January 11, 2016

Perfect Pleated Pleather Skirt

When I started sewing, inevitably the pattern would come first, and then I’d try to find the fabric. Oh! What japes, fruitlessly searching for a very specific fabric I had imagined but almost certainly doesn’t exist (alas, I still do this with product samples for Cashmerette Patterns, but that’s a story for another day). These days, however, I’m much more likely to start the other way around: buy some awesome fabric, and then figure out what to do with it.

And thus was born, the perfect pleated pleather skirt!

Pleated Leather Butterick B5929 skirt

I bought this wondrous beauty from the ever-reliable and inspiring EmmaOneSock back in May, with little idea what to do with it. It’s fake leather, folded in tiny pleats and then attached to a smooth backing. It is GORGEOUS. So gorgeous, in fact, that it then ended up sitting in my stash for months as I was too scared to do anything with it.


Pleated Leather Butterick B5929 skirtBut, following my new life motto “Better On My Bod Than In My Stash” (might get that tattooed), I decided to make something which would make the most of it. So, out of the TNT pile, came yet another Butterick B5929, the pattern that just keeps on giving.

Originally my heart was set on a tea length midi skirt, but alas I hadn’t bought quite enough, as that B5929 is a hungryย beast. But after a bunch of jigsaw-puzzling with the pieces and lots of chalk tracing I managed to squeeze the drafted length-and-about-2-inches out of the 2 yards I had.

Sewing was remarkably easy – this pleated leather both sewed well and surprisingly, pressed well too without melting. I did a really small hem to try to avoid losing too much length, and because of the pleating it’s a little jagged, but only a sewist is ever going to notice that, let’s face it.

Pleated Leather Butterick B5929 skirt
For a pretty crazy fabric, it’s incredibly wearable! I love the sculptural nature of the final skirt, and it pairs really well with a black top or cardigan for day or night. It’s not obvious from the photos but it’s also really soft – more like neoprene than leather – though that does mean that it creases a little bit.

Finally, did you notice the goosebumps on the previous pictures? Maybe the chattering of teeth? THE SNOWFLAKES?! Needless to say it was mondo cold when we took these pictures and I risked life and limb for you, dear readers. And here’s the proof:

Pleated Leather Butterick B5929 skirt

Oh, blogging in the winter in the northern hemisphere: it’s quite the challenge. I’m hoping that *maybe* my new studio might afford enough of a blank wall for photography purposes, so watch this space!

So, what are you: a pattern-first or a fabric-first sewist? Do you ever buy fabric with no plans and then puzzle for months about what to do with it, like me? Or are you altogether a more organized person? (that wouldn’t be hard, I’ll admit). Do tell!

42 thoughts on “Perfect Pleated Pleather Skirt

  1. This is a beautiful skirt! I never would have tried pleats on pleather… you are brave! I am sure the pictures do not do it justice, but from what we can see, it is really, really stunning!

    1. Well luckily for me it was pre-pleated – could never have done it myself! And thanks, it’s a new fave.

  2. Andie W. says:

    Beautiful new skirt! I usually let the fabric speak to me, as well. ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Thanks Andie! Some fabrics just sing, don’t they?

  3. stitchedupsam says:

    Oooh, that really is a perfect pleather skirt! I have 2 RTW pleather skirts – one a short A line and the other a very similar shape to this – and they are so versatile.

    1. I was never really a pleather fan but I think this one has convinced me! Love the idea of a short A line one..

  4. allie J. says:

    I am a pattern-first sewist for sure! I am working on sewing through my stash fabrics though, so recently I’ve been trying to either “shop” my stash or go stash to pattern!

    allie J. | http://www.alliemjackson.com

  5. tamsinwp says:

    I am nearly always a ‘fabric first’ person which usually cripples me with indecision. I will think that the fabric is perfect for one thing, then constantly change my mind and not make anything for ages. The only time I by specific fabric is when I make my husband a shirt for Christmas.

  6. What a beautiful skirt. And living in Norway I feel your chill.
    It’s fun when you have too little fabric for your project but somehow still get it to work with careful placement of the pattern pieces.

    For me the fabric mostly comes first and I only have a vague idea what to use it for. Only exception are when I buy both fabric and pattern at the same time and even then I usually see the fabric first.
    And I never know how much fabric to get. Most times I end up with too much or too little fabric for the projects I want to do.

  7. Nakisha says:

    Well aren’t you fancy!!

    It’s really gorgeous!

  8. PsychicKathleen says:

    I buy both patterns and material without having a definite plan…sort of ๐Ÿ™‚ When I buy material I have an idea of the sort of garment I will make with it but I might not have the pattern chosen specifically and often when I do I change my mind anyway! I love your skirt! It has a lovely shape and the colour! I love that mix of shiny blues ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Nathalie says:

    wow! So beautiful that fabric is amazing and I love how full the skirt looks

  10. Amanda S. says:

    Lovely! Adding texture into an outfit is always a smart idea.

  11. Florida farmwife says:

    Usually fabric first, then pattern. Trying to sew my stash and not buy new, unless from a thrift shop. I have had some great fabric finds there too!

  12. carlamayfield says:

    I’m pattern first, all the way. However, I frequently buy fabric with no plan. Then, when I’ve chosen a pattern, I’ll check my stash first. Sometimes, with a TNT pattern like the Appleton, I’ll buy three yards of virtually any knit that catches my eye. I know I can always make another Appleton.

  13. Wow. It’s gorgeous. Love how you styled it.

  14. Carolyn says:

    I love what you’ve done with our fabric! Gorgeous skirt!

  15. Hannah says:

    This is fabulous! What an amazing fabric find!

