Construct Your Collar & More Leather Tips

If you haven’t headed over there yet, now’s a good time to check out Maris’ post on creating your Ziggi collar! There’s lots of great tips and tricks that can be applied not just to this jacket, but any future ones that you’ll stitch up.

03-rajahIf you’ve chosen leather, you’ve probably seen it repeated a million times (it’s even on the Ziggi Instructions!): Never Iron Leather. Touching a hot iron can ruin the hide, make dull spots, leave burnt marks on the material, etc. In short, leather can be a pain in the rear to achieve crisp edges and to makes it impossible to apply fusible interfacing….. sort of. I present to you my rule breaking press cloth: The Rajah. If you haven’t heard about this notion let me give you the low down: This press cloth is lined with chemicals that when dampened (and ironed) set pleatshems and release stubborn wrinkles – it’s fabulous and works great (you can even wash it and use it up to 1000 times!). Quite some time ago, I saw a tip from You Sew Girl that she was using a Rajah to add fusible interfacing to leather when creating purses…. and it worked well without marring the leather (I should probably add that in addition to the Rajah, I reduce the heat of my iron as well and never leave my iron in one place too long). As with anything, it’s always a good idea to test on a scrap piece of your materialhide before applying it to your garment.

If you don’t have a Rajah press cloth, what’s your next step? Depending on the weightstiffness of your leather, you may be able to skip interfacing all together. However, if your collar still needs a bit of support, you can baste a non-fusible interfacing to the wrong side of a collar piece, just outside the seam lines. Lastly, you can try making your own press cloth by using a damp towel over you leather (I’ve heard about this being done in purse making forums when attempting to set in folds for straps) – once again, be sure to test on a scrap piece of your material before trying this on your garment fabric!

Note: If you’re interested in purchasing your own Rajah cloth, they are being sold at a number of online retailers (Vogue Fabrics, Nancy’s Notions) as well as on Amazon and eBay.

Edited to Add: I concentrated a lot on the Rajah cloth and leather, but forgot to mention that if you’re working with wool, it’s a great tool too! Using this press cloth keeps you from getting a shine when you press your seams open on woolen fabrics.