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.


  1. Wow, your jacket looks totally amazing! Congratulations on a supremely successful re-fashion :)

  2. Wow, that jacket looks so great. What an awesome transformation! It would be my fav piece...

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