Old Leather Jacket Refashion

Old Leather Jacket Refashion

By Mariana Kirova

Recycling leather is great way to make beautiful DIY fashion.

This refashion will show you what I did to upcycle my old jacket. I first made it bigger size and then changed the initial look of being just a regular black leather jacket. You'll find all about it in the video below.

Which Leather Material To Recycle

After fast fashion grew into a devastating industry for people, animal life and environment during the last couple of decades, saving leather from the landfill is a must, in my opinion.

I love leather but following my values I don't buy new. Instead, whenever I visit a charity shop I look for clothing out of leather. Of course, recycling what's already in my wardrobe and stash of clothing is also always an option when gathering material to refashion.

The main thing when upcycling leather at home is to choose soft leather which usually is a light to medium weight material. It is very similar to a medium weight slightly stretchable fabric. This makes it suitable to sew on a regular sewing machine.

In contrast, to work with thick leather which is sometimes used for mens' jackets, for example, you need to have industrial machine specialised for that kind of thick leather (which means even regular industrial machines, like mine, can't handle it).

My Leather Jacket Project

It all started with an old black leather jacket I kept for years. I wanted to wear it again. But because got too small after so many years I first had to make it two sizes bigger. Well, I did more than that and upcycled it completely.

The jacket not only turned into one of my favourite pieces to wear but also became my first printed article in a sewing magazine (still very exciting when I think about it). That makes for two reasons to love that jacket :)

You can read more about this first magazine publication, plus to check out lots of photos in this initial blog post here

Refashion Proved Great With Time

Now after couple of years have passed, I can confirm that I love how this leather jacket turned out. It really proved a good investment of spending time making it and figuring out design that suits my liking.

Usually I can't wait for the weather to change to wear it again (it's only a few cold months throughout the year here in Perth WA). Because it is leather, the jacket is perfect for transitional seasons or the milder winters we have here.

Of course, I tried to figure out how to make a couple of versatile looks as well.

But, I'll leave you to find all about this project on your own. Just check the video below. 

I hope it will inspire you to look for suitable old leather jacket to refashion for yourself (or someone you love).

Have fun!

Video Content:

  • 00:37 – Where the materials came from
  • 02:05 – Making it two sizes bigger (a design hack for non-dressmakers)
  • 03:00 – How to ensure you got the right skinny jeans to recycle for the sleeves
  • 03:20 – Easy way to make the sleeve top (sleeve 'head')
  • 03:45 – Options to finish the sleeve hem
  • 04:34 – Focusing on creating interesting details
  • 05:30 – Make it unique using the leftovers
Mariana Kirova

Mariana is passionate about garment upcycling and helping others to make their own upcycled clothing. Graduated with Award in garment construction from WAIFT, Perth WA, Mariana is not a main stream eco fashion designer. She makes unique eco-friendly garments from unwanted clothes and materials and believes that small fashion professionals and DIY sewers can embrace sustainability in garment creation, thus changing the fashion world for good.