Sewing: Leather and Knit Tuxedo Skirt Tutorial


This is the last of the pieces I made for Alt Summit. And sadly enough, I’ve barely used my sewing machines for basic mending since mid January. It’s time to get my rear in gear and sew some more! I’ve got a few great ideas for clothes for Penelope and me. Penelope is finally at a point where she’s not destroying her clothes, so I’m excited to start sewing for her again.

Here was the basic vision that I had for the first day of Alt Summit. It was something simple with the letter lover sweatshirt and skinnies (blogged here), but then kicked up a notch for the evening with a blazer and leather skirt.


The outfit pictured below isn’t what I actually wore the evening of the event, but it’s something I’ve been doing a lot lately: mixing neutrals. I’ve been mixing browns and blacks a lot lately. I find that it can be easily done, if browns and blacks are the only “color” introduced into the outfit. It’s much harder to mix neutrals (for me at least) when other colors are introduced into the palette.


Instead of going for a black leather like I had originally sketched out, I went for an oatmeal/white leather. It breaks up the brick pattern nicely and it’s a little more casual.


Constructing this skirt after my last leather skirt was a BREEZE. I didn’t insert any invisible zippers on leather. The fact that it’s mostly ponte knit allows for more wiggle room when moving around.


Between the knit and the yoga waistband, I can wear the skirt lower or higher depending upon how I want the overall look to come across. It’s nice to have flexible, comfortable pieces in the wardrobe.

So I’ve been meaning to write up this post for some time, but the biggest hang-up has been the tutorial. It’s so easy to make your own, I thought I would include a tutorial in the post. Click “read more” below to view the instructions.


Outfit Details:

  • earrings: c/o Ardor
  • necklace: Ann Taylor Loft
  • watch: c/o Feral
  • bracelets: handmade, gift
  • top: Forever 21
  • skirt: handmade
  • shoes: c/o Sole Society




Leather and Knit Tuxedo Skirt Tutorial



  • 1 yard ponte knit (heavy knit with 50-65% 4-way stretch, see here)
  • garment weight leather (see measurements below for amount)
  • bulldog clips, or paper clips
  • large paper
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • measuring tape
  • regular sewing machine
  • universal sewing needle

Take your measurements. Measure the full circumference of your waist, hip and the desired length of your skirt. You’ll also want to measure the height distance between your waist and hip. If you’re curvy, you may want to take multiple hip measurements. I have basically no hips, so I just took one. Follow the guide above to draft up a basic block on a large piece of butcher paper.



Trace the pattern piece again. Add about 1/2 inch to the top of the waist for the back and substract a 1/2 inch below the waist for the front. This will reduce any crack, but it’s optional if you’re making it high-waisted.

Cut 1 1/2 inches from the flat fold side of the back pattern piece. Cut 2 1/2 inches from the flat fold side of the front pattern piece. This will allow for the tuxedo strips.

Cut tuxedo strips and your waistband according to the measurement guidelines above.


Cut 1 front and back piece on a fold. Match up the grain so that the stretch happens horizontally.

Clip your leather strips to your front piece, right sides together and straight stitch with the longest stitch length (7.0 is what my machine does). Use a walking foot or a Teflon foot and face the leather down toward the feed dogs so the fabric is facing up.

With a press cloth on top of the right side of your fabric and NO STEAM on your iron, lightly press the seam allowance to the ponte knit side. Topstitch down the knit side.


Clip front of the skirt to the back of the skirt, right sides together. The front will pucker, so make sure that those pieces are firmly placed together. Sew with a straight stitch at the longest stitch length. Press with a press cloth (or any cotton fabric will do) and topstitch.


Fold waistband right sides together and straight stitch. You will use a shorter stitch length here. Fold wrong sides together and press with an iron.


Flip waistband so the fold is facing down and pin the two pieces together (use clips for leather). Zig zag stitch or use an overlock stitch along the waist to allow the material to stretch without breaking threads. Turn right side out and press seam allowance down.

Fold the hem up to the desired length and stitch the fabric together. You can blind stitch by hand or by machine (hand is sometimes faster), then use heat ‘n bond or a hem tape to hem the leather portions of the skirt. BOOM DONE.

If you like this tutorial, subscribe! Follow along on InstagramPinterestTwitteror RSS.

This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!
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    1. Madeline says:

      This turned out perfect.

    2. carla says:

      I’m probably being daft but when you cut off the fold, wouldn’t that make your stripes down the center of the skirt front and back, not the sides? Can you please elaborate on the geometry? Cutting the fold would give you 4 knit panels wouldn’t it? I don’t see a seam on yours. Thanks!

      • Melissa says:

        So you cut off excess paper from the side of the fold and that allows you to keep the curve on the side of the skirt but leave room for the panels to go on the sides. That graphic is for drafting up your pattern, not the actual cut fabric. Cutting off different amounts for the front vs back allows for the tuxedo stripe to land more on your side.

        You cut one piece on the fold for the front and one on the fold for the back and that gives you two panels. Hope that helps.

    3. Roberta Fahrni says:

      Thank you for the tutorial! I am so excited to try – LOVE your version!

    4. Melissa says:

      This was such a great outfit – maybe my favorite of yours from Alt.

    5. I adore the use of the leather with the ponte – gives it a chic and flattering look with the vertical lines. Great tutorial, and good advice about using H&B for the leather hem rather than stitching it!

    6. christina says:

      This is amazing. I am afraid to attempt leather because of my sewing maching. My MIL used my machine while visiting and told me in a very nice way that my machine sucks and I need a new one. So… can I ask you what sewing machine you use? Do you love it?

    7. Julianne says:

      Love this! Where do you find garment weight leather? I’m dying to make myself a skirt like this, it’s so cute! Thanks for posting the pattern/tutorial.

    8. Katie says:

      This is gorgeous and so edited and classic!

    9. Chantal says:

      Hi Melissa, Your design work is spectacular. How do you illustrate the design sketches on this post? Do you use any type of program?

    10. This skirt is absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for the link back!

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