If you keep up with the fall trends, you know that Western Wear is on the fashion radar and will continue into spring 2019. Kasey made this skirt using faux suede that was in stock a few years ago. She gave so many great tips that I wanted to post it so it would help others that have this fabric. You can check out other faux leathers on the website here. Thanks, Kasey!
I’ve finally used my faux suede! I don’t remember what the original project idea was, or if I’ve always planned on a skirt, but when I got my sashiko machine, I thought it’d be a fun fabric to try. The suede was very easy to cut with a rotary cutter, I recommend that over scissors. It also took to ironing and steaming well, but I used a pressing cloth just to be safe when working the outside of the skirt.
What is sashiko? It’s a traditional style of Japanese quilting – I’m sure we’ve all seen it, usually white stitching on indigo fabric – and this machine imitates the look of hand stitching, wonderful news for my hands! And suede lends itself so well to hand stitching/ topstitching details, I was eager to try.
Hint: I basted the skirt closed for the final fitting, so I could take the seam back out and do all the topstitching flat instead of trying to do it with the skirt in the round.
I also got to use some traditional leather techniques; that’s one of the great things about faux leathers and suedes, you can use regular sewing or specialty leather techniques. I chose lapped seams in conjunction with “hand stitching” to highlight the details of the pattern.
Another great thing about faux suede is you can wash it! How wonderful is that? And it does pretty well getting “half dry” in the dryer too. In fact, the more you wash faux suede, the softer it gets. Vogue Sewing recommends using fine needles with short stitches; this seemed counter-intuitive as the suede was rather thick, so I tested it; Vogue recommends finer needles and smaller stitches for a reason! I used a number 80 universal, as well as a 2.4 mm stitch length. When I used a topstitching, jeans or leather needle with longer stitches, I kept getting machine jams and skipped stitches.
Another great product for suede – wonder clips. Pinning with regular pins was difficult at times; I’m not sure what it was, but sometimes the pins would slip through just fine, other times I met with a lot of resistance, to the point I was bending pins.
When you make lapped seams with leather, you don’t actually have to sew it, you can glue or fuse the layers together. Since I was adding the sashiko machine stitches, I didn’t have any qualms, but I tested my preferred double-sided fusible tape, and it held pretty well. Yes, if I tried to actually pull apart the layers, they did come undone, but I think as long as there’s no undue stress on the seam it would hold just fine.
I used a cutaway mesh stabilizer on the underside, and a wash away stabilizer on top so the stitches wouldn’t sink in (if you think you see plastic in the embroidery in the picture, you do – I haven’t yet given the skirt its final rinse to remove the rest of the wash away.)
As for the final details, I did much more machine stitching than I usually would because I was finding the fabric to be very firm; too firm for me to hand sew well. I machine stitched the waistband instead of hand stitching;
I turned up a small hem for the bottom, and then hand stitched the lining down.
I also used my button-sewing foot to attach the hook and eye; I thought the three neat little knobs of thread showing on the outside were worth saving my hands for the needed handwork – the lining hem and zipper. I did try to sew in the zipper by machine, but alas, it didn’t turn out well. I promise Fashionistas, one day I’ll master the machine zipper! The good news is taking stitches out of the faux suede was super easy, a little steam and the holes disappeared.
Speaking of, I used a metal zipper for the skirt as I felt it matched the project better; but you know a metal zipper means a zipper underlay to save our delicates from snagging. Normally I would have used self-fabric to make the underlay, but was dreading hand-sewing the faux suede. By luck, as I was flipping through Vogue Sewing I saw where they used a length of petersham instead of fabric – ah ha! I knew that would be much easier to stitch in. And further luck produced 2” wide double-faced satin ribbon in my stash, left over from another project that was nearly the same shade of aubergine as my charmeuse silk lining.
Now I have a skirt that’s beautiful inside and out! If you’d like to read more about the sashiko stitching or embroidery, read about it on my blog.