks to my muscly thighs. Thanks Dad!

Thanks to the simple lines it is a nice easy pattern to fit.

Side view


The Zip

I am a bit of a one trick pony in this respect, but I decided to use an exposed zip rather than an invisible or skirt zip. I thought it would add a nice bit of interesting detail to this otherwise simple skirt.

You can see a tutorial on how to sew an exposed zip here. This is the type of zip I used.

Sewing an Exposed Zip in a Leather Look Skirt

Top Stitching

Once I had inserted the zip and sewed the darts I noticed they weren't sitting flat. The fabric was 'puffing' up next to the stitching lines. You can't press leather or leather look fabric so I looked for tips on how to tackle this problem.

As ever the most simple and straightforward technique made the most incredible difference. I simply slashed the darts then top stitched either side of the stitching line on the darts and round the edge of the exposed zip et voila.

Top Stitching Darts in a Leather Look Skirt

Flattening and Gluing the Seam Allowances

Since I wasn't able to press the seam allowances Angela advised me to glue them down. I used a fabric glue then rolled over the seam allowances with my Dad's wallpaper roller. Yep you read it right! It worked a treat.

I also glued the hem up to avoid a visible stitching line.

Gluing Seams in a Leather Look Skirt

Sewing Machine Feet and Needles

Since the fabric was fleecy on the wrong side and I was sewing right sides together I didn't need to use a special sewing machine foot. However, you may find you need to use a teflon or non stick foot for top stitching on the right side of the fabric. We sell a wide range of these feet here.

I used a leather sewing machine needle, which you can find here.

Side view 2

Holding the Fabric Together

I couldn't pin the fabric since it would leave permanent holes. Therefore I used these 'wonder clips' by Clover when holding the fabric together for sewing.


All in all this was a great project. It was lovely to experiment with a new kind of fabric and get such good results. A real confidence booster and very satisfying despite having little time to sew.

I wore heels and my Burda blouse (which you can see here) for the photo shoot, but I also plan to style the skirt with jumpers in the winter and Tshirts and trainers for a more casual day look in the spring and summer. I think this will be a much loved item of clothing in my wardrobe for years to come.

Sewing a Leather Look Skirt

Shopping List

Have fun sewing!


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