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Speeding Motorcycle Jacket

April 23, 2012

the road is ours

At long last, here’s my waxed canvas moto jacket, and I’m dang proud of it. I’ve been wearing it as much as possible over the past week, and even in the rain yesterday, which beaded right up! This, folks, this is one garment that just feels like me. For all the pretty little dresses I sew, I’m definitely a casual person. Very at home in jeans… obviously. I refuse to give up this pair, which only come out on special occasions these days. As in, the unveiling of a me-made jacket :) (This is one of two pairs I’ll be copying in the Jean-ius class, btw.)

Yeah, this is just me, inside and out. I am a little worried about using such a light-colored lining, but it can always be spot cleaned. As I type this, I remember now that I’d pondered treating the sheet with ScotchGuard. Whoopsy. I don’t want that junk against my skin, anyway.

I made a few changes to the muslin, which had already been altered from the tissue. Sandra Betzina gives lots of great tips in the instructions for this, so I slashed/spread a little for round shoulders on the muslin. With all the upper back ease, I don’t know how necessary that was. But it works. From there, I pinched out horizontally to bring up the armscye, adjusted the sleeve shoulder accordingly, lengthened the arm 1 1/8″, and took in quite a bit at the side seams & back band. That last bit was done after the fact, and next time I could grade all the back pieces a smidge. That said, there’s plenty of room above the waist for moving my arms about, which is key. The major change I made was to move the sleeve zips from the seam (near the back of the arm, in an awkward spot) to inside, by the thumb. This allowed me to install them exposed, and is so much better, in a utilitarian sense. I can now simply reach over and zip/unzip to my heart’s content. I stitched the lining with 1/2″ SA, versus 5/8″, to allow for movement.

Changes I should have made include adding a touch more room for the girls and shaving off the ease in the sleeve cap. Both issues weren’t very evident in the muslin, which had a little more give than the canvas. The sleeves aren’t set in perfectly, but after several rounds of unpicking/restitching, I didn’t want to keep piercing holes in the canvas. I also forgot my tag, and wish I had thought of adding a hanging loop to the inside neck. I could go back and add that in by hand. Again, the instructions are pretty fantastic, and this was a breeze overall to sew. Save for the sleeve lining, where I veered from the path and stitched by hand to the shell, tearing up my finger. Really need to find a thimble in the correct size!

Once I embraced the changes that were going to take place to the canvas during construction, this really came together easily. I love that it’s looking more broken in with every wear. And thanks to Amy, I’ve bookmarked a few businesses that provide re-waxing services, which I’ll need in the future.

I’d intended on finishing this for the Sew Weekly’s spring palette challenge. Then the VIP fabric challenge. Well, it’s done now. But in keeping with the Sew Weekly spirit, here are the facts. I often forget to post this info, and don’t really know if it’s interesting for readers. However, as a personal document, maybe I should be more consistent with it.

that collar isn't made for popping!

Fabric: waxed canvas, $45; thrifted bed sheet (lining), $1.25; black cotton (under collar, pocket, sleeve zip), stash

Pattern: Vogue 1198, Today’s Fit/Sandra Betzina, $27.50 retail, but I know I didn’t pay that. Maybe $7 after shipping.

Year: classic

Notions: non-roll elastic, 5 YKK Excella zips, cut to size, $44.90

Total price: ˜ $98.15 Which I suppose should make me cringe, but a) Crafty Foxes get a discount at Grey’s, where I bought the canvas :) and b) retail for waxed canvas moto jackets starts at five times that price tag.

hangin' tough? more like silly duckface goofball.

“let’s go! let’s go! let’s go! let’s go! let’s go! let’s go! let’s go!”

78 Comments leave one →
  1. April 23, 2012 12:21 pm

    What a lovely jacket.
    I dont think its a look I could pull off but it looks lovely on you. And I love that the lining is so bright :D

    • April 29, 2012 6:43 pm

      Gotta have some color in there, even if I’m the only one who sees it :)

  2. misscrayolacreepy permalink
    April 23, 2012 12:25 pm

    This is one of the coolest jackets I have seen. That is the perfect gray color and I love the lining fabric you chose. You’re stylin, girl!

