Tutorial: Briar top with leather shoulder patch

One of the variation ideas i suggest at the end of the Briar instruction booklet, is using the curved patch pocket pattern piece to add leather shoulder patches to your top.

I am so in love with how well this idea turned out! Whenever i wear this top i get so many compliments on it – it’s just too awesome. Even better it’s a really simple extra few steps in your Briar construction.

You’ll just need a little bit of leather to add an awesome pop to your top (that’s right, i totally rhymed that hehe). In fact, you don’t even need to use leather – this would look just as awesome using other non-fray fabrics such as felt, or fleece, or sweatshirt jersey – or even just a contrast jersey. I’ve done this on a tshirt – and also a sweater, and it looks fantastic on both. There is really so much opportunity here!

Click through for the tutorial!!

Follow the Briar instructions as detailed in the pattern for sewing the shoulder seams, and attaching the neckline (band or binding, i used the band for this top – and don’t worry, yours will look better, mine wasn’t pressed yet)

Cut out two leather patches using the curved patch pocket pattern piece. Depending on what size you wear, it may make more sense to cut off the seam allowance for the pattern piece if it won’t fit. For me, i found the standard patch fitted perfectly.

Place your patches over the shoulder seam as above. I placed mine so that the shoulder seam ran through the centre of the patch. Match the straight edge of the patch up with the raw edge of the armhole along the shoulder. You can carefully pin your leather in place.

Another option is to fuse the leather to the top to keep it in place during sewing. I didn’t use that option for this top, but for later versions of shoulder patches i did. It’s very easy, you just need to use some sort of fusible webbing – cut it to size, then put it between the leather and the top. You then iron to fuse it. Do not iron directly on the leather, you want to iron on the inside of the top, and only just enough to fuse it during sewing. I found this really helped with the sewing portion – and if you are feeling in any way nervous about the leather slipping, then this is a good option :)

When you are sewing your patches – just go slowly. That’s the real trick here. Make sure you use a leather needle if you are using leather. You can either use topstitch thread (which is thicker than regular thread, and used mostly on jeans), or you can do as i did, and use the triple stitch function on your machine (if it has one). I searched high and low and couldn’t find neon pink topstitch (ok fine, that’s not really a surprise is it? hehehe), but the triple stitch worked just as well – it takes a little longer, but it provides the same stability and makes the stitches look “thicker” so that they are a detail on the leather.

Now it looks like this :)

Next attach your sleeves as per the flat sleeve method detailed in the Briar instruction booklet

Finish off the rest of the top as per normal! (side seams, hemming & sleeve hem)

And you know, go off and enjoy your new amazingly awesome Briar!

Also wearing:

Top: Megan Nielsen, Briar tshirt (full length, short sleeves, band neckline & leather patches)
Skirt: Megan Nielsen
Shoes: Blowfish
Necklace: Merl Kinzie // Clydes RebirthΒ 

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  1. Sarah Hodgson says

    I really really want the Briar pattern. I have put it in the cart and gone to Paypal but it keeps saying the total is 20.00 AU. Even when I log into Paypal (which knows my address in Canada), it still doesn’t add shipping. I really want to order this but don’t want to mess the order up by not paying the appropriate shipping.

    I love this pattern!

    • MegMeg says

      Hi Sarah! I’m so sorry – it’s a really stupid cart system whereby the shipping is only added afterwards once you are sent back to my store from paypal. I’m working on fixing it – it’s turning out to be a real pain. I’m sorry for the confusion! But please don’t worry, you won’t accidentally do the wrong shipping – it’ll automatically go in correctly at the very end :)


  2. Alesha says

    Hey Meg, would you mind giving some hints for washing with the leather patch/s? I have put a leather pocket on my briar and don’t want to ruin it in the first wash!

    • MegMeg says

      Alesha that is a brilliant idea! I should definitely do a post about it.

      For now though if you want to wash your top – i normally wash anything with leather on it in the same way i was delicate fabrics like cashmere and silk etc. I either hand wash or use a very delicate cycle on my washing machine (when i had a top loader i always handwashed because it was so rough). Then let it air dry flat – never tumble dry. I’ve tumble dryed leather before with pretty disasterous results hehehehe. The reason i dry fly is to make sure the pocket keeps a good shape – i tried line drying a few times and it made the pocket a little “droopey”

      I hope that helps!!!

      (ps, your Briar sounds rad!! i love leather pockets!)