As regular readers will know, I blog once a month for Minerva Crafts Blogger Network. Whilst this sounds like - and is - a great opportunity to try out new fabrics and patterns, it can sometimes be hard to come up with ideas for something a little bit different to inspire you all.

Minerva stock more and more Sewing Patterns by Independent Designers and the one I chose for this month was The Jordan Jacket by Serendipity Studio Patterns. It's basically a denim jacket, style wise, so nothing new there, BUT.....when I saw this Faux Leather Fabric, I knew it could be something quite special.

A pearlescent, sequinned leatherette - how's that as a way to bling up a utility jacket?!

The 'sequins' are also leatherette and are sewn on with invisible thread rather than glued on, which means they won't fall off randomly.

The reverse shows how the organza backing acts as a kind of lining to the fabric which, as denim jackets are never lined, would be a bit of a bonus.

I really like the hand sketched illustrations, too.

Of course, by now I had already fallen in love with this fabric, but I knew it would present one heck of a challenge and more than a few problems if I went with it. So, obviously, I ordered it :)

Problem/Challenge No. 1 - You can't use pins with leatherette as the pin holes will be there to stay.

Resolution - Use pattern weights to anchor the pattern pieces to the fabric for cutting out. Or, in my case, the weights from my kitchen scales. (Yes, I really DO use proper scales in my kitchen).

Challenge No.2 - Cutting through a double layer of leatherette means also cutting through a double layer of sequins which is tough on your hands.

Resolution - Wear plasters to prevent blisters caused by scissors. 

I didn't.

Challenge. No.3 - Back to the 'no pins' thing again.

Resolution - Use Quilting Clips to hold your pieces together as you sew.

Challenge No.4 - All those sequins on already thick fabric would be too bulky on the smaller components like pocket flaps.

Resolution - Cut these parts from the plain fabric at the selvedges.

So, potential problems recognised and dealt with, the sewing could begin.

Two rows of top stitching are employed on virtually every single piece of the jacket, which throws up.....

Challenge No.5 - You can't iron leatherette.

Resolution - Two rows of top stitching!!

Oh, and another....

Challenge No.6 - Leatherette sticks to your normal sewing machine pressed foot

Resolution - Use a teflon coated foot for smooth feeding of the fabric

Can you see where I'm going with this?

Basically, this combination of fabric with this pattern keeps you on your toes, giving your brain quite the workout every step of the way.....and I loved it!

This kind of dressmaking is exactly why I love sewing. There's nothing easy about it at all, which makes it all the more satisfying when you get it right.

And get it right I did - BOOM!

Anyone who has ever inserted welt pockets will know how fiddly they can be.

Try making them from a thick leatherette without being able to iron them in place at all - and no pins!

No, really - TRY it! It's a brilliant affirmation of your skills or a fantastic way to learn new ones.

The only slight issue is that you can't just remove rogue sequins or they'll all unravel, so you're left with a few in slightly odd places.

But look at that - a perfectly acceptable welt pocket. Well, two, actually, 'cos you have to do it all over again on the other side, but don't worry, you're an expert now.

Top flap pockets done, welt pockets done and so far, so good.

Now on to the collar and I couldn't find a way around the pin issue but, as the inside of the collar would be next to my neck, I decided a few pin holes would be hidden from view.

More top stitching makes up for the lack of an iron and we have a lovely, crisp-looking collar.

The points are nice and even and 'pointy'.

Another potential frustration was inserting the sleeves. Normally, the sleevehead is pinned into the armhole and a row of gathering stitches are pulled up to 'ease' the head in place.

No pins, no gathering.

The trick is to have the excess fabric on the underside when sewing, and stretch the top fabric over it, thereby creating a smooth and tuck-free shoulder....

....just like this!

Again, the placket and cuffs require a bit of dexterity to get right without pins or an iron, but it is entirely possible - and a LOT of fun.

The bottom band goes on the same way as the cuffs, but I used a few pins to start with before having the confidence to ditch them and do it by hand as I went.

I did a couple of test buttonholes on some scrap fabric before moving on to the real thing, as they would have been a disaster to get wrong.

All ten buttonholes worked a treat first time.

I wanted some jeans-style metal buttons, but in a more glamorous colour and searched in vain. I finally settled on these metal ones with a pearly centre.

I think they're a good match with the pearlescent leatherette.

Finally, all finished and I must admit to thinking that The Gods were with me on this one. There were so many potential issues that could all have gone badly, yet it turned out perfectly without a single hitch.

I thoroughly enjoyed doing some proper sewing on what was a challenge from start to finish and, if you're that kind of masochist, too, this is the project for you!

The pleasure in getting all the details just right with just your fingers and a sewing machine as tools is unquestionably an absolute delight, and what dressmaking is all about.

Classic styling with panels, a separate yoke and lots of top stitching.

The pearly fabric shimmers in the light.

Traditionally, this type of jacket is unlined.

I took a couple of selfies in the mirror to start with.

Then hubby stepped in and agreed to snap a few.

Just in case I haven't made it clear (!) - I love everything about this jacket, but it is the fabric that makes it special. 

Take a classic style and add some spectacular sequinned leatherette and the humble denim jacket is taken into another league. I can see myself wearing this over a dress for the evening or with skyscraper heels to dress up a pair of jeans.

A word of caution though, make it a size larger than your measurements dictate as there is practically nothing in the way of wearing ease and I can barely do it up over my bust (I made a 'medium'). Should be just the incentive I need to lose half a stone for the Summer......