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Monday, May 6, 2013

Making a Leather Cropped Top from an Old Jacket

Leather Cropped Top
A few months back I thrifted a couple knee length leather jackets will the intention of using the leather for other sewing projects.  A couple weeks ago I made myself a cropped leather top using up some of the leather on one of the jackets.  This is the leather top that inspired my creation.  I liked the idea of making a top that could be worn cropped, or layered over a silky tank top.
Leather Cropped Top Back

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More details on how I made it...

To make my top, I drafted a simple pattern that only had darts at the side bust and in the back waist.  There's a similar pattern here.  Then I made the hem of the shirt end about an inch above my natural waist.  Most patterns clearly mark the waist line on their patterns, so I would just mark up, and draw a line across from that mark.  Just make sure you keep a hem allowance in mind.
I cut my pattern out from the skirt part of my jacket because it had the least amount of seams in it.  My front piece ended up with a seam down the center front, and sides (almost like princess seams) because of the existing seams on the jacket...basically you will have to play around with the pattern pieces to see where on the leather garment it lines up best for the least amount of "interruption" to the pattern design.  My top also ended up with some yoke-like seams on the back pattern piece.
Another option for making this top from an existing jacket would be to try to use the torso of the jacket, by eliminating the sleeves, and trying to use as much of the existing construction for your top.  You will most likely just have to make a few alterations around the center front of the jacket where the buttons/zipper are.
I lined my top with silk, and I added an elastic hem to the bottom of my lining so that it would completely cover my bra and I wouldn't have to worry about exposing myself when I raised my arms.

A few leather sewing pointers:
-Use a Leather/Vinyl sewing needle
-Use a hammer (from the wrong side) to smooth out any bulky seams
-Instead of sewing down the hem you can clue it down for a crisper look

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