Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket

Hi Friends,

Today is a picture/ information heavy post about Butterick 6169, which I made using real leather. Yep. I made a jacket from REAL leather. I got over my fear of wrecking the most expensive “fabric” I have bought to date, and of sewing leather, and today I am going to share my experiences with you.

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket

The leather was purchased from a shop in Newcastle called Le Prevo Leathers. I highly recommend these guys. I went into the shop thinking I would buy nappa leather, because isn’t that what all leather jackets are made of? But the guy in the shop told me straight away that nappa isn’t the easiest leather to start out with and on reflection he was probably right. Instead I walked out with 2 cow hide skins, each of around 20 square feet. I took my pattern pieces with me and we laid them out roughly to determine how much leather I would need. He also sold me some specialised leather sewing thread. I wish I could tell you exactly what this thread is, but I don’t know what it is called. All I know is that it is much, much stronger than even a heavy duty topstitching thread and gives all the top stitched seams a very professional finish.

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket - close up of topstitched seams

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket – close up of topstitched seams

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket

In terms of sewing leather, there are a few rules you should follow:

  • Use leather specific needles. I used Schmetz. I only ended up using 2 needles for this project (first one bent).
  • Use the right machine foot. I used a walking foot throughout. I started off using a teflon foot but the lower piece of leather next to the feed dogs was stretching out too much. The walking foot eliminated this problem.
  • Use a longer length stitch to sew and topstitch. I used 4.3 on my Janome machine.
  • You can use heat on leather. But use with caution. Test first and always use a press cloth.
  • By the same token, you can interface leather (and should where appropriate). Again, always use a press cloth.
  • You cannot pin into leather. I bought 20 of those quilting clips and they were perfect for holding the leather together whilst sewing. See below.

The part of this jacket construction I was dreading the most was the setting in of the sleeves. You cannot ease in a leather sleeve using the traditional gathering of the sleeve cap method. I used the “sleeve head” technique from Jackets for Real People (an invaluable text IMHO). Essentially this involves sewing a bias strip of, in my case, linen, to the sleeve cap to take up the ease before sewing the sleeve into place. The result was a painless easing in of the sleeves. Check it out below.

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket - using quilt clips to hold leather sleeve in place before sewing. The linen is my

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket – using quilt clips to hold leather sleeve in place before sewing. The linen is my “sleeve head”.

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket - sleeve sewn in place using linen sleeve head to take up ease before setting in.

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket – sleeve sewn in place using linen sleeve head to take up ease before setting in.

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket

I treated the inside of this jacket a little like a tailoring project. I added a backstay, interfaced the hems, interfaced all of the front of the jacket (the pattern does not tell you to do this), catchstitched stay tape (to the backstay) around the back neckline and made my own shoulder pads.

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket - backstay

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket – backstay

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket

As you can see I ended up topstitching virtually every seam. The jacket is fully lined with a bemberg twill lining. It is a little heavier weight lining which is a good pairing with the leather. I also added a leather hanging loop. In retrospect that was a little bit of an error. It is a little bulky, but the leather has already softened down and I think it would have been more of a mistake trying to remove it (remember, leather shows any unpicking you do!) I bagged the lining out: again, hand sewing leather…nahuh.

*EDIT: if you are picking a pattern to sew in leather then make sure you can complete the pattern with NO hand sewing and also consider if there are any areas where they are lots of layers. My janome handled this project with no fuss, but the one part it didn’t like was topstitching the front edges through all the layers/ zipper tape etc. It did it…but just something to watch out for.

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket - lining and hanging loop

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket – lining and hanging loop

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

Semi-fitted, lined jacket has shoulder pads, seam detail, welt pockets, exposed zipper, and two-piece sleeves. Loose-fitting, pullover dress (semi-fitted through hips) has bias neck binding, self-lined yokes, princess seams, side-front pockets, shaped hemline, wrong side shows, and narrow hem. B: Attached belt.

Pattern Sizing:

6 – 22

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yep although I did a lot of my own thing.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

This review is only for the jacket. I love the finished jacket. It is simple but classic whilst still on trend and very well drafted. I love the two piece sleeves. If I made this again, say in a boucle or a linen, I would definitely add in zippers to the sleeve openings. Nothing to dislike.

