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Working With Thrifted Leather

I know none of you have an old leather skirt, but you can often find old leather garments at thrift stores for a pretty good price. I got this leather skirt at my local Goodwill outlet, which prices items by the pound. I was lucky, because the skirt is a plus-size skirt (lots of leather), and was originally priced at $20. I probably paid about $3 for it at the outlet. You should definitely investigate whether or not your town has a Goodwill outlet (such a better deal than my regular Goodwill store, which tends to overprice many things). But then don’t come crying to me when you buy 50 pounds of stuff and have to figure out what to do with it!!

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If you haven’t worked with leather, don’t be intimidated. There are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned while working with mine.

Disassembling a Leather Garment:

I disassembled my skirt by just ripping the panels apart. You might not be able to do this, depending on how your garment is constructed. I have another suede shirt that was serged together, so I had to cut the pieces apart at the seams. If you do this, I recommend cutting on both sides of the seams so your full pieces of fabric don’t have the thickness of the seams at the edges. You can save the seams to use as loops or other parts of your project. Don’t throw them away.

Don’t disassemble your garment until you begin your project, because it might work better to have part or all of the garment intact. It just depends on your project. I actually used most of the skirt for a different project (that I will be posting about in a few weeks), but I had the entire back panel left over, so that’s what I used for this project.

Sewing with Leather:

Don’t use pins. Pins will put holes in your leather that can’t be covered or removed. Instead, use clips, like binder clips or wooden clothespins, to keep your pieces together. Remove clips as you come to then when sewing.

Do use a leather needle. A small investment in a package of leather needles will help you avoid a world of frustration.

Sew slowly. Especially at first, especially when dealing with thick leather, or multiple thicknesses of leather. Removing a seam isn’t ideal because once it’s sewn, the leather is punctured.

Again, ask any questions in the comments and I’ll try to give more info or clarify if necessary!