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Polka Dots and Pleather

Updated: May 18, 2023

Polka dots are a neutral, aren't they? Whether you consider them that or not, they are a classic favourite of mine. Often when we sew we find fabric that will feature the design of a pattern that we have chosen. In this case, I chose the simple classic lines of a pattern so that the fabric could be the feature.

This faux leather, gifted to me by Minerva as part of my work as a Brand Ambassador was a great fabric to work with. Many people shy away from working with faux leather but I encourage you to do just the opposite, especially if it has a super soft fabric backing like this one.

This fabric is 50% polyurethane and 50% viscose, earth friendly deadstock. You sew it like you would sew any heavier woven fabric like denim, heavy twill, corduroy or brocade. It is quite supple and as long as you use a heavier gauged "sharps" needle you will find it easy to sew. It is a medium weight faux leather that is easy to cut out and you can pin the pattern pieces together if you use a thinner gauge tailor's pins. I pinned as I sewed and found that the pin holes completely seal up as you remove the pins. I would caution you to leave pins in the fabric for too long as this may not be the case. To finish the inside seams I graded the seam, pinned it down in place then edge stitched long the seam. This gives the effect of a French seam but it is a bit easier to manipulate. For this make I chose to use black thread for the main thread and white in the bobbin. This provided a more subtle finished stitch on the inside of the jacket. Sometimes the black thread sneaks through because of the thickness of the fabric and having to sew really slowly due to the pins, but the overall effect is quite pleasing.

You have to be creative when you try to press faux leather. It really helps when there is a cloth backing so you can press from the back. This helps to get rid of fold lines etc. When pressing from the top I find that using an organza pressing cloth works really well. It provides an added layer between the iron and the faux leather allowing you to use steam and to really press along the seams like you would with regular fabric.

The fabric is quite wide at 137.5vm/54 inches wide so it offers you lots of flexibility for layout. When I laid out the pieces for both the jacket and the pants I placed the arm syce and top of the crotch on exactly the same line of polka dots. This allowed me to line up the polka dots closely enough to achieve a pattern match that is pleasing to the eye.

I really like the subtle polka dot effect created by the small dot pattern. This allowed me to create both a jacket and pants that doesn't feel too overwhelming in its total design effect. I also really like that this particular faux leather has a subtle textured matt finish. The fabric backing makes the pieces easy to wear and comfortable. Unlike some pleather garments it doesn’t leave you feeling sweaty or sticky.

I chose one of my go-to cropped jacket patterns, Rhett by Seamwork. There are many jacket patterns similar in style that you can use. I chose this pattern because it has limited pattern pieces. I wanted the polka dot pattern to be interrupted as much as possible so I avoided a pattern that had a back yoke or pieced front bodice. The Rhett jacket originally has a seam up the back but to avoid this added detail so the back was one piece I simply cut it on the fold. You can see another more oversized outerwear pleather Rhett jacket that I created on my Instagram, and a fabric Rhett here.

I have two other pleather makes to create with this fun fabric. A pair of Joss Seamwork wide leg pants and a new bucket hat. Hopefully I will have enough fabric leftover for both. I will be posting them on Instagram so stay tuned for these creative twists on classic patterns.

There are so many faux leather/pleather fabric to choose from. Use a pattern you are familiar with and that you like the fit of and go for it. You will enjoy the sewing process and the end product.

After all..... There is Sew Much To Design!

Happy Pleather Sewing,

Lou Sheffer

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