DIY Leather Sleeve Ikat Dress

Sleeve detail

I have been really enjoying working with leather on my projects recently. I haven’t done anything huge because I’m just not sure my machine can handle a full on leather project, but working with leather (or leather like materials) has definitely been a fun challenge for me. See some of my other leather projects here and here.

For this next DIY project, I thought it would be fun to make a cool simple dress out of this awesome black and white Ikat pattern material, and since I had some black leather left over from a jacket draping project I did a while back, I decided to use it as sleeves for my dress.

I considered draping this dress initially, but decided to use a Simplicity pattern since I don’t have a lot of experience draping fitted garments yet, and I wanted the dress to actually fit so I could wear it!

-Here is how I did it-

The Pattern:  This part was relatively easy- I cut out the pattern pieces for dress C from my dress pattern. You would think that with a name like “Simplicity”, the outfit would be simple to make, but from my experience with this pattern brand they are anything but simple. As many of you seasoned seamstresses know, cutting out a brand new pattern can take a good hour or so, especially on a dress like this one. That is because there are SO many pieces that go along with each specific size. For example,  there were about 6 Arm Hole Facing pieces (one for each dress size), and you need to make sure you cut the correct one for your size. My advice- take your time and make sure you are cutting out all of the pieces you need before you start putting the dress together.

Simplicity Pattern

Multi pattern pieces

Sewing The Dress: For some reason unbeknownst to me, I bought the dress pattern in a size that was too big, so after meticulously cutting out each pattern piece, piecing it together, and initially sewing it together, I had to take in each seam a good inch (and then some) to get the dress to the correct sizing for me. Not only was this frustrating for me, it added a good 2 hours to my work time since I kept having to take out seams and refit.



The hardest part on this dress for me was adding on the leather sleeves. I was lucky that the cap sleeve pattern I was using was exactly the size of the leather cuff I had planned on using. Since I couldn’t cut out 2 pieces of the material and fold it in half like the pattern says, I folded the pattern in half, and luckily it was the perfect size!


Since leather is such a tough material that will not “heal” once it has a hole in it, I couldn’t just pin my sleeve into place. So I ended up using binder clips to hold the cap sleeves in place, and slowly sewed each of cap sleeves into the arm holes, taking care not to let the material slip since I only had very little of the leather material left to use and I couldn’t replace it.


Once I had both sleeves put in, it was time to work on the skirt. I added a kick pleat to back of the pencil skirt, added a 1″ hem and called it a day! If you aren’t familiar with kick pleats (also called a back vent extension), here is a great and easy to follow video.

Kick pleat

Next I attached the skirt to the bodice, and slid it onto my dress form to make sure everything was smooth and even.


Lastly, I added a zipper on the back seam sewing it with a zipper foot, and voila! A simply lovely little dress with awesome leather cap sleeves!

Ikat Dress with Leather Cap Sleeves

This wasn’t one of my more complicated projects (with the exception of the sizing issues), but I sure enjoyed putting it together. I LOVE the Ikat pattern on the material, and I think the leather cap sleeve detail adds that little and unexpected pop of chic-ness to an otherwise simple dress. Now I can’t wait to wear it out!

I am totally into black and white this holiday season! Have you seen my last couple of projects? What are your go to colors this season?


Until next time…


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