Now once I accepted the fact that I had to sew leather, the next challenge was I needed to find leather, or a faux leather. I didn't realize how hard this part would actually be! I went to 3 different thrift stores to find leather. Some of the items I found were ridiculous expensive. I mean $60 for something I am going to cut up? Um no. Not to mention something I could potentially ruin while I was doing so, did not sit well with me. I didn't even have anything in my closet that I could use either. Darn. On the last store, on my last sweep I found a pair of black leather pants that were only $10. Ok I could live with sewing these pants. Much more in my price range. But oh my they were hideous!!!
They were high waisted, poofy and looked like a black leather diaper. They also looked like MC Hammer pants! The best part was when I put my hand into one of the pockets, I found this interesting note..... It was an itemized budget list for New Years Eve 2000, followed by New Years Day 2001. These pants may not have been worn since then!!
The best part of this note was at the bottom of the note is the last item- car jump. Must have been a great New Years! Oh if these pants could talk! I could understand why this person only wore these pants once- they did nothing for my figure. I went back and forth with what I wanted to turn these into- pants, shorts, or a skirt. I would never wear the pants, it isn't my style. It was either a skirt or a pair of shorts. After thinking about it, since this is leather, I would wear leather shorts more than a skirt. First these things needed some work- First I undid the waistband on the pants and removed the lower panels of the pants.
The pants were also pleated which caused the pants to poof. OMG they still looked like this!! Huge.
I had one more pleat in the bum! Just ugly!
Next they needed to be taken in, I need to slim these puppies down. I wanted to keep the side slit pockets, so I need to take in behind them. I opened up the side seams, stopping halfway- this was a smart idea. Made fitting the pants on me much easier.
Now prepping for sewing requires: leather needles and scotch tape on the sewing foot. Or else the machine won't feed your fabric. And if the tape starts to roll up, YOU WILL KNOW. Even the smallest pull up of the tape results in the leather will stop moving.
I then also cut off the top of the shorts. I cut the front 1 inch shorter than the back. This will allow me to sit down and um... not flash anything. I also used small binder clips to keep the pockets intact as now they don't have a top. This will allow me to fit the shorts and keep them from flapping around and making me angry.
So I slowly and methodically took in the shorts on the sides. I used binder clips to do my fitting. This made it super "fun" to sew. Again I just went slowly and tried to keep my visual line.
Here is the prelim shorts. I needed to cut down the length of them. I first went conservative in case I screwed up sewing the hem and I had lopsided legs. I didn't want to end up with a pair of underwear in the end.
I actually wore them around the house for a bit to get a feel for how they were actually going to work. I wound up taking off another inch from the bottom. And then in again on the sides. Now to start finishing these puppies. I need to taper the front with the back b/c they are 2 different heights, so I just made them even by angling the level with my scissors. Also I had to fix those tiny butt darts b/c if you can see barely in this picture, they were actually beginning to separate. So I fixed all the butt darts.
I also needed to fix the side seams, before I sewed the waistband and committed to these shorts (or be committed myself) I needed to fix the side seams to reduce the buckle from the fitting. I opened them back up with my seam ripper. Re-sew the side seam.
Now for the waistband. I got the leftover leather from where I cut the shorts down and squared them up. I had 4 rectangles now. I want to connect them together to create a strip so I could have a waistband.
Here is what I learned at this point. YOU CAN IRON LEATHER!!!!! I wanted my seams to lay flat and that was only going to happen with heat. I researched this online and found if I placed some paper over the leather and then add my iron, the leather would not be ruined. On the left is not ironed, on the right is ironed-opens it right up.
Now time for the waistband. I took my strip and began to line up the strip with the top of the shorts. Right sides facing each other.
Again I used my binder clips to secure! I really missed pins at this point.
Time to sew! OK this part was HARD! HARD. I broke 2 needles. I had to retape my foot several times. And then I actually had to hand turn my sewing wheel on my machine to get parts of these shorts to go through. That was so painful. The reason this happened was at the parts of several layers of leather, it was impossible for the machine to feed- TOO thick. The worst part was the portion with the pockets. That was almost impossible. They were ridiculously thick.
almost throwing these shorts out the window sewing the waistband to the shorts, I cut the material in half- I didn't want a big waistband. I folded it over and sewed again. No pictures of this b/c I was at that point.... I know all sewers know what I mean. I was at that point. I then sewed the hem of the shorts. Sorry for no pics. It was just a simple hem. I finished the shorts with hand sewing a hook and eye.
Now I was going to sew part of a shirt but I was still so sick and knocking on pneumonia's door. And after that waistband. I needed a break. And it just so happened we were going to get bad rain coming to DC and I was racing against the clock for the storm's arrival. Not to mention I used 3 leather needles at that point. I decided I would make a feather necklace that I saw on Pinterest. You can find the tutorial here. Here is my inspiration...
I wanted one and I had scraps of leather leftover. First I drew like a U/ banana.
I realized it was too big when I cut it so I cut it down again.
Took a needle and embroidery thread. Sew down the center.
Once the stem was done, I thought it looked ugly but had faith it was going to look good in the end. I just cut cut cut! Done.....
Here is the waistband on the back of the shorts, I surprised it doesn't look like a dog ate it.
The front... which was hard, I had to hand sew this.
Here is the feather! OMG LOVE. I go nuts over feathers.
So besides me not wanting to take pictures today, and fighting the oncoming rain. My camera just decided it had issues with focusing which I fought during this entire photo shoot. Which by the way, I have to do myself. I never have the refashions done on the weekends, and my boyfriend works late during the week. By time he gets home it is dark out. So it is usually me, my camera, the timer, and and tripod. Just goofing off outside and making my neighbors think I am the oddest person in the world. The few that have given me the "look" I told them I have a blog and I'm in a sewing competition. A few I promise look relieved and appear to understand. But I digress, let's look at my new shorts!!!
They fit pretty good right? Not too long, not too short.
Sigh just blurred picture. Apparently my camera didn't feel like working much either.
Here is a view of the back side.... leather diaper is gone!
A little more of the waistband since my shirt covers it up.
I have also realized that if I am not dancing, I am a horrible poser and I make funny faces in my photos. Today was a funny face day. I have sooooooo many photos of odd jaw clenches. It may be me trying to not sneeze and cough in photos. I am knocking on pneumonia's door with still being sick. I am hoping I am beginning now Saturday to be on the up swing. Fingers crossed. Here's me busting out the dancer in me. I can pose all night and day like this.
Overall it doesn't look like a dog got a hold of my shorts and I could almost cry. And I have a pair of shorts that fit me so good! Love them
I still have a little bit of leather leftover from the bottom part and also the waistband. I have been thinking about what else I can use them for. I have a few ideas, just need a break from the leather. Head on over to Refashion Runway and go and vote! Competition is fierce!! Good luck to the other competitors. I hope they had a better time sewing leather than myself!!!
Next challenge for the competition is Halloween. Which I am so excited for. I love costumes and this is how I actually started sewing- by sewing bellydance costumes. Then I transitioned into clothing that I could wear to let's say work..... Oui! I can't wait for the next challenge! :)
Also on a side note I have just loved sewing for themes. I have decided that I want to do a cross blog challenge called Inspired by India but the upswing of Indian fabrics and outfits I keep stumbling on at the Thrift Stores. If you would like to join please contact me. It is set for January 2014. More info here.