Handmade Wardrobe / Inspiration / MN2303 Briar / Sewalongs

Briar Variation: Leather elbow patches

Briar Variation: Leather Elbow Patches // Tutorial by the Megan Nielsen Blog

I really adore leather elbow patches – which is why it’s kind of weird that I’ve only done one project so far with elbow patches. Really weird. I thought that should be rectified during the sewalong. So Briar with elbow patches here we come!!

Ready, set, sew…

If you want to sew the patches on with your sewing machine, it’s best to do it before you sew up the sleeve. That way it’s nice and flat.

To keep it all in place, I used my favourite applique trick – Steam A Seam. It rocks. I cut the same size piece and basically fused the leather patch to the right spot with the iron (being careful to iron on the wrong side of the fabric, not on the leather).

Place your elbow patches a little off centre – you want them closer to the back of the sleeve than the front. Since our sleeve is symmetrical, just make sure that you make your sleeves mirror images (like in the picture above). How far down the sleeve you place them will depend on your proportions.

Then sew around 1/8″ from the edge all the way round. I recommend using topstitch thread and a leather needle – go for a longer stitch length than normal, and you’ll find the whole process easier. Do not skip the leather needle peeps. If you don’t have topstitch thread handy, you can do what I did – find the colour you want in your stash, then use the triple stitch function on your machine. It’ll go slow, but since you’re basically sewing each stitch 3 times, it’s sturdy and makes the thread stick out more.

Then construct the rest of the sweater as per usual!

Briar Variation: Leather Elbow Patches // Tutorial by the Megan Nielsen Blog

This would also work really well with fleece or sweatshirt fabric, or basically any cute scraps you have lying around. Hey, there’s an idea for using up those tiny scraps you can’t bear to get rid of!! (or am I the only hoarder of tiny pieces of fabric?!)


Don’t forget to tag your creations with #MNbriar and @megannielsenpatterns when sharing on social media, and check out what everyone else is up to!

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About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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11 years ago

This is great. I love elbow patches too! :) They’re such a sweet little touch that make any top feel extra special. What type of leather, as in weight, thickness do you suggest? I want something somewhat thin, so it molds nicely when I bend my arm, but I’m clueless about what to look for!

Dee Durrant
11 years ago

Can you wash the Briar with leather patches in the washing machine as normal or is it a case that it’d have to be hand washed or dry cleaned?


[…] THIS LOOK] Sweater: Briar sweater sewing pattern + leather patches tutorial Jeans: grown up knee patch jeans […]

11 years ago

I love leather as well! It makes everything look much more sophisticated and chic. I’m just a bit apprehensive because my thin leather scraps are sooo stretchy. I will definitely get some of that fusible iron on stuff.
Do you have any suggestions for sewing leather onto a thick wool knit pullover? You can’t really use that iron on trick there, can you? Would you recommend doing this bit and ironing it to a non stretchy backing?

Love from Germany,