Explore Texture with the Winter Issue of Stitch!

Sew Deluxe

I love it when the weather starts to turn cold. I've been anxiously awaiting the time when I get to pull out my sweaters, boots, and scarves.

I love the texture of fall and winter – nubby blankets, shiny holiday dresses, and warm wooly skirts. The Winter issue of Stitch celebrates these fabulous things about the colder seasons with project themes specifically designed to celebrate texture.

Lily Pillow Covers by Josee Carrier.

Trisch Price's Out + About Bag combines leather with a graphic print for a stylish everyday handbag.

Lily Pillow Covers by Josee Carrier.

Lily Pillow Covers by Josee Carrier.


In the Fabulous Felt section you'll discover the fun of sewing with felt, from colorful wool felt fabric to creating felt from recycled sweaters. Modern Holiday is full of fun projects that celebrate the holidays in style, from quick and easy gifts and cozy wearables to contemporary home decor and decorations for festive get-togethers. In Surface Tension you'll elevate a simple project by using artistic fabric manipulation such as trapunto, pleats, pin tucks, exposed seams, smocking, and more to create unique textured effects.

I'm particularly interested in the Sew Deluxe project section, which features luxurious projects starring leather and suede. These are classic fall and winter fabrics, and they're also fabrics that often intimidate sewers. Luckily this issue also includes a feature called Luxe Look-Alikes by Linda Turner Griepentrog, which will give you all the techniques you need for sewing faux leather and suede like a pro. It includes tips on seaming, cutting, closures, and choosing machine needles, feet, and helpful notions to make sewing these tricky fabrics a breeze.

Here are a few tips to help you tame your next faux leather or faux suede project:

Faux Leather

Coined from a combination of the words "plastic" and "leather," pleather came on the scene in the 1970s. Some pleathers are made to mimic their on-the-hoof counterparts, with embossed patterning for crocodile, cheetah, snakeskin, and so forth. Others are made to be totally mod, in bright, shiny finishes and bold fashion colors.

– Use clips to hold layers in place for sewing or use a light application of glue stick, but only within the seam allowances (figure 1).

– Sew with a Teflon foot to keep the fabric moving evenly. This is especially important when you sew on the right side of pleather. If you don't have a Tefl on foot, place tissue paper or tear-away stabilizer along the stitching line.

– Use a longer than normal stitch length because small stitches may perforate the pleather and weaken the seam. A small (9/65) Microtex (sharp) needle will help minimize visible needle holes. If you're sewing on heavy pleather, increase the needle size.

– Topstitching seams with a long stitch (3.5 mm) helps to hold them in place. Seam allowances can be opened or turned to one side, and topstitching can be done with a straight or zigzag, depending on the desired look (figures 2, 3, and 4).

Faux Suede

In soft contrast (literally) to pleather, Ultrasuede is a polyester microfiber/polyurethane faux suede. The fabric is nonwoven, so cut edges won't ravel. Looking very much like real suede, Ultrasuede is available in three weights-Ultrasuede Light, Ultrasuede Soft, and Ultrasuede Ambiance. Decorator weights are also available. Look for solids, embossed patterning, and animal prints. You'll find more than one hundred colors as well as pattern combinations.

– Use 10 to 12 stitches per inch when seaming Ultrasuede and a slightly longer stitch for topstitching.

– There are two Ultrasuede construction methods – conventional and flat. They can be used separately or together, depending on the project and the fabric weight.

– To sew a conventional seam, place the pieces right sides together and place narrow basting tape between the layers within the seam allowance to prevent slippage (fi gure 5). Alternatively, you can use clips to hold the edges together. On Ultrasuede Light, hold the seam taut while stitching to avoid puckering.

– Flat construction utilizes lapped seamlines. This method works well on heavier weights because seams are fused in place before stitching, and you don't need to worry about layers slipping as you sew.

– To create a lapped seam, follow the general guideline that front laps back, as at shoulders and side seams. Trim away the seam allowance on the overlap section of the seam but leave the full seam allowance on the underlap. Lap the seam allowance on the underlap to the trimmed overlap edge, placing a narrow strip of fusible web such as Steam-A-Seam2 1⁄2-inch or 1⁄4-inch tape between the layers. Using a press cloth to protect the fabric, fuse the layers together from the wrong side. Another option is to use basting tape to hold the layers together for stitching.

– When you join garment sections, such as collars and facings, fuse the layers wrong sides together and trim off outer seam allowances through both layers.

Find more great tips on sewing with faux leather and suede in the Winter issue of Stitch, and try your hand on one of these luxe fabrics as colder weather approaches. With more than 35 nubby, shiny, or sleek projects, the texture issue will inspire you all through the winter months!

Happy sewing,


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About StefanieB

I'm the Managing Editor of Stitch magazine. I live in Fort Collins, Colorado with one fat cat, one very active dog, and lots of books, crafting supplies, and video games.

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