  16. danvillegirl says:

    Beautiful skirt! Love how you used the pleated pleather. I am a fabric first, then pattern about 98% of the time.

  17. sallie says:

    this is such an awesome skirt! for a potentially tricky fabric i think you’ve found the ultimate pattern+fabric combo! I tend to be both fabric and pattern first – whichever inspires! But I feel like I keep a visual index in my brain of patterns and fabrics I’ve come across that I think are winners and sometimes the two collide in my head and BAM! We’ve got ourselves a garment!!

  18. Thank you for referring to Emma One Sock. I’ve seen the company advertised forever in Threads magazine, but hadn’t taken the time to check out their fabulous fabrics. I love!! your skirt and how you were brave enough to use it with the pleated style. Beautiful!

  19. Gorgeous! Wonderful fabric and such a good choice of pattern. Would love to see close up how the hem went.

  20. Michelle says:

    I love the skirt! It was a great match to the fabric! I waffle back and forth between pattern/fabric first. I do a little of both. I’ve got a large stash, so I try to use it as inspiration for projects as much as I’m able. Every once in a while, there’s a pattern that just begs for something different and I go on the hunt for the perfect fabric. ๐Ÿ˜€

  21. ellegeemakes says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! I would sell my cat for that fabric :). I have fabric in my stash that I’ve purchased without a plan. Sometimes, I love doing that. Other times I hate it because having a huge stash seems like a burden. In your instance, you made the most of the situation, obviously because that skirt is perfection!

  22. Ren says:

    Love the skirt.

    I’m totally like the old version of you: I get a pattern then imagine the perfect fabric only to find it doesn’t exist. Frustrates me every time. I have yet to flip to a fabric first kind of sewing. Maybe I should try that for the new year…

  23. Christina says:

    I am trying to have a me made wardrobe so I am only buying fabrics that may coordinate in my closet or fabrics for my kids clothes. No more fancy, to die for fabrics I will never actually sew up lol. I have so many patterns I don’t really buy any anymore. I have a burda style and a seamwork subscription If Im craving for something new.

  24. celiacmumma says:

    I’m a total fabric first gal!! I usually buy 6 yards of anything lol,,,(Im 6ft,,I need length) ๐Ÿ™‚ , if I don’t find a dress I like to use,, there is always a shirt,, or skirt,, I can have coordinate. Then with every leftover knit pieces I have matching panties and tank top,, I’m never at a loss ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. I’m a fabric first person but am rethinking that as I never seem to have the right fabric when I decide to use a pattern. It may be less expensive to buy specific fabric for a pattern.

  26. BCWest says:

    I love your skirt!Tthe fabric looks luscious. I’m a fabric first. I usually think in terms of would I make a skirt or top (3meters) or a dress 51/2. I just bought several for black cotton pants. I’m starting quite a recommended pattern library. Currently I’m working on an old fashioned romantic sleeve top in black poplin first.

  27. Andrea says:

    I will usually go fabric shopping with a pattern in mind, find fabric that would be just perfect for another pattern I’ve seen somewhere, estimate roughly how much I’ll need for that (especially fun with lekala patterns, which fit nicely but give no hints at all as to how much fabric you’ll need), then later find out I didn’t buy enough of THIS specific fabric to make THAT specific pattern, but then there’s always another combination that just happens when I sit down on the floor in front of my fabric cabinet with a handful of patterns. Of course I’ll then have to go fabric shopping for THAT specific pattern again… Crazy? Yes! And I love it ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Of course this was way cheaper when I only sewed toys and clothes for my kids – I’d buy half a meter here, and maybe a meter there (only if the fabric was really awesome). But now that I’ve (re)discovered sewing clothes for myself, I often wait a little while before I actually buy 3m of a fabric, just to be sure I really like it, especially if it’s a little more expensive. I’ll go pattern shopping instead with that fabric in mind… ;-D

  28. I really love your look! The outfit is gorgeous. You must feel really confident wearing it.

  29. Linda Mundy says:

    I am a pattern 1st first person and usually stock up when they’re on sale. I have purchased fabric first and it just sits there or it’s not enough or wasteful because I end up with bits that I never use.

  30. I can’t pick a lane: sometimes I see a pattern and know exactly what fabric I’d use for it (which is usually from my stash), and other times I stumble upon a fabric and think it would make a great *insert garment/pattern here*. That’s part of why I started a Queue tab on my sewing spreadsheet; I can assign and re-assign fabric to patterns or theoretical garments as my inspiration moves me!

  31. I LOVE your skirt! It looks fantastic on you, so much fun, very couture. I’m still very much a beginner when it comes to garment sewing, but my background is interior design and quilting, so I’m really all about the design concept first and THEN I think about fabric and patterns. Especially now that there are so many great online resources for high quality garment fabrics, I think I’m more and more about loving the fabric and then what can I do with it.

    I just got a dress form and, as soon as I can force myself to erase her perky, skinny silhouette with the padded boobs, butt and belly to match MY shape, I’m looking forward to more garment sewing in 2016. Your Appleton dress is on my Want-To-Make List for sure!

  32. Awesome skirt! You found the perfect pattern match for your fabric!

  33. gingermakes says:

    This is gorrrrrgeous! Love it!

  34. Sara Scopp says:

    I’ve used pleather for costumes that needed to look like leather. How did you do your seams? As small as possible? As big as possible to open them to be flat? I NEVER in a million years would have thought pleather capable of being such a beautiful skirt. And you’re right, it is wonderfully soft.

  35. Angela Martin says:

    This is just amazing! I’m such a fan girl but I love your blog! thanks for all of the amazing content!

  36. Pat Rose Thompson says:

    Shew! Jenny, Girl, you’re smokin’ hot in this one!

Let me know what you think!