Finished: Leather Top

Leather Top

Just a quick post to show you the leather top I recently finished. Seeing all the leather on the runways and in the fashion magazines had me chomping at the bit to add some more leather to my wardrobe. For this top I took a leather/wool jersey top I made last year and was never in love with, and used the leather for the center panel (light tan). Deep burgundy leather makes up the sides, sleeves and back. I was able to sew this up rather quickly because I used a tried-and-true pattern, Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 2192, which is a bateau-neck, pullover top with no darts.

This top is actually very comfortable to wear, kind of like a lightweight sweatshirt. It looks cute with the sleeves pushed up and worn with jeans and a bold necklace. I may decide to convert the sleeves from long to short, but I’ll wait until I’ve worn it for a day (too warm here in NYC to wear it yet).

– lambskin leather from Mood NYC (Dmitry from our leather department is a font of knowledge about sewing leather and I go to him all the time; he’s pictured below)
– used regular sewing machine needle and good old Gutterman thread
– switched to a teflon foot to help the leather move easier with the feed dogs
– had fun pounding seams with my rubber mallet (seriously, this is my favorite part of working with leather)

Leather Top

If you have a pattern that works for you again and again, why not think about sewing it in leather? Leather behaves like a dream fabric and is not at all hard to sew. My best advice is to set your machine speed to turtle, and set your seams so the only adjustment you may need to make is to take your seams in, not out. (Needles leave permanent holes in leather; you want to avoid that.) You can sew leather for garments perfectly fine with your current sewing machine. The only investment you may want to make is in a teflon foot, but those are less than $10.

Mood NYC and Mood Β LA both have leather departments with ample selections of leathers from designers like Ralph Lauren and Oscar de la Renta. But if you aren’t ready yet to try the real thing, we have loads of faux leathers online here. So tell me, have you sewn with leather before? What did you make?



  • Cidell
    September 27, 2012

    Love the top! But, what this post tells me is that there was a whole floor / section of Mood I didn’t visit last time! Love the pastel colored skins in the background.

  • Erica B.
    September 27, 2012

    That top is fabulous! I sure would love to get my hands on some leather hides.

  • Suzanne
    September 28, 2012

    Oh, tell me more about this rubber mallet business! Is that in lieu of ironing seams (which of course you can’t do because you’re using leather)? Cute top. I would die from overheating though!

    • Mood Sewing Network
      September 28, 2012

      Suzanne, you CAN iron leather! In fact, it irons quite nicely. (Use a press cloth just to be sure.) But pounding with a rubber mallet really flattens the leather seams. And pounding is too fun to pass up.

      Also, leather is quite breathable. I never get over-heated in my leather tops. The only thing I’m not crazy about wearing leather is that it sometimes makes noise when you move. Other than that, love it!

  • Caroline
    September 28, 2012

    THis is a great looking top, I could also see it worn with a bold colored or patterned mini-skirt. Nice work! And creative re-use of an existing piece as well.

  • Elizabeth
    September 28, 2012

    Love the new leather top. I want to see it on you though. πŸ˜‰

  • Amanda S.
    September 29, 2012

    Great top, Meg! I have fallen in love with working in leather. You are right, it is really simple once you have the fit perfected.

  • Ginger
    September 29, 2012

    Oh, wow! This is so cool! Great idea to use leather!

  • Linda L
    September 30, 2012

    Very nice. I have some leather pieces that I really need to just try using them. Thanks for info about leather department at Mood.

  • oonaballoona
    October 1, 2012

    is that ALL leather behind dmitry? i used to work with leather scraps but never really used it in garments. i love your chic top, you’re giving me ideas borne of jealousy…

  • Trisha
    October 2, 2012

    Lovely top! I just bought my first leather remnant–wish me luck trying to sew with leather for the first time!

    • Mood Sewing Network
      October 2, 2012

      Good luck! Just as an update, I made some modifications to this top. I cut the sleeves off to above the elbow, and I trimmed about 1.5 off the bodice length. Wore it to work yesterday and got a ton of unsolicited compliments on it, possibly more than on anything I’ve made before. Leather gets attention.

  • Carolyn
    October 2, 2012

    I can see why you got a ton of unsoliciteds – it is stunning!

  • Candice R
    October 4, 2012

    You have inspired me to get busy on the leather jacket I have been ‘thinking’ about for a few weeks now! You make it look so easy!

  • angela
    October 7, 2012

    Wow! I love the top. I have been thinking about a leather top since I came across the Louis Vuitton fall runway show. The pieced leather tops are pretty cool.

    I am really thinking about it now because all you wonderful sewing bloggers have made beautiful items out of leather. Thank you so much for posting. I just may take the plunge and make something out of leather this year πŸ™‚

  • Sarah Gunn
    October 11, 2012

    Smart looking top, Meg! The combination of colors works well together. One of these days I’m going to give sewing leather a try. Thanks for the inspiration!