Fabric Used:

Garment cow hide leather. I used 2 skins of 20 square foot each. The jacket is fully lined with a bemberg twill lining.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • 1 inch sway back adjustment, adding the length back in to the lower hems
  • Added 1 inch to both back and side back seams to give an extra 2 inch coverage over the high hip at the back
  • Did 0.5 inch full bust adjustment
  • Shortened sleeves by 0.5 inch
  • 1 inch full arm adjustment
  • Dropped bust points by 1 inch
  • Used a 20 inch zipper rather than the recommended 18 inch
  • Interfaced all the jacket front pieces (not suggested in pattern)
  • Interfaced back hems
  • Added back stay
  • Catchstitched stay tape to backstay around back neckline
  • Made shoulder pads from fleece using pattern pieces
  • Used sleeve head method to take up ease in sleeves before setting in the sleeves (as you cannot ease in leather sleeves using the traditional method)
  • Topstitched almost all the seams
  • Added a leather hanging tab
  • Bagged out the lining

One thing I should point out: the front of this jacket (where the zipper is) should be slightly longer. Somehow I messed up when sewing in the facings and so this part of my jacket is maybe 0.5 – 1 inch shorter than it should be! Yes, annoying, but that’s the consequence when you are working with an unforgiving fabric like leather.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Maybe and yes.

Conclusion:

Sewing this jacket was a little like giving birth: when you hold your beautiful new baby in your arms you forget the horrible pain you went through to bring it into this world and 6 months later you are all like “shall we try for another one?” Lol. Sewing this jacket was perhaps not that painful but now I have “given birth” to it, I am just going to enjoy wearing it and perhaps I will try leather sewing again….in a while…

Until Soon!

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket

Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket

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About sewmanju

I love to shop, but I also love to sew my own clothes, and am currently on a mission to improve my (fairly basic) dressmaking skills. I confess to going into shops and being outraged at the prices of some (not very well made) garments (is it an age thing?) and think "huh, I could make some thing at least as good as that for less" (is it something to do with coming from the Indian subcontinent?) So this blog details my sewing endeavours, both good and bad....I love to nosey through other people's sewing projects....now everyone can get to see mine.

84 responses to “Butterick 6169: DIY Black Leather Collarless Biker Jacket”

  1. thesewingmiserablist says :

    Wow, your jacket looks fantastic, thanks so much for sharing. I’ve got a cream cow hide myself, which was very cheap but which I got put off making up as I’d heard you need pigskin for good quality garments. However your jacket looks so great I’m inspired to make something with it now. Maybe not a jacket, as I already have a leather one already, but a skirt, maybe, or if I’m brave trousers.

    • sewmanju says :

      Thanks…what is your name anyway?! I hope you do make something with your leather. I have just been nosing through your blog and I am sure you will be able to handle it.

  2. Beth (SunnyGal Studio) says :

    that is absolutely fantastic, great fit, great sewing and you look so sharp. Love it!

  3. Ali says :

    I love it! I have some suede leather that I want to make a jacket with but I’m too scared of ruining it!

  4. Karen @wannabsewing says :

    Amazing. Looks gorgeous x

  5. Emily says :

    Gorgeous!

  6. Jenny says :

    Gorgeous! I’m so impressed! I’ve been wanting to make a moto jacket for ages but I’ve been too timid to start… This may be the push that I need 🙂

  7. Faye Lewis says :

    Amazingly beautiful. You did a wonderful job.

  8. stitchedupsam says :

    This is fantastic Manju. It looks like a RTW jacket, and I mean that in a good way! Sewing with leather definitely scares me, but you’ve shown it is very possible to get a great result. I might be persuaded to give it a go one day. I fancy a leather skirt…

  9. Sue @ A Colourful Canvas says :

    WOW! Just WOW! I may just tackle a real leather bag one day. I don’t have a walking foot yet, and know I need to get one. Thanks for sharing your tips!

  10. Kathy Sews says :

    WHAT!!?!?!?!?!?! Amazing. Just so cool. I love it I love it I love it! 🙂 I’ve been wanting to sew up a faux version of a leather jacket. I love the look, and it fits you so well.

  11. Fiona M says :

    Wow! Go you! Your jacket looks amazing 🙂

  12. Andrea says :

    Wow, you did a fantastic job! I made a leather jacket a few months back and it certainly did test my sewing skills.

  13. odetosew says :

    Fabulous job with this jacket! Enjoy it!

  14. Angela says :

    Your jacket is awesome! You did a great job. I’m blown away by your good work. I have that pattern, but I think I will make the jacket out of something a little less intimidating:) Thanks for all the sewing tips, too.

