Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Leather Jacket, Part 1

I'm not supposed to be working on this - I still have to hem the black pants that are #4 of the Wardrobe Contest. The jacket is supposed to be the last piece of the wardrobe, not the piece that derails my train right in the middle. But I started thinking a few days ago that my wardrobe plan wasn't ambitious enough, and a leather jacket that coordinates with the other pieces certainly qualifies as ambitious.

I got 40 square feet of black lamb leather at Leather Suede Skins at PR Weekend in November. I liked Global Leathers (where we went in 2006) better, but they weren't open this year and LSS was. The saleswoman said that all prices were firm, but her father, bless his heart, played the calculator game and finally landed on a price that didn't make my breakfast want to exit my body at high speed. He asked what the absolute least was that I was willing to pay for the leather and then came in right above it. I love people who are willing to play "let's make a deal."

It physically hurts to take scissors to those lovely unmarked skins. I picked the biggest skin and laid out the main front piece of the jacket, drew right and left sides on the back of the skin, and then marked all the darts and the zipper insertion point.

I probably should have kept cutting, but I felt like sewing a little so I started marking the darts. Since you can't pin leather, I like to use baby binder clips. They’re great for "pinning" seam allowances because they're not big enough to get in the way yet they can hold a 5/8" SA (or more or less, depending on the tweak) without difficulty. They're good for darts because you can see if you've got the dart folded evenly and they don't slide off the leather. I leave them on until right before they reach the presser foot and none of my darts are off skew that way. I did all 6 darts in the front of the jacket, then took the rotary cutter and sliced open the tops of the folds. Normally I'd press the darts flat, but while you can get away with a little heat on leather (obviously with a press cloth between), you can't flatten a dart that way. I picked up a jar of rubber cement last weekend and once I had the darts opened, I slapped some glue on, let it air dry for a minute and then pressed the darts down flat. I weighted them overnight with some heavy sewing books and this morning they were fine.


Kat said...

Oh...I can't wait to see this finished!!! Good for you, Karen, cutting into that leather. It's going to be an AWESOME jacket!

Knigma said...

All I can say is WOW!