    • April 29, 2012 6:43 pm

      Thanks, mama! At first I was sad to see the grey lighten with wear, but I’m really digging it. The weather cooled again, and the breeze just passes right over me!

  3. twosheep permalink
    April 23, 2012 12:36 pm

    Wow! This looks fab!

    Re the waxing – have you heard of Otter Wax? Maybe this will help maintain the jacket with time. (http://www.otterwax.com/waxing-denim-jeans/) NAYY, I never even heard of waxed denim until a few months ago and have never tried this product.

    • April 29, 2012 6:41 pm

      Thanks! I’m adding that to my list of resources :) The name is really familiar, and will give it a try on a dop kit first.

  4. April 23, 2012 12:38 pm

    This is pretty badass dude. Loves.

  5. April 23, 2012 12:45 pm

    FANTASTIC jacket you got there! I love the popped collar :D

  6. April 23, 2012 1:36 pm

    Uh-mazing. Truly. And also a little bit badass ;)

    • April 29, 2012 6:46 pm

      Hehe! Thanks :) Maybe I’m gaining my edge (to abuse LCD Soundsystem)?

  7. April 23, 2012 2:09 pm

    That is fantastic. Well done for hanging in there and making it fit you so well! You should be very proud!

    • April 29, 2012 6:47 pm

      Thank you :) I’d love to make another version in leather, and edit out the back elastic for a sleeker look.

  8. April 23, 2012 2:27 pm

    It’s wonderful! Ah, to think I was there when the fabric was just being purchased… I feel like a proud aunt :) Simply amazing construction.

    • April 29, 2012 6:49 pm

      You totally get proud auntie status, and can babysit any time. Nevermind that… let’s go get adult beverages. This is one kid that can cozy up to a bar ;)

  9. April 23, 2012 2:48 pm

    What a fantastic jacket, really stylish.

  10. April 23, 2012 2:50 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but I love this jacket so much I just have to say I LOVE THIS JACKET SO MUCH. It’s beautiful! Original! Useful! All of the things I aim for when making a garment, but it’s so rare to achieve all three at once.

    • April 29, 2012 6:52 pm

      Oh, that’s such an awesome compliment! Thank you. I’m trying to make more useful things (wearable in my lifestyle) that are still stylish, and this is the first thing I’ve made in a while where it clicked a little. You rock!!

  11. April 23, 2012 3:22 pm

    Wow! You should be so flipping period of yourself. This jacket is pure awesome

    • April 29, 2012 6:54 pm

      Danke :) Now if I had a patch that said “pure awesome”!

  12. April 23, 2012 4:06 pm

    Love it so much. You’d best be wearing it to Foxes this week, Madame!

    • April 29, 2012 6:56 pm

      I totally love this canvas, Sarah! Must make a dop kit, a weekender, hell a fanny pack. Okay, no fanny pack.

  13. April 23, 2012 4:15 pm

    I wouldn’t blink an eye at the price to make this jacket, considering what a RTW would cost. Plus it’s such a classic style!

    • April 29, 2012 6:59 pm

      Very true! I’ve been in stash-busting/upcycling mode lately, but relative to RTW, total bargain!

  14. April 23, 2012 4:56 pm

    Fantastic! I was excited to see this. I love that it’s made out of waxed fabric. I’ve been eyeing the Larissa jacket pattern on Burdastyle for a while now. I’ll have to check out this one.

    • April 29, 2012 7:01 pm

      You know, I was half done with this when they featured the Larissa recently, and I got a little sad. There are elements to that pattern that I definitely prefer over this one. But Betzina’s instructions are brilliant (unlike Burda), and I’d love to play with some mods in the future to combine some of their features. Definitely snatch this up if you see it, especially on sale!

