Sunday, 7 June 2015

Derek Lam -Inspired Suede Wrap Skirt with Buckles

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Thank god for the internet. Sometimes you dream of something, a colour, a material, a piece of a project, but it doesn't quite come together.. Until a couple of images round it up perfectly and you know exactly what you want to make. I've been feeling an era of forest/army green coming on for a while.. A couple weeks back I came across this Marissa Webb skirt and loved the olive tone. Then it met with the Derek Lam Crosby 10 apron dress and utility skirt in my head, and it had to be.. Buckles + leather + suede with pockets ♥.


TOOLS  photo 0 Tools_zpshrmqz1vw.jpg
Leather and suede (I used two pieces of suede 0.5m² (6 ft²) each, and a small piece of leather enough for the two buckles)  |  Scissors  |  Matching thread & sewing machine (leather needle preferred)  |  Pins (though not necessary)  |  2 Buckles  |  Not pictured: Fabric chalk or pencil  and leather hole puncher

I'll say one thing about leather-specific sewing supplies, like leather thread and leather needles. I've tried them all and in my opinion it totally depends on your machine and the exact material. For this project, I tried a leather needle first with topstitch thread, and ended up switching to regular sew-all thread and a microfibre needle. The best policy is to try out on a scrap piece first, to confirm everything runs smoothly and you won't ruin the garment.

I. Cut out three rectangular pieces, that can be slightly more narrow at the top than the bottom. The combined width when placed next to each other should be your hip circumference + however much you want the overlap of your wrap skirt to be. The more overlap, the less showing of thigh.

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II. Add quick darts to the back piece. photo 5 Back darts_zpsdw9ksgtp.jpg
III. Sew into a long rectangle by placing the first two pieces against each other, right sides facing, and doing a straight stitch about 0.7 cm from the edge. Repeat for the third piece. You can press the seams open on a lot setting of your iron, through a moist cotton cloth.
 photo 3 sewn together_zpsxztv4kul.jpg
IV. Next up: Make a fold to all the sides and do a straight stitch about 1cm from the edge to secure it in place. That's about it in terms of finishes!
 photo 6 Seams done_zpsnxjil7ew.jpgV. If adding pockets: Cut them out of the remaining suede. I made two like this, one for the back and one for the front. I pressed the fold onto the pocket with an iron (again, cloth in between), and cut little triangles out to make sure it folded nicely along the curved edge. If you pin the pockets to the skirt before sewing, make sure you do this from the reverse side. Leather and suede tend to be pretty unforgiving when it comes to any puncture holes. I just placed the pocket where I wanted it and held it there with my hand until the first side was sewn.
 photo 4 Cut pocket_zpsp4xsl5zx.jpg  photo 6.1 Pocket added_zpsood34gey.jpg
VI. Final step is adding the buckles. I started with some modelling with paper to make sure the size of my pieces would be right...
 photo 1.1 Paper model_zpsuuxhryic.jpg
.. Then cut out my pieces.
 photo 2 Cut buckle leather_zpslvnn4xre.jpg
VII. I took the two pieces with a straight end and trimmed a bit off to make sure the fold ends up looking good. I also coloured the cut edges of the leather with leather dye (you really don't need to buy leather dye for such a small thing. Sharpie will be just fine).

Punch a hole for the buckle prong (one on the right) and you'll be able to insert the buckle and fold the leather over the buckle bar (one on the left).

 photo 7 Buckle holders_zpszipgv7nb.jpg
VIII. Plan where the buckles should go...
 photo 8 Plan for the spots_zpsp4u61lfl.jpg
.. So you can sew the side where the buckle is not attached in place. I did two stitches next to each other. Do this slowly. Like I said, leather can hold a grudge.
 photo 9 Sew other side of buckle_zpsy9quwbip.jpg
IX. Then add the thin strips of leather to the buckle holders like this. Hand-sew on the reverse side. You'll also want to sew the fold in place, otherwise it will move all over the place when worn. You can do the stitch first with your machine and then add the thin strip on top to mask it.
 photo 10 Prep buckles_zps9igtlpgm.jpg
X. Then it's just a matter of checking again for placement, and sewing the buckle sides in place!
 photo Done12_zpsniiwmh0g.jpg .. As the final step I carefully ironed some wrinkles out of the suede with low heat and a lot of steam.  photo ready1_zpssg0s8ue1.jpg  photo ready3_zpsfhv23mjo.jpg  photo ready5_zpsyvvxgdjv.jpg  photo ready4_zpsarggcnil.jpg  photo ready6_zps8otcqure.jpg

xo,

Julia

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