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?