Time to Vote! Refashion Runway: The Leather Challenge

leather cuff

I love this leather cuff from Think Geek. (Hint, hint)

Not only is it leather, but it is precisely WHY I get up at 4:45 each morning.


This week, the five remaining competitors took those words to heart and believed in what some would have thought impossible- giving some pretty bad leather pieces a new life.

I think you’ll enjoy today’s show.


Lauren from The Adventures of Lauren, actually found a clue to her old leather garment’s past life in the pocket. FUN!

“I was totally scared for this leather challenge. I have zero experience sewing
leather. I think it is above my sewing level and skills. The other challenge was
finding something leather (or faux leather) that was not too expensive. There was
surprisingly limited availability of leather here! And I am not paying $40 for it!

On my last stop and last ditch effort, I stumbled upon these leather, real leather,
pants that cost $10. Bingo. And wow they needed a lot of work.


The best part of
these pants was when I put my hand into the pockets, there was a piece of paper….
it was a log of expenses from New Years Eve 2001. Dinner, drinks, parking,
breakfast, and a car tow…. Must have been a great New Years!



So these pants may not have been worn since January 1, 2001. Which is scary. Not to
mention they looked like MC Hammer pants. High waisted, poofy in the belly. They
almost looked like a bad diaper. Pretty ugly. After thinking about it I decided to
turn them into shorts since I would wear them more as shorts then as a skirt. I
would not wear leather pants and I thought slimming them would not work out.


I first pulled off the waistband and the bottom part of the legs. I shortened the
height of the shorts and tried to keep the pockets as best as I could. I left the
back higher than the front so I could sit in them and not flash anything. I also
shortened the length of the shorts. I took in the sides of the shorts right behind
the pockets. Then using the leftover material from the legs, I made a waistband for
the shorts. The waistband was the hardest since the leather was several layers
thick. I actually had to hand turn the sewing wheel to get it to go through without
breaking a needle. I finished with a hook and eye to close the band. Then hemmed the
shorts and they were done. I decided to make a necklace from something I saw on
Pinterest. I made a feather necklace out of a scrap of leather.



Done! I could cry they worked out and my machine didn’t eat them. The tape on the
machine foot helped a lot. Had I not been knocking on pneumonia’s door and the
weather was better I would have tried to reenact New Years Eve 2001.”-Lauren





Let’s see what Desarae from Gladness of Heart has rescued this week:

“I have come to the conclusion that cows are stubborn, no matter what form they come
in. And try as you might, you can’t always get them to do what you want. At least,
that was my experience with this week’s leather challenge.
But, just like working with cows, you’ve gotta lay down who the boss is and not let
’em whoop ya! And that is just how I decided to approach this knee-knocking

To start things off, I found a hideous fake fur and leather coat at Goodwill. I say
hideous because fake fur gives me the heeby-jeebies, especially the stained and
discolored variety this coat was sporting.


So I did the only humane thing that could be done…I put the furry fiend out of its
misery. With seam ripper in hand, I completely took apart this coat, discarding the
fake fur, setting aside the lining, and salvaging all of the pure leather jacket and

IMG_1153 (1024x958)

Having never sewn leather before, this was a huge learning curve for me! I didn’t
want to get too ambitious, so I decided to make a vest. After taking the arms off
the leather jacket, I made some fitting adjustments by taking up the shoulders,
re-cutting and taking in the bulk at the back collar, and tapering in the sides a
little more under the arms to reduce gaping. Next I removed the pockets and sewed up
the holes. After that was done, I hemmed up all the edges and armholes. Taking the
leather piece that was originally the collar, I cut a matching lining piece from
some fabric and sewed it on the underside of the leather collar. This created a fun
pop of hidden color. All that was left was to attach this to the vest.
Five broken needles later, I have a fun, leather vest!”-Desarae

IMG_1218 (683x1024)

IMG_1196 (1024x1024)

IMG_1166 (683x1024)

IMG_1259 (1024x683)


Susan, from Second Chances by Susan, was busy with this leather creation:

“This week’s challenge of working with leather was fun, tedious, sometimes frustrating, but overall rewarding!  I started with a men’s grey suede shirt, my son’s pullover argyle sweater that was banished to the “donate” pile when he left for his two year church mission in Arizona, a thrifted piece of wool fabric with a cute tag claiming it was “Made in France,” some big vintage buttons, and a little bit of ribbing.


