Leather & Leopard

Leather & Leopard

I originally posted this on Francis Suzanne’s Flip This Pattern series.
I was so happy to be asked to be a part of this fun series- I love a good challenge.  I find that they stretch me as a designer.  We were asked to sign up for the pattern we wanted to flip.  When I chose to “flip” the Sunki dress pattern, I thought it was a cute dress, but didn’t have any ideas for the flip right away.
One afternoon while observing my daughter’s gymnastics class, I pulled out my iPad, and using a cool app called Paper, I started sketching ideas.  I would look at the photos of the Sunki, and start drawing.  I wanted to keep the side panels and pockets, as well as the the shoulder’s and neckline- so it would still feel “Sunki.”  Finally, after almost the whole hour was up, my sketch was done! I made a few changes, like omitting the belt, but really did sew up my sketch.
Looking at the signature side panel part of the Sunki dress pattern, it just screamed to me LEATHER!  Then the idea of a jacket came to me.
 I had this really great turquoise faux leather in my stash- as well as a fun really stiff black and white polka dot knit fabric.  So the greatest part of this look? It was a stashbuster!  I only bought the separating zipper and some interfacing and fusible fleece.
As I sketched and thought about the design, I also thought about the trends right now.  Leather is completely on trend for fall, and peplums are still going strong.  Pattern mixing? YES!
And to complete the look? I had this awesome shimmery leopard knit fabric that just called out to me.  So I made some fun leggings out of it.  I added pockets in the back- which you can’t see…

Finally the day came to actually “flip” the pattern.  I printed it out, taped it together and then had to wrap my brain around splitting the side panel pocket area and redirecting it to fit into a circle skirt.  The peplum is a full circle.  I kept the top of the bodice pretty similar to the original design, with the overlapping shoulders.  I swear it took me most of a Saturday to get the pattern right. What a relief it was when it finally came together!

I created a muslin first, of course.  Then got started with my polka dots and leather.

At first I didn’t think- and sewed the faux leather right onto the knit fabric.  The weights were way too different.  So I rethought, recut, and fused the polka dot fabric with some fusible fleece.  It worked perfectly and gives the jacket the weight it needs.  I lined the jacket with some fleecy knit fabric I had in my stash.  Linings are tricky for my brain to wrap itself around-  so this took a lot of thought.

I’m going to be honest here- I think this jacket makes it into my top two hardest sewing projects of all time!  It is the second time I have made a jacket- the first (and the other hardest project) was our boy’s leather aviator jacket we did for our season of Project Run & Play.  These jackets were both complete beasts!!  But oh so satisfying to finish.

What is even better is when your daughter’s eyes light up when she sees the completed oufit waiting for her to try on when she get’s home from school!


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