The pattern: This hideously ugly 1999 Simplicity pattern bought on Etsy. I used top B as a starting point, adding a center vertical seam and raising the neckline area.
|Darn black for being such a hard color to photograph.|
Fabric: One large black leather skin from Leather, Suede, Skins on W. 35th Street here in NYC ($40). One yard of black wool doubleknit from Mood Fabrics ($20). One yard of black poly lycra lining, also from Mood ($5). Total cost to make this top, excluding pattern, and the 7" zipper was from my stash: $65.
|Not only did constructing the back out of wool doubleknit save me money, it also gives this top a slim, figure-hugging fit. I lined the top half of the bodice with a poly lycra lining fabric.|
|This isn't my favorite cardigan, but it gives you an idea of the layering possibilities. This top also looks great worn over a shirt or turtleneck.|
Bottom line: I think this is my most favorite piece I've ever sewn. I feel stylish and sexy in it. "Mom, you look hot," said my 16-year-old son approvingly when I showed it off to him and DH, who also heartily approves. I love that it goes with so many things I own. I actually want it to get a little colder here so I can wear it!
Leather is easy to sew, dear readers! I put off sewing leather for years because I thought I needed a lot of new tools and that my machine couldn't handle it. Not so at all. I have a teflon foot now but leather feeds well with my regular foot, and I use regular sewing machine needles too. Leather for apparel (generally lambskin) behaves so much nicer than many fabrics—it doesn't curl or fray or stretch. If you only use one skin for a front of a bodice or for accent pieces, you can keep your production costs within reason. Just make a muslin first and get it to the point where it's perfect, because the holes your sewing machine needle makes do not come out and will show.