How to create faux embroidery by painting leather.


Finally I’m sharing the last instalment of this series. I really enjoyed transforming that old 70’s inspired real leather coat into something so current and straight from the catwalk. The coat now features a beautiful back faux-embreodeiry made by painting leather. The design were a mix of different stencils and free hand drawing.

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Let’s start by taking about the Inspiration.The faux embroidery design was inspired by S/S16 collection. Gucci’s Alessandro Michele has cultivated a new era of heartfelt glamour and I really felt inspired by this collection. Gucci’s work recently had inspired me so much that you will notice more influences as I blog my backlog of projects.

What sparked the main transformation idea was SFW’s (Sao Paulo Fashion Week) presentation from À LA GARÇONNE. Their story is very inspiring. With the motto of “vintage is the future” and a vision for sustainability their opened their doors in 2009 carrying vintage clothes and some home decor that later included vintage furniture. This year’s were their first catwalk mainstream show where they brought very unique concepts to the world of fast fashion. The designer, very famous and much loved by me, Alexandre Herhcovitch. Long time readers may have read one of my earliest blog post about him. His mom taught him to sew and I still own some pieces from his 2006 collection.

Instead of the S/S – A/W and male or female divided show À LA GARÇONNE presented a non-seasonal and mix gender collection. The concept that clothes don’t need to be focused on an specific time of the year is refreshing. The most fascination part is their approach to raw materials aka the fabrics used on their clothes. Most of the clothes use either recycled fabrics made with older textiles; 40’s to 90’s textile rolls lost in time or removed  (saved) from vintage pieces. Don’t think it looks oldie-oldie. There brand is modern and contemporary. My favourite piece where the fluid chiffon dresses where he used the fabric selvages and old curtain finishing for structure.


Coat Transformation.


The overall transformation of the shape. One of the two piece sleeves has a small hole on the bottom section.


At first my intention was to substitute the bottom section for contrasting fabric or even contrasting leather. To create a pattern you just need to used the removed sleeves as template. I didn’t like the result so opted for cuffed short sleeves. The collar had to be reshaped to get rid of that dated shape. Leather tips: Clips work wonderfully instead of pins.


Painting or writing on leather.


There are well reviewed leather paints but for using stencils you need something with a thing edge like a pen. The biggest challenge was to find a pen that didn’t smudge.’Sharpies’ are mentioned on many how-to tutorials but it didn’t work on my real leather. I do have to say that it’s a case of trial and error because different leathers or fabrics will take the ink differently.

When researching I took a piece of my sleeve for scribbling, brushing, dotting with every type of pen (for fabric & leather and otherwise). My local art and craft supplier always have a great selection of speciality pens since it services the University of Creative Arts but after a quick research on the internet I found the pens that worked best were easily available. Caron d’ache is quite a well-known brand. My artwork used 3 of their metallic colours.


You can make your own stencils by downloading copyright free images you like and cutting out the hole with a craft knife. I decided to buy a few stencils while purchasing the pens.

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If you have any other questions do let me know. You may enjoy previous posts on this series:  Sewing on leather and suede, London (re) Fashion WeekEnd Challenge The Reveal, Tips for buying second-hand + preloved clothes & London (re) Fashion WeekEnd Challenge.


I would love to hear your thoughts about this series.

  • Beth_SunnyGalStudio

    that is such a clever idea, and it looks fantastic.

  • Nancy Karpen

    It’s gorgeous. Certainly a big step up from the original. Very clever.

  • I love this coat- beautiful transformation! Thanks for sharing how you made it.
    The Artyologist

  • Michele

    I think that this is a really exciting up cycle project. Gone a boring coat into a high fashion and easily wearable piece. Very inspiring. Been waiting to see what materials you used to do the art work. Well done Rachel a fabulous piece.

  • What you did with that coat looks fantastic! Adoro!


  • Ann Marshall

    Thanks for showing us how you transformed your leather coat. I need to keep my eye out for something similar to work on. Thank you for the inspiration.