This is the type of skirt I would have been sent home for wearing in high school. Really. we had a dress code. There was kneeling and measuring involved (nothing shorter than 2" above the knee). It was altogether humiliating and awful. As long ago as that was, long hem lines have pretty much been permanently ingrained in my brain since. This skirt feels rebellious. And, I kinda like it.
This skirt is the Rosari skirt from Pauline Alice. I immediately fell in love with its seventies vibe. When I saw her suede version, I nearly fell off my chair. I knew that I needed one. I've worked with leather before. I have three classes from Chicago School of Shoemaking and Leather Arts under my belt, and I felt confident that I could apply the skills I'd learned at home. I'm also fortunate to live about 20minutes away from a Tandy Store, so supplies were easy to come by.
I chose sheepskin suede for my skirt. It's a thinner leather with more drape than some other hide varieties and it seemed like a nice garment weight. I knew that my machine would be able to handle sewing it, unlike some leathers that require an industrial grade machine to sew. There are some differences between sewing with fabric and leather. To start, there's no such thing as yardage. You buy hides. For this skirt I used two. Next, leather has no grain. You can place your pattern pieces very closely together and without regard to direction, just make sure you're avoiding blemishes and thin areas. You can really Tetris your pattern pieces together, which means there is less waste. There's no seam finishing, because there are no threads to unravel. Also, with leather, once it's punctured, the hole is permanent, so there's little room for error, and you will want to avoid pinning. During my projects at leather school, we glued our seams prior to sewing. I skipped this step at home, because I didn't have any glue handy, but I definitely intend to do this in the future, as I think it will be a huge benefit in the structure of the waistband and hem.
There's also some differences in the tools you'll want to use on a project like this. You don't iron leather. To get crisp seams you hammer them open with a mallet. I used a rubber mallet and a block of wood. You could also use a wooden mallet. Whatever you decide, be careful not to hammer any indentations into your work. I was extra cautious and hammered over the top of a piece of scrap suede to make sure I minimized potential for marking. The most difficult areas to hammer out, I thought, were the darts. I don't have a firm, curved surface that could handle me beating on it, so they aren't quite as flat as I'd like.
In these pictures, I'm wearing my Rosari with a Grainline Lark Tee. When this pattern was introduced, I was a little underwhelmed. It's a basic tee pattern. No bells. No whistles. BUT, I didn't have a solid tee pattern. I've sewn Renfrews before, and I like them well enough, but they don't fit the way my RTW tee shirts fit. That, I think, is the biggest difference between the Lark Tee and the Renfrew. The Lark tee looks and fits like the type of tee you might find at a major retailer.
I sewed three Lark Tees in a row, because I was so pleased with the result. At some point, it might deserve its own post, but the versions I sewed for this trip are super basic and I think you can see what I'm talking about in these outfit pictures.
As a final thought, I know leather is a highly contentious issue for a lot of people. I absolutely respect that it's not for everybody. It might surprise you to know that I eat a vegetarian diet; it's something I'm very passionate about. I also come from a long line of hunters, and I take no issue with the practice of hunting for food (trophy is another story). And, as part of that mentality, I believe that the best way to honor the sacrifice of an animal is to utilize it to the fullest, in a very Native American sacrifice/preservation sort of way... At any rate, I hope I haven't offended you, it's certainly not my intention.