Moto Bike Jacket: the finale

Oh man, it's done, and it's great. Wonderful, even. I learned so much about garment design making this jacket, and I have zero regrets that I decided to dive (more like cannonball) right into the deep end of the pool with this project. When I started this design, I was truly beginning at square one and I made so many mistakes, and changed my mind at least a dozen times. After I bought the fabric, I was worried that it would become the everlasting UFO in my project pile. But, NO! It helped to do a little bit at a time, and solve each problem as it came up, instead of being overwhelmed by the enormity of the project. I've been thinking a lot about this post from back in August. The value is definitely in the process, though I certainly don't mind having a killer end product to show for my efforts.

Let's talk the jacket itself. It is lined in the sleeves and the hood, with facings all around. The sleeves are in five (yes, five) pieces with chevron pleating on the lower half. The point of all these pieces? It allows for awesome stitching details, and it's an articulated sleeve. The sleeve shaping was a big deal since I plan to wear this jacket when I ride my bike and need to have full movement in my arms (seriously, who can stand a jacket that doesn't let you move your arms?). Each seam allows for more shaping in the sleeve, so I have plenty of room in the bicep/deltoid (swimmer shoulders) and the sleeve itself is bent at the elbow. This fabric is super thick and could easily bind up and be uncomfortable without all that secret shaping.

The fabric is designated as "Breatheable Waterproof", and is fleece bonded on the back side. I was warned that it would be like working with leather and would be really challenging, but once I got into it, it wasn't the fabric itself that made things difficult. Rather it was the vague roadmap that I had to work from instead of a set of tried-and-true instructions. That said, I'm really happy with the results, even if I had to unpick a few seams. What I learned after stitching a few samples is that the turn of cloth on this fabric is enormous. You lose around 3/16 of an inch for each fold. I was so shocked by this that I checked and rechecked at least a dozen times. If you're working with thick fabric, it's worth testing this in advance.

The bust and waist shaping are hidden in the seams at the ribs and the side seams. I love the way the front side panel changed shape after I put in all the darts. Before darts the edge that meets the center front panel was more or less a straight line, after darts it's really curvy. The pleating on the back side panel is just for show, all the shaping there is at the side seams. The theme of this jacket should be "secret shaping". It's everywhere, and it fits me perfectly.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't completely over the moon about how this turned out. Luckily for me the weather turned just in time for me to finish it and I won't have to wait to wear it. The truth is that in Oregon our rain jacket is our fashion for about nine months out of the year. I've always had things that were functional, but sedate, or maybe just un-special, and serviceable. But this...this one is special, if for no other reason than I made it. 

Read the whole story here.