  15. April 23, 2012 6:07 pm

    Sploosh! Step back Belstaff! Sons of Anarchy! What, what! You made that? And the lining! Spin around, spin around! (just putting up some of the comments I’m sure you’ll get on the street so you’re mentally prepared for all the varied levels of ‘attention’ you are sure to get; the last one will probably be restricted to people who sew). Fantastic jacket and the photo shoot is really rocking too. BTW this is the coolest thing you’ve ever made. Your dresses are great but as a motorbike fan I hands down vote this one up. +1, Like, and whatever else the kids are doing now…

    • April 29, 2012 7:04 pm

      Hey mama, wanna go for a spin? You sure know how to sweet talk a girl! Seriously, it’s time for me to stop making so many dresses.

  16. April 23, 2012 6:43 pm

    As I looked at the pictures all I could think was, “Aw,hell yeah!”……..I love the collar, oh this is a winner, baby.

    • April 29, 2012 7:06 pm

      It’s like a little cocoon, or a bird’s nest that I can snuggle into when the wind picks up! Or, you know, just peer out of with a severely nonchalant gaze, refusing to make eye contact with those around me.

  17. April 23, 2012 7:25 pm

    I don’t even know where to begin in telling you how amazing this jacket is! Fantastic sewing and I can tell it’s going to get a lot of use!

    • April 29, 2012 7:07 pm

      You are a fantastic seamster, so I’m gonna take this and run with it :)

  18. jmmcrowe@yahoo.com permalink
    April 23, 2012 7:35 pm

    Great jacket! I have a jacket almost identical in style although a bit more on the brownish color and instead of elastic it has a belt. And I love the lining too – it adds happiness to the plain outside color. Btw – your big sis has a great candy-apple red motorcycle you should ride while wearing that hot jacket!

    • April 29, 2012 7:08 pm

      I totally remember that jacket!!! In fact, I wanted it so badly when I was a kid. It has a leopard print lining, right?! Only I wish it were leather… it’s more like a raincoat material, no?

  19. April 23, 2012 9:07 pm

    OMG, that is the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time. Love the fact that it’s waxed canvas, by the end of the year it is going to look so freaking aged and cool! Looks fab on you too, which of course is the coolest thing about it, right?

    • April 29, 2012 7:09 pm

      Aw, thanks! I’m digging all the wrinkles that are showing up already :) I want to make my own Filson weekender now!

  20. April 24, 2012 6:21 am

    wow – that is a great jacket! I love it – have to look into the pattern as i have been thinking about getting a biker jacket but didn’t want to spring for a leather one and the faux ones can look a bit cheap. great jeans too!

    • April 29, 2012 7:11 pm

      I highly recommend this pattern, if only for the detailed instructions on sewing leather/shearling, and the fit mods included. Def keep an eye out for it!

  21. Gail permalink
    April 24, 2012 6:25 am

    Super nice jacket. I’ve never heard of waxed canvas but it looks quite firm and a little like faux suede.

    • April 29, 2012 7:13 pm

      It’s great because it’s waterproof and rugged, and will start forming to my body with time. And my machine, which doesn’t like thick layers, handled it really nicely. Welcome surprise there!

  22. April 24, 2012 7:34 am

    Gorgeous jacket! I really does feel like it’s perfect on you! Congrats on the sewing, it looks flawless.

    • April 29, 2012 7:14 pm

      Thanks! I totally should have used proper topstitching thread… why do I always forget to keep that on hand? But hopefully it will be okay!

  23. April 24, 2012 9:32 am

    this looks incredible! Congratulations! I’m so sure this will get a lot of wear!

  24. April 24, 2012 12:15 pm

    This is straight up pimp. Go ahead and brush your shoulders off, because this is amazing. I love this. SO kick-ass. You should go join a biker gang right now, they will hail you as their leader and follow you fabric shopping and yogurt making across the country.

    • April 29, 2012 7:21 pm

      Only if you join as MC, Master of the Clovers. We can embroider Culture Club on the backs of the jackets, and give out yogurt starters to one and all. Anyone who messes shall be cursed with the worst combination of pants crotch length and depth for the rest of their sorry lives. Where’s Ginger? That red-helmeted redhead needs to join up and leave her scooter in the slow lane.