  15. thetelltaletasha says :

    Well it looks absolutely amazing so I’m glad you’ve already let go of the memory of the labor pains lol

    How did you know to do all of those tailoring tricks? Have you taken a tailoring class?

  16. Thimberlina says :

    I’m in awe, well done 😀

  17. Brenna says :

    Bravo! I have this pattern and am waiting for just the right fabric. You did a great job!

  18. Ebi Poweigha says :

    OMG!!!! What a fabulous jacket! You did such an amazing job. I have a jacket just like this, but…yours is real leather and you made it! Mine is merely pleather from the Jessica Simpson collection. Kudos to you!

    Ebi Poweigha mobile: 617-899-3923 email: makingtheflame@gmail.com blog: Making the Flame Instagram: @makingtheflame Pinterest: Making the Flame Etsy: The Be Market video: (Mostly) Raaw Edges

  19. sheseams says :

    Beautiful and inspiring 🙂

  20. SeeKatSew says :

    WOW! Your talents never seem to amaze me. That jacket HOT. Also I am loving your new hair cut

  21. megret1979 says :

    Wow- impressive!! The final result is so worth all your hard work!

  22. Jen (NY) says :

    Impressive! Looks beautiful, and beautifully made!

  23. Tomasa says :

    Your jacket is just so cool and fabulous. Great job – wow!

  24. Mary Danielson Perry says :

    Wow! Manju, this jacket is absolutely stunning. The fit, the construction, everything is just so brilliantly done. It is, hands down, one of the most impressive sewn garments I’ve ever seen. Well done! What a beautiful, super cool labor of love.

  25. NaTisha says :

    This is lovely! Great job

  26. Anne Szabo says :

    Beautiful, You inspire me to give it a try. You must feel fabulous when you wear your jacket.

  27. Rebecca Davis says :

    I hardly know what to say. This jacket is stunning in every way. And on a side note about the pattern, I am thrilled to see how few adjustments there were to get such a great fit. This pattern is in my stash and I am now more encouraged than ever to give it a go. Every time one of your pattern reviews pop up, I smile, knowing I am about to get a big old dose of inspiration.

  28. Sew, Jean Margaret says :

    Your very adventurous project has turned out fabulous. Thanks for sharing the process. Beautiful work!

  29. Rikki says :

    Wow, what a beautiful jacket! I’d love to sew up a real leather jacket! You inspire me Manju:)

  30. Alethia says :

    Fabulous jacket, and outstanding workmanship! Also, great tips on the leather and thread. It looks very good on you!

  31. black label says :

    You keep surprising me with these fearless sewing projects 🙂
    Leather is so unforgiving but its such a lovely natural product to sew with.
    You’ll have years of wear in this gorgeous jacket. x

  32. Myra says :

    Beautiful work! I love this jacket on you! Now that you’ve mastered one, don’t you think another is in order? LIke a cool and funky color? Or maybe snake skin? Maybe even a color blocked! The options are now endless! Great job!

  33. Amanda S. says :

    Awesome job on this jacket Manju! I’ve not braved a jacket yet but want to at some point.

  34. Alethia says :

    OMG! you did a fantastic job on your jacket. The leather looks soft and beautiful. Job well done.

  35. maxandmylesstyle says :

    Great job! I just started sewing in May and it is very inspiring to me that you have gotten so good in a relatively short period of time.

  36. Liz says :

    Wow good job , I am just like few other women on here we have some great prices of fabric Sat on shelves just waiting to be stitch up , but have lost our confidence in turning fabric into somethink lovely. But reading all replies on here I feel that you all given me confidence to at least give it a go as they say nothing gained nothing ventured.

    • sewmanju says :

      Definitely you should take your lovely fabric and just do it. This leather has been sitting on my shelf for at least 6 months. Much more lovely now it has been sewn up.

  37. nettie says :

    You and your jacket LOOK AMAZING!!! I would love to try a leather version, but not until the new year!

  38. Erica B says :

    This jacket is perfection!

  39. Anabelle says :

    Beautiful job! I’ve have only tried leather on the sleeves of my Morris Blazer and it was fake leather.

  40. Helena@grayallday says :

    That is really impressive! I love that pattern, have made it once, and am making another one right now…uh oh. Now I want a leather one!

  41. Lynne says :

    Wowsers!! Your jacket is absolutely amazing!!

  42. robbie says :

    Wow, great work! Thanks for the sewing details. I won’t be working with leather anytime soon but these hints are good to know.

  43. Nakisha says :

    You really knocked this one out of the park! It is absolutely beautiful!

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