Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bicycle Rain Cape

I bike to work every day and with fall approaching I need some decent rainwear. Sure, I could use my rain pants and jacket but don´t you think that this cape is much fancier??
The fabric is waterproof and breathable, reflective piping is enclosed in the front and back sleeve seams, the seams are sealed with seamtape and the coat is fully lined with mesh fabric. The pattern is self drafted. I used my rain jacket as reference for the upper part and took some inspiration from Helene Clément. The lower back piece is longer to ensure protection when I´m sitting on the bicycle. It´s pretty wide in order to leave enough room for movement. No extra seams or darts, the side seams and the elastic band in the back provide all the shaping. I didn´t add a hood since I have a waterproof rain cover for my helmet. My shoes will be covered by these fancy gaiters:-) The sleeves are very long and have openings for the thumbs:
The back view:
The collar seam is covered by the small band for waterproofness (the small band is only sewed to the outer layer of the collar and this seam is sealed on the inside of the collar):
 The interior: mesh lining

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Leather Jacket

I wanted to sew a leather jacket since I discovered Rick Owen´s jackets around 2006 or so. I started looking for leather coats in thrift stores since I didn´t want to buy new leather for several reasons: I was after a used look, it´s more sustainable to reuse leather instead of buying new and I wanted the constraint of limited "fabric" influencing the design. It wasn´t that easy but finally, in April 2010, I found a simple men´s leather coat in a really nice quality at Goodwill in SF for just USD 31.99 (I still have the price tag - it says "vintage/better"). The coat was quite huge and most importantly, it didn´t have a lot of seams, so after deconstruction, I had rather big pieces to cut my jacket from. I decided to use the original pockets of the coat for the jacket and design it from there. I used a tried and trusted pattern (the same that I used here and in one other jacket that I didn´t blog about) and shifted the seams to make it work with the pieces I had on hand. I shortened the back for about 5 cm so the jacket would be slightly shorter in the back than in the front and I changed the front and collar quite a bit. I made a quick muslin to check if all the adjustments worked. Sewing the leather jacket was pretty straight forward. My machine handled the leather very well (I didn´t even buy a Teflon foot that is often recommended for sewing leather; however, I used leather needles).´ Only two accidents happened: the front darts are not at the same angle since I didn´t pay enough attention to the clipped marks that I had made, but at least they point to the same height. And in the back, I topstitched both seams to the same side instead of opposite sides. I guess it´s not very obvious but I was a bit shocked that after all these years of sewing, mistakes like this happened to me, especially with a material that allows no seam ripping. After these incidents, I took it much slower and over the course of four weekends, the jacket was finished. The lining is a cotton print that I bought in Portland, OR, for the sleeves, I used some poly lining remnants.
I am totally in love with the finished jacket! In the end, it´s not really a Rick Owens knock-off but it´s certainly inspired by his designs. Of course, it features an exposed riri-zip as many of my designs do and also has some biker jacket elements like the crossed front, the sleeve zips and the snaps. It´s a perfect addition to my wardrobe and will be a very welcome alternative to my biker babe jacket that still gets a lot of wear.