Custom made black leather jacket

A friend who has a custom-made leather goods business asked me to make a leather jacket for a client of his, for as a birthday present for her husband.

jacket's lining

Though I have been sewing for almost 30 years, I had made only one leather jacket, more than twenty years ago. That experience ensured I would not sew anything else in leather! Of course, this friend had already promised his client that he would have the jacket made for her, so he was practically begging me to help him out. With much trepidation, I agreed to make the jacket.

It turned out that I had gained enough new skills and experience in the twenty years since that first leather jacket that I actually enjoyed making this jacket. Sure, there were some heartburns, such as screwing up the collar and having having barely enough leather to make a new one, or having only about a day and half to cut and sew the jacket! In the end, I kicked ass, as usual. 🙂 Click on the pic to view a gallery of pics of the finished jacket.

I learned a few new things in the process.

  • Use a Teflon foot.
    I’ve had a Teflon foot for a while. This was the first opportunity I had to use it on leather. It was worth its weight in gold! A regular, steel, foot would have caused too much drag on the top layer of leather, making it extremely difficult to keep the layers aligned as the seam is sewn.
  • Use a “seam roller” to flatten seams.
    I didn’t have a seam roller, so I used a small mayonaise jar, laid on its side, as a roller.
    The jar worked very well because it has no sharp edges to mar the leather.
    (Just now, I Google’d for “seam roller” and found this useful video on sew a seam in leather. The glue she’s using in that vid is “BARGE CEMENT TOLUENE FREE”. My friend gave me some contact cement: “Tanner’s Bond, XXX Rubber Cement”, by Tandy Leather Company. The label says “FOR PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY”, whatever that means. Some Googling indicates that garden-variety contact cement available at Home Depot etc. would work just as well. There are mentions of other glues: “Aleenes leather glue”, “Weldwood contact cement”, “Dap contact cement”, “Fiebing’s Leathercrafter’s Cement”, “Duall #88 cement”.)