DIY Leather Mini and Bell Sleeve Sweater

DIY Leather Mini and Bell Sleeve Sweater
One of the number one questions asked by my friends is how much money do I save by making my own clothes? The answer is a ton. If you add up the cost of great fabric, and my addiction to leather and fur the savings is insane.  My interest in understanding the financial aspect of fashion greatly increased after watching All On The Line with Joe Zee (the fashion reality show that helps struggling designers get back on track) This show which by the way is awesome, answered my question….how does a designer justify charging $5,000 for a shirt.  When I witnessed the price of a piece increase $600 by simply upgrading a few buttons, adding a couple design lines and include a brass zipper I was floored.  The beauty of making your own clothes is so insanely gratifying, not only do I love the idea of owning something unique and one of a kind, but I can also shake my head at the shame in shopping retail.

This sweater was made with this wool from  The correct side of this fabric is a crepe like texture which is really nice but for this sweater I used the wrong side of the fabric which has a more sweater like texture.  The pattern used for this top was this Vogue V8840 which has been my goto pattern from day 1 and has seen tons of transformations seen here here here here and here.   I know your thinking enough already but nope! The following alterations were done for this look:

-Added a 3rd 3″ sleeve panel
-Added bell sleeves (cut a piece of fabric 22″ long x 5″ wide, pleat as you attach the sleeve to create the bell
-Added a 1″ flexible band around the hem
-Added a 4″ brass exposed zipper
-Added a raised neck band

The skirt was made using this mirabella leather from and this Butterick B5285 pattern  view A with the following pattern alterations:

Removed 8.5″ from the length of the pattern
Removed 2.5″ from the width of the back and front pattern piece
Tacked down the back pleats ( did this to prevent the pleats from protruding)

Coat- DIY here available here
Clutch- JJ Winters
Boots- Balenciaga

Shop the look



  1. January 6, 2014 / 5:43 am

    I have been dreaming of a leather mini for a while now. I love your version. Mine is going to have to suffice with leather scraps and ponte knit though. It's on my sewing table as we speak. Love you top too!

  2. January 6, 2014 / 5:55 am

    another great look!

    Is it possible for you to show us how you finish your seams? I struggle with professional looking finishes

  3. January 6, 2014 / 12:50 pm

    Wow! Fabulous styling — the skirt will be a fun staple in your wardrobe.

  4. January 6, 2014 / 4:02 pm

    Wow!!! Nikki, thanks for the information. I never knew that about designer pricing..thank goodness for being able to make my own clothes and enjoy the savings.. and once again you look amazing!!!!! Your top pattern is also one of my favorites in my pattern collection too.

  5. January 7, 2014 / 4:55 am

    Thanks for the insight on the show. I was wondering what your perspective was on the fashion industry based on your last post. I can't wait to receive my dress, you are so talented!

  6. January 7, 2014 / 8:36 pm

    Unique and absolutely fabulous! In addition to the cost factor (I completely agree with you), making your own clothes gives you a sense of accomplishment. When people compliment your outfit, you can smile and say "I made it." What a feeling!

  7. January 8, 2014 / 7:42 am

    I second DaReslnt1! Do you do a french seam, hong kong seam, or do you just serge it? If so have you've been consistent with it in all you projects or did you grow to prefer one.

  8. January 8, 2014 / 5:25 pm

    You are so inspiring!!

  9. January 9, 2014 / 7:24 pm

    I found you via chictopia. I'm also an DIYer and sew a lot. I love your sewing-projects. You choose beutifu fabrics and patterns for your projects!
    I think you have very good taste! 🙂
    Please check out my blog and my sewing projets.

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