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Grey leather skirt - muslin

24 March 2011, 13:17

You’ll get to see my Manequim silk blouse tomorrow, but in the meantime I thought I’d give you a progress update on the fourth item in my March Mini Wardrobe, the leather skirt (Burda magazine 08-2010 #128 – though #127 is nearly identical).

I’m making this skirt in some utterly luscious grey leather I bought while on honeymoon in New York, and despite having sewn with leather loads of times before, this is my first real leather garment. So knowing what I know, I knew I had to make a muslin first because once you sew leather, it’s done – the needles holes are permanent so you can’t rip out stitches!

I made up a quick muslin at the end of February, and, unusually for Burda, the size 42 was too tight over my hips. Rather than trace a bigger size (boring!) I drew two long lines up the front of the skirt on either side of the centre front. On the waistband and yoke pieces, I added 2cm width to each line, and for the lower skirt piece, I made a triangular wedge which tapers to nothing at my marked hem.

As you can see, the fit is now great – I could get the zipper closed with ease, and it felt fine sitting down (the big test for pencil skirts). It shouldn’t be a surprise that I also shortened the hem to be above the knee rather than the awkward calf length. As a result, the back vent is a bit too short to be useful now, so I’m just ignoring that.

I hardly ever dismantle my muslins to use as pattern pieces, but here it made a lot of sense because I’d have had to double all the pattern pieces which were “on the fold” anyway in order to get a flat layout for my leather skins. So after taking these photos, I took a seam ripper to it (though not on my red lines!), and laid these muslin pieces out on my two big leather hides and cut out all my pieces with my rotary cutter and some weights.

In Burda magazines of past years, patterns #127 and #128 would’ve definitely been referred to as a View A and View B of the same pattern, since they use the exact same pattern pieces. The only difference here is that mine (#128) calls for lapped seams with exposed raw edges, which is perfect for leather as it reduces bulk and adds some extra interest. I just hope that my design choice to omit the vertical centre front seam doesn’t add to much emphasis on the horizontal!

I’ve got a guest staying over and a busy weekend, so I’m hoping to make some good progress on the construction here before the 31 March PR contest deadline. The rules have been clarified such that we’re only allowed to make four items, so my KnipMode seamed trousers will be made off-contest in April.

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  1. That muslin looks so good, that the real thing will be absolutely wonderful! I really like the cropped jacket a couple of posts down. Looks great!

    Gwen    Mar 24, 01:27 PM    #
  2. Don’t do like the sewing lawyer, and forget that leather is thicker than muslin (and so you need to account for more ease) and seams won’t open quite as flat (and so you need to account for more ease). OK? Nobody needs a stand-up-only skirt :-).

    — Marie-Christine    Mar 24, 08:52 PM    #
  3. The skirt looks nice. How is your mobility in it? I had a somewhat similar looking skirt (though not as nice!) that would spin as I walked. It didn’t happen if I walked slow or short distances, but with my usual walking stride, I would manage to spin the skirt a quarter turn or more…

    — Sharon    Mar 24, 10:49 PM    #
  4. Looks nice Melissa. Are you really going to do without the vent? With my agricultural stride I would have the back seam shredded in no time.
    Looking forward to seeing the finished skirt!

    Kim Hood    Mar 25, 05:42 PM    #
  5. Help!! I have access to an unlimited amount of beautiful soft Kangaroo leather, in just about any colour imaginable, need all the advice possible to work out how to sew it…I want to make skirts predominantly just for me and the girls…I have a walking foot on my machine that was fine with a handbag I made using K leather and gloving leather as the lining but how do you keep the edges together if you can’t pin? for the bag I used double edged tape…what method do you use to cut the leather? I’ve just been using scissors…which get blunt really quikly.

    Paula    May 17, 03:55 AM    #

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