Then the idea hit me. Why not just make my own pair using recycled leather? Sounds easy enough, Ya?
Well for one thing I have never sewn leather before. So this was a challange for me. I do have sewing experience and am not afraid of making my own patterns since I rarely ever use them. I do like to simplify or make it easy, or as easy as allowed. And one of those is making a pattern from leggings rather than jeans.
First find your leather material. This may take some time. It took me two months to find my leather coat at the thrift store. It's the best place I can think of to find inexpensive leather. Look for leather that is soft, durable, strong, and in good if not great condition. I was very fortunate. The thrift store I went to was in an very small and friendly town. Plainview, Minnesota! So of course when I entered the store chatted with the owner and got to what I was looking for. She brought me to the back room and showed me all of their leather pieces. We found a women's large leather coat in black and in great condition. Still unsure of what I really wanted I couldn't decide if it was it. But with her offer at $10.00 I couldn't refuse. What a bargain!
*Leather is very unforgiving and will show mistakes if you do end up having to take the seams out to refit.
*Make the pants larger. It helps in the long run.
*Use medium-small stitching. Too tight of stitching may cause a rip in the seam.
*Take your time. It will make for a better pair of pants.
Making your leather pants:
1. Use a retail pattern of skinny pants or leggings. You can find these at your local craft or fabric store.
2. Or do what I did and create a pattern using a pair of pleather/leather pants you already own that fit perfectly. Then add to the pattern an extra 1/2 to 1 inch for the inseam, mistakes, and wiggle room. Trust me I needed it!
I used a pair of pleather leggings from Forever 21 (c) to create my pattern.
1. Use the lining of the coat (or scrap fabric) to creat your pattern. This is great for beginners to use as practice so you won't damage the leather. I created 6 pieces to use for my pattern. 2 pieces for the legs, 2 for the top front, and 2 for the back top. You may have to play around a bit like a puzzle to get the most use out of your jacket. And I recommend using the sleeves for the lower half of the pants. From the knees to the ankles as the shoulders to the wrists.
2. lay out the pattern pieces to your leather coat and mark them using a fabric pencil or bar of soap (marking on the inside). Pins are no good here as they will leave holes in your leather. Carefully take out the necessary seams of the leather coat using a seam ripper. I really took my time for this because leather is not forgiving. Before cutting make sure you have enough leather for each piece. I used the front of the coat for the back because I had a generous amount to work with. Be creative! I kept the jacket front pockets for a unique look. They ended up behind the thigh. I rarely use back pockets but these would be great to hold my I.D., cash, and cards when I go out. On the plus side I get to keep my girlish figure without adding bulk to my behind.
3. Time to sew! Lay out the leather pieces inside out as your personal leggins do. If you purchased a pattern follow there instructions. Start with using 1/4 of an inch sewing seam. This allows plenty of room for mistakes. Sew the upper inseams of the right front to the right back, same on the left side. Next you will sew all four top pieces together creating a U shaped inseam. Next add the lower leg to the upper thigh. Still keeping the outside seams open. Since I did not cut the lower pieces into four parts I saved myself from one step of sewing them together. Now you can sew the outer seams together leaving the upper side for the zipper. After sewing this seam I was able to make my adustments. Put the pants on inside out and mark the places that need to be taken in. That way it wil fit like a glove. Still leaving the one side seam open for the zipper.
4. Sew the top waist band. Leather streaches easily so you may want to reinforce it by using a thick seam.
5. The Zipper. I used the original jacket zipper and by cutting it down half the size. Make sure that you stitch the bottom part of the zipper a lot. It will save you in the long run. Before you sew the zipper on first baste the side seam for easy removal. Place your zipper evenly on the seam and sew leaving enough room on the top for a clasp.
And Voila! You have made your own leather skinny jeans!