DIY info for a leather shrug || Perfect for Wonder Woman Cosplay
I wish I could say that I thought to myself one day, ‘Hey, I should make a leather shrug!’. But the truth of the matter is, this studded leather bolero is actually the result of fixing a theater costume problem. What do you do when you need to make SuperHero costumes (like Wonder Woman), but they need to modest and have some sort of cover over their bustier corset tops? Armor like leather shoulder pads seemed to be the winning ticket. I knew Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores had some incredible cosplay fabric in stock, so I went shopping to see what my options were. BOOM. This studded embossed bronze faux leather fabric was PERFECT. Next up, I needed to find the perfect pattern. I wanted something with some structure to it – but would still look like a shoulder pad of sorts. Enter the Lekala Bolero.
Skill level: Intermediate
Time needed: 4 – 6 hours
Pattern: Lekala Bolero (link)
PATTERN THOUGHTS / TIPS:
Pattern comes in your exact size: I had never ordered from Lekala patterns before. It was a cool concept, as you literally input your measurements and the pattern in your exact size gets e-mailed to you. You can choose to have seam allowance added to your pattern for an additional $.50.
The Bolero pattern as meant for linen fabric: As you know, I made mine in a faux leather. Which means I needed to do some slight variations to make this pattern work for my needs. This included adding extra seam allowance to allot for additional ease needed. Furthermore, to reduce bulk I sewed down all seams.
Pattern instructions are limited: The reason I say this is a definite intermediate pattern is because the instructions are…limited. No pictures, just bullet point sentences. So you kind of need to know your way around a pattern to attempt this bolero. At $2.99 it is worth a try if you are feeling squirrely and want to test your sewing knowledge. THIS DIY RIGHT HERE WILL HELP YOU (link) for when you get stuck trying to figure out how to sew the collar to the yoke.
Tip for sewing leather on your sewing machine: New to sewing with leather? One of the problems you will find if you are trying to sew with your regular presser foot, is that the leather will ‘stick’ to your presser foot causing the fabric to pull and stretch. In order to help eliminate this problem, try sewing with a walking foot. Due to a walking foot’s nature, it lifts the bottom of the fabric along with the top when pushing the fabric through. This magic attachment someone causes the leather to simply glide right through. It is truly a miracle.
Pattern changes I made: If I had sewn with linen, like the pattern recommends, I would have absolutely added the lining. Seeing as how I was sewing with leather, I chose not to add the lining this time around. I added all of the facings – and it truly looks fantastic. The shape of this fabric, paired with the clean lines of the bolero and stand up collar make for a dynamic duo.
Shoulder Pads: Absolute truth time. The reason I did not add a lining (see point above), is because I needed to add shoulder pads. I had never done this before, so I found myself doing a lot of shoulder pad research prior to getting started.
- Shoulder pad shape – I used THIS VIDEO (link) to understand various shoulder pad shapes. Skip to minute 3:10 where she starts talking about different shoulder pad shapes. I used the first style she shows, when she says it is for shaped jackets.
- Shoulder pad material – To make it super duper easy, I simply used 1/2″ foam (the green kind that you buy by the yard, and would find in a chair cushion).
- How I determined the pattern for the shoulder pad – I measured the length of the yoke, and made that the length of my shoulder pad. Then I simply arced down at the sides, with a width of 6″.
- Finishing the shoulder pad – I cut two pieces of fabric the same size as my foam shoulder pad, adding 3/4″ seam allowance all around. Sewed 2 sides together, inserted the foam, and sewed the opening closed.
- Attaching the shoulder pad to the jacket – I used THIS TUTORIAL (link) and hand sewed the shoulder pad in place.
Trust me, prior to doing the research I certainly tried on the jacket to determine whether or not the bolero needed the extra shaping. And it absolutely looks 100% better with these little babies in place – so I highly recommend doing the extra work.
FROM COSPLAY TO WARDROBE
Immediately after sewing this leather bolero, I decided that I would not ask for reimbursement on this piece – and would indeed be keeping it myself once the show was through. I fell madly and deeply in love. Is it something I would wear every day? Of course not. But for this fun nights, when you want to be a little punchy – this jacket is absolutely perfect. I have it paired with a silky black tank and jeans – but I think it would look fantastic with a black swing dress or tank dress, or even a basic t-shirt dress in a silky fabric. I cannot wait for the weather to get a little bit warmer and I can start rocking this in style. Dang, I love sewing.
Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft! – Exodus 31: 2-5