This is Forty, In Leather (Vogue 8750)

It’s finished!*

This series called "faces I make when talking to my daughter while taking pictures for the blog and getting ready to go out to dinner."
This series called “faces I make when talking to my daughter while taking pictures for the blog and getting ready to go out to dinner.”

And I wore it out to dinner with my best girl on the evening I turned 40.

I even dragged out all the cosmetic crap I’ve accumulated over the past mumble-many years and used it. There’s, like, goop in my hair. (Am I the only one this happens to? Remember silicone shine sprays? I have a bottle of silicone shine spray. I bought it fifteen years ago or so, when these were A Thing that people bought. I have used approximately 30% of it in fifteen years. I should throw it away, right? That’s not even the goop I used here.) I have two layers of stuff on my face, one layer of which is supposed to help the other layer stick better. I have stuff on my eyelids that’s supposed to help the eyeshadow stick better. And I am wearing a new lipstick, which is actually kind of nifty, I think. I even bought it at Sephora instead of the drugstore, when I was out buying the tights I am wearing, because I had no tights without holes in them with which to wear my leather skirt. And it’s still cold here.

Here Is The Back.
Here Is The Back.

Plus, yes, that is my silk-cotton voile floral blouse. It matches the skirt smashingly.

I love the pattern. It has really interesting seam lines that provide a lot of shaping and are quite flattering. I did two muslins, one in a woven and one in the faux leather, so I could work out the waist length and the grading, and you’ll need to as the pattern is not super straightforward due to all the seams.

But it makes a very nice, flattering skirt. If you’re looking for a pencil skirt pattern that’s a little different and you have the patience to go through the muslining process, I highly recommend it.

So, the rest of skirt construction:

-partway through making the skirt, I decided having some leather sewing references on hand would be a good idea, and bought two leather books. The postal service took forever in delivering them to me, so the skirt was mostly done by the time they showed up. The good news? Most of what I remembered was correct and the books reassured me greatly. The bad news? The exception to this is the *cold rubber tape, which I’ve never been able to find here, and which you are supposed to apply to seams as a stay tape to prevent the leather from stretching out. … Ooops. The other book recommends linen tape for the same purpose, which would have been a whole lot easier, but much much much too late as it needs to be sewn in. You can’t open up leather seams without weakening the leather, so my plan is to find some cold rubber tape or equivalent and apply it to my leather seams on the inside after the fact. It should still help.

closer up, for seam details
closer up, for seam details

-for the lining, I used the skirt sloper I made with the aid of Suzy Fuhrer’s Craftsty class, rather than duplicating the skirt pattern (which comes unlined). It was a whole lot easier and I knew it would fit. An online leather resource suggested cutting the lining on the cross grain with the hem on the selvedge, and that’s what I did. The lining is just shy of the top of the rear slit.

-there’s also petersham ribbon between the lining and the leather to keep the waist from stretching out.

closer up from the back.
closer up from the back. note that it’s not the waist that’s uneven, but the shirt blousing over the back that makes it look so here.

-pounding the seams with a little mallet was a ton of fun. I may need to do more pounding near the zipper–it’s just not as flat as I’d like. There were some good suggestions on zipper installation in the books but, well, they got to me after I’d finished it. It’s still ok, though. What I did was baste the zipper in along the leather edges so they matched up, sew the seam between the slit and the zipper, then topstitch straight down from the waist to the hem to get the zipper/seam/slit all in place and behaving. It worked, mostly, and it made for (mostly) even (except around the bottom of the zipper) topstitching, which is important.

-the hem is not sewn. I measured where it needed to fall, folded it up with binder clips, pounded it with the mallet to make a nice crease and line, ran double-sided tape along the line on the inside, and then used the mallet to press it into the tape nice and flat.

more faces I make when I'm talking to Frances, taking pictures and getting ready to go out.
more faces I make when I’m talking to Frances, taking pictures and getting ready to go out. The skirt looks nice, though.

-apparently, according to the leather books, I made this unnecessarily complicated for myself by picking a pattern with so many pieces. I’m glad I did. It looks really nice, and the pattern provides a lot of shaping without darts. It’s basically a 3D skirt, when finished, which is very cool. Some of the side seams do not match up perfectly but I think from a distance you can’t really tell. Nevertheless, next time I’m picking a skirt pattern with fewer pieces. Current plans are to adapt that skirt sloper into a six- or eight-gore skirt with a bit of an a-line. This time a proper waistband, and waiting for the cold rubber tape.

9 thoughts on “This is Forty, In Leather (Vogue 8750)”

  1. What a complicated process, but the end result….beautiful. The pounding sounds like it would be therapeutic after all the painstaking steps you had to take along the way.

    Looking good at 40 I must say. HB from one March BD girl to another.
    .

  2. Damn, that’s a fine fit. And a fine match with the blouse. You do not, repeat NOT, look forty in this outfit.
    But, wow, the work you put into it. Gratifying that it shows off so well. And, unlike my one try, it will not stretch out, I think, due to all the fussy pieces and the lining.
    Hope your dinner was fine.

    1. Dinner was great! I paid for it w/ a gift certificate Frances gave me, so I got to have my favourite company, plus it was free. And no cooking or cleaning up. Hurray!

      I sure hope it won’t stretch out, but I’m going to put the cold tape in the seams anyway when it gets here, just to be on the safe side. And then I’ll start sewing up a suede one.

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