Four tips for sewing faux (fake) leather

With the temperatures beginning to cool – it is time that I break out my faux (fake) leather jacket!  I sewed this one up just about a year ago, using McCalls M6844 – and made quite a few serendipitous newbie mistakes (namely selecting a woven for a knit sewing pattern – HA – live and learn, folks), that I would like you to avoid!  So below, I am sharing my top 4 tips for sewing faux leather – be sure to let me know by the end if there are any that I have missed in the comments.

    Tip 1: Check whether the stretch is spandex or mechanical

    Fabric MATTERS when sewing a pattern.  I had made this pattern in a VERY stretchy rayon knit previously (see link here), and was itching to whip it back out!  When I purchased this fabric at Cali Fabrics, I didn’t even ask what it was.  I pulled on it a bit and assumed it was a knit – whoops!  This is what happens to us newbies – we assume that because it stretches – it must be a knit.  Well, in this case – there is no spandex (so no recovery my friends) despite the fact that the fabric gives if you stretch it.  This isn’t the first time I have let mechanical stretch get the best of me – but I share here so you are at least checking to see if there is spandex in your fabric (do better than me – ask if you aren’t sure)!

      Tip 2: Stitch carefully and avoid pins

        If you are ANYTHING like me – your seam ripper is typically at arms-reach.  That’s typically not a bad thing, unless you are working with faux (or real) leather!  The holes you create will become a permanent part of your garment, so careful stitching and avoiding pins will help you to ensure success.  For my jacket, I used wonderclips and they were a blessing!

          Tip 3: Use a rotary cutter to get a nice clean cut

          I have this FANTASTIC hi-low peplum in the back, and hemming it would have been a real pain in the rear.  If I had to, I would have drafted a facing, to avoid the pain of hemming, but because the faux leather doesn’t fray, it stays nice and flat – and I am so glad the cut is so clean — everything I cut comes out jagged with the scissors – no matter how much time and patience I deploy!

            Tip 4: Try Sew-in Interfacing

            This is one of those “do what I say and not what I do” types of tips!  I did NOT interface the collar of this jacket – and I really wish I would have.  It’s just a little floppy for my taste – but hey – I will know to spray baste on the interfacing next time to give it more shape.  You may find this helpful, since ironing is a big no-no.

              This jacket would make a fantastic fall layer (see more here).  You also see throughout, that I paired it with my Lander Pants (blogged here).  They make a fantastic combo, and the jacket is a nice complement to the high waisted jeans.  I feel pretty fortunate that I took the chance on using a faux leather for this knit pattern, even if it was a faux pas (I actually even discuss using a woven for a knit pattern here).  I do wish, however, that I had sized up, so If I ever repeat this, I will certainly make sure I cut a larger size – particularly across my back and sleeves.  Don’t be shy – what other tips do you have to share?


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