I loved the grey and yellow combination and was hoping I could do something with it.

hand on hip

I cut the sweater up the middle and around the neck.  I then gave it a “high/low” chop to remove the extra length.  I also cut the sleeves at 3/4 length and then reattached the original ribbed cuffs.  I stitched new ribbing around the front and neck.  I then overlapped the fronts just a little, stitched new ribbing around the bottom and added some buttons salvaged from the suede shirt.  Now my sweater feels a bit more feminine.


I made the pleated skirt from scratch.  I have to admit, it gave me a bit of a challenge.  In fact, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue, or set it aside and figure out a whole new game plan.  In the end, I stuck it out and am happy with the results.


The leather “over skirt” is removable and can be worn with other skirts for a whole different look.


I didn’t have any shoes that I thought would work with this outfit, so I figured a pair of spats were in order.  Now, I have never worn spats, nor made them, but that’s all part of the challenge!

shoes 1

Its kind of fun turning high heels into faux ankle boots.  They look pretty good with skinny jeans, too.  I just may have to make more of these!

shoes 2

If you would like to see the whole process, you can visit my blog where I’ll post a tutorial in a couple of days when I get back in town. Thanks!”-Susan


Trish, from Feeling Kinda Thrifty brings us this leather creation:

“This week I’m in my beautiful home state of Oklahoma, which works out great
for this week’s leather refashion. I had to leave my dress form at home,
but I’m lucky that my gorgeous sister, Amber, volunteered to let me make a
refashion for her. She even modeled for me.

I found this neon green leather skirt at Goodwill for $10 (leather is not
cheap in Hawaii). The zipper was broken, and I began to wonder if there
was any way I could save it. Just when I was about to give up hope, I
remembered that I had tried to make a dress out of a tribal print skirt,
which didn’t quite work out, and I had a pair of jeans that were too big.
So, I got to work constructing a herring bone pattern out of the leather
and tribal print. In order for the tribal print to stand up to the
leather, I ironed on a backing.

Before (3)

Once the herring bone was completed, I tore the jeans apart to make a jean
skirt. The leather and tribal print herring bone was inserted into the
center. I added a zipper in the back. In order to add a little something
to the skirt, I created a leather necklace by cutting strips of leather and
attaching it to chain. I added some striped beads because they matched so
well. This leather refashion is perfect for an Oklahoma country girl!
More details can be found at my blog, Feeling Kinda Thrifty.”-Trish








Let’s see what last week’s winner, Carissa, from Carissa Knits has been up to this past week:

“I’ve been itching to try a leather project for a while now, so this
challenge was just the kick in the pants I needed. I was a little
apprehensive though about avoiding the dominatrix and/or cowgirl aspects of
this material, but I feel like I struck a balance with this one.

I picked up a simple, A-line, black suede skirt for $5.99 at the thrift
shop. I wanted to make myself a black leather jacket, since I already have
a brown one, but unfortunately this skirt wouldn’t have provided enough
fabric. So I supplemented it with an extra large tee that’s been
languishing in my closet since my heavier days.

Week 4 Leather - Carissa - Before

I cut two long sleeves from the back of my skirt, and the front became the
back of my jacket, utilizing the existing seams and flare to create a
flattering hourglass shape. From the scraps, I pieced together the
shoulders and sides of the front. Once I had completed my long-sleeved,
front-less, bolero-like thing, it was time to bring in the reinforcements –
my black t-shirt. Two rectangles, cut from the front and back of the shirt,
were turned sideways and attached as drapey front panels. And the tee’s
sleeves were joined end-to-end and became my new collar.

Week 4 Leather - Carissa - After 1

I love how it turned out and can’t wait for cooler weather so I can wear
this non-stop!

As always, more details and photos will be posted on CarissaKnits.com!”-Carissa

Week 4 Leather - Carissa - After 2

Week 4 Leather - Carissa - After 3


Now it’s your turn to vote for your favorite leather refashion using the poll below:

If you sewed along with us this week, send your before and after pictures of your leather creation to bhunting@eoni.com. We’d love to see what you made!!

Next week’s challenge: Halloween

For more refashion inspiration:

Easy DIY Refashion Tutorials

About The Renegade Seamstress

I'm a busy wife, mom, grandma, and teacher who loves to create. I've joined the refashion scene and I 'd like to share and connect with all those talented and creative people out there doing similar things.
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68 Responses to Time to Vote! Refashion Runway: The Leather Challenge

  1. Love those spats! Hard to choose this week.

  2. joelleharris says:

    Some brilliant ideas there, not an easy one. One did stand out, so I have voted!

  3. vintagezest says:

    I have my own plans for a leather refashion soon actually! Well, it’s more like a refashioning of a jacket with leather patches. 🙂 Hopefully, I can find the right leather material!

