Tuesday, March 1, 2011

leather doublet pattern

One of the garments we are making this season is a leather (actually suede) doublet which I fit today. The pattern I made for it is shown here.
The doublet needed to have a soft rather than structured feel to it and it will be worn belted, but the designer didn't want a lot of excess material bunching up at the waist when the belt was tightened.
That meant that I needed to suppress the waist and I think that in leather, seams are so much better than darts. The seaming choice that I avoided because I really dislike it, is the men's version of a "princess" line, and I suggested to the designer that I could angle the seams off into the armhole, which is a bit more, well, angular and manly, if a seam can be manly.
The leather we are using is a good weight of sheepskin, sturdy enough to not require an interior structure to hold its shape, but soft enough that it doesn't look too rigid when belted.

People often think that leather is difficult to work with but I find it easier in some respects.
You do have to assess what the assets and pitfalls of the leather you are working with may be, does it stretch easily (control the seam before stitching) will you need a walking foot or teflon foot to sew it? (you don't want a line of stitching to perforate the leather) Can you take advantage of its non fraying quality and figure out ways of incorporating the raw edge (use a strip to bind an edge) instead of conventional binding or seaming? The possibilites are endless.

The hem will be "dagged" which again can be one of those design elements that are easy to get wrong. We need manly dags, not scallops like a 1940's window valance, something angular perhaps, so we will need to make up a few samples to see what works. The great thing about leather is that you can make use of its inherent qualities to assist in the construction, so in the case of the dagged hem, we will likely lay in a facing of interfaced leather behind, and then stitch the dag shapes through both layers and cut next to the stitch lines, leaving the cut edge as the finished edge.
Yes, you can interface leather and in some instances you just have to. This one will need a little help to stabilize it while stitching the dags. Another option is to glue the facing in place for stability and we will do a sample of that too, but we don't want a soft doublet with a rigid hemline, but we certainly will glue back our seam allowances and gently hammer them flat. we sometimes use barge but also use double sided rubber cement tape in some circumstances- just depends on what we need and whether the gluing needs to be more or less permanent over a period of time.

I barely got out of the fitting room before Karen had it back on her table for a minor alteration and to begin the process of finishing it. The whole team is in now and the work flow still hasn't stabilized from frantic to smooth, so I am barely keeping ahead of them.
Photos to come.

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