  25. April 24, 2012 4:05 pm

    Incredible job! The cut, the style, everything looks fantastic on you! Well done! :)

  26. April 24, 2012 5:03 pm

    INCREDIBLE!! I love everything about it!! All of your hardwork definitely paid off, Lav!

    • April 29, 2012 7:23 pm

      Thanks, Nettie!!! I feel almost cool enough for Brooklyn. (Is that even possible?)

      • April 29, 2012 9:58 pm

        You were ALREADY cool enough for my hood!! That jacket just means you’ll be better dressed than some of us ;o)

  27. April 24, 2012 5:15 pm

    if this was in person i would be cursing at the sheer brilliantness of your jacket, I love it, well done :-)
    also deadly that the wax is gonna crease and mark with wear specific to you, you should consider getting denim that does that when you recreate your jeans – like nudies do!

    • April 29, 2012 7:31 pm

      I just looked at the Nudie site… amazing jeans! I’ve been having trouble trying to find good denim. It’s impossible to judge online, and the limited shops that carry denim near me have a really blah selection. If you have any sources, I’d love to hear!!!

  28. April 24, 2012 9:06 pm

    I love the effect of the waxed cotton. Brilliant!

  29. April 25, 2012 12:52 am

    What a jacket! Both functional and stylish. You look fantastic in it. Bravo!

    • April 29, 2012 7:33 pm

      Thanks, Amy :) Trying to get back to both function and style in my sewing choices.

  30. April 25, 2012 10:01 am

    AHHHH!!!! I love this jacket. It’s pretty fabulous, Lav. I would wear it, like, everyday.

    • April 29, 2012 7:35 pm

      Um, I kinda am. I was so happy when it cooled off again (we had a few days of 80s), just so I had an excuse to rock this!

  31. April 25, 2012 4:17 pm

    WHOOOO HOOOO!!! Awesome!! Brilliant! Incredible! I love it! I especially love the back; those gathers are so flattering and sexy; just fabulous! *hi fives* :D

    • April 29, 2012 7:38 pm

      Oh, I’m glad you approve of the gathers! That’s the one design element of the pattern that I was iffy about, especially when I started browsing around looking at actual examples. I’d like to make a leather version that slims down those back pieces, and turns the gathered elastic belt to a pieced in horizontal panel… just for a more streamlined look.

  32. April 25, 2012 8:12 pm

    Utterly fabulous jacket. Well done.

  33. twilltapetiffany permalink
    April 26, 2012 1:57 am

    Bad. Ass.

    Seriously, it’s gorgeous! Nice work Lavender.

  34. April 26, 2012 10:55 am

    Oh. My. GAH. This is FAB!! Who knew that waxed canvas could be sexy?! I LOVE this– GREAT job! You look cooler than Steve McQueen in this… and that is pretty damn cool…

    • April 29, 2012 7:43 pm

      I don’t even think that’s possible! BTW, you, me and Franqui are starting a motorcycle/yogurt gang. Get recruits. (Ack! I thought your helmet was red. Whatevs, your ride is red.)

  35. April 29, 2012 12:51 pm

    woah that jacket is am-mazing!!!

  36. April 29, 2012 9:43 pm

    Oh dear, I’ve been MIA on the interwebs this week and look what I missed! This is pretty damn awesome. Well done! And that price is nothing compared to what a good jacket costs. You seem like a Triumph rider (am I right? wrong?). And I love all those shadows and the chain link fence.

    • April 30, 2012 3:17 pm

      Oh man, a Triumph would be such a sweet ride! I had a crush on a black Ducati Monster a few years back, but a Bonneville… swoon!

  37. October 16, 2012 2:12 am

    i have been admiring your jacket for a while, but it wasn’t until i started researching my own coat that i realized you made this out of waxed cotton/canvas. as far as my research goes, you seem to be the only person on the internets who has sewn with waxed canvas. mine just came in the mail, and i’m a little worried–how to sew it, how to care for it, how to make clean it. any tips, tricks and advice? thanks!!

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