  4. Anonymous says:

    This week you outfit was so cute, and my little daughter in law

  5. cathynd95 says:

    Another week of great transformations!

  6. Sheri says:

    awesome leather refashions I have leather and my machine does not want to sew it at all

  7. such a neat array of talent in working with leather!

  8. I’m amazed at how creative all of these ladies are with their refashions… It’s awesome!

  9. B. Coffman says:

    Such cute outfits! Nice work ladies ! 👏
    Truly impressed,

  10. cucicucicoo says:

    Wow, mad props to these ladies! I would be way too afraid to attempt sewing with leather and they’ve come up with some amazing ideas. For the first time I’m really undecided on who to vote for. 🙂 Lisa

    • Hey Lisa,
      Thanks, as always, for your wonderful comments!! If you want to attempt to sew with leather some time, it’s surprisingly easy to do as long as you use a leather needle. I hope you’ll try it some time.
      Thanks for voting!!!

  11. Cobwebsmom says:

    I am sooooo loving seeing these very talented and creative women come up with new things each week! This should be a reality TV show!

    • Oh, I would love to make this into a TV show. Wouldn’t that be fun!!!

      • Cobwebsmom says:

        I know it sounds weird, but I adore RuPaul’s Drag Race (a “reality” show where 12 drag queens – mostly gay men who dress as women – compete for a title) mostly because of the couture aspect. They are given a set of parameters and must produce a “look” within a very short period of time. I have always wished they would show the details of the steps of these queens creations (they do a little, but never enough for those of us who are interested in engineering of the garments). I love following your ladies blogs and seeing the steps they took to create their garments, it’s very exciting!

  12. Magda E. says:

    Congratulations ladies! You all did a great job! I was amazed a each refashion as I scrolled down…

  13. loved the jewellery and the spats! Want to make some of those! But the waterfall jacket did it for me 🙂

  14. ckaren09 says:

    I am loving following along with the refashion runway every week. These ladies are so talented! I am just now learning how to hem my own pants, but am so inspired to get my own sewing machine and start refashioning for myself. Thank you for all the great ideas!

  15. Pingback: Refashion Runway Sewalong Week Four: Leather | Wedding Dress Blue

  16. Jo H. says:

    These are all very lovely and unique takes on the challenge. I can’t believe the huge amount of talent you have tapped into, Beth.

  17. I love the leather challenge! This was difficult to chose. Good luck to all. (BTW- I love that cuff too!)

  18. Laura says:

    Tough decision this one! Such great, creative ideas. Well done everyone!!

  19. Kindra Caruthers says:

    Very cute, good luck

  20. Wow! Each week keeps getting better and better. I love to see the creativity of these talented ladies.

  21. Kristin says:

    What a hard choice this week! I love the spats, but I also love western attire.. So hard to choose :)) good job ladies!

  22. Wendy says:

    This was certainly the most difficult week to choose for me…. they were all so very good this week! I’m feeling very inspired!

  23. Kerri says:

    This was a really, really hard vote. There were several that were so clever and creative that it was hard to put one over the other. I continue to be amazed by this avenue of creativity… it’s amazing what people come up with.

  24. Jan says:

    Too many good choices, but I voted for the one that I myself could and would wear. Thanks for all the inspiration!

  25. thebird says:

    It’s so much fun following along and voting! Carissa is amazing!! I would pay good money for that jacket!

  26. The MadMama says:

    Woah! I am incredibly impressed by everyone this week! Leather is definitely a pain to work with and you all made it look effortless! Great job! 🙂

  27. Carissa! That is the coolest refashion I have read about in the longest time! Amazing job!

  28. kittehluvs says:

    all of these refashions have left me speechless! They are all amazing and inspiring! I have always been terrified to work with leather (I don’t even know where to start) but seeing these ladies make beautiful pieces from interesting leather garments is definitely inspiring!

  29. Jean C. says:

    It was soooo hard to choose “just” one! The gals all did a great job!

  30. Pingback: Refashion Runway: Leather Sewalongs | The Renegade Seamstress

  31. Thom says:

    This was the hardest choice yet! The Spats won me over.

  32. Nora says:

    Several pieces with such good tailoring made this a difficult choice! Desarae’s vest took my vote. Can I mention who I voted for??? Such fun to participate as a viewer and voter!

    Thanks so much!

  33. Pingback: Refashion Runway: Winter White Winner and Overall Winner Announced Today | The Renegade Seamstress

  34. Pingback: What is Refashion Runway Anyway? A Look Back Through the Seasons | The Renegade Seamstress

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