Going Moto: How many zippers does it take?


How many zippers does it take to call a jacket, ‘moto’? My version has only three zippers. If I gifted it to a biker chick, would she look happy, or mortified?

These are the important questions I asked myself as I finished this cropped jacket. Perhaps three zippers is just not enough. After all, more zippers means more edge – – all those teeth – – all that metal! I’m guessing most biker chicks would look at a three zippered jacket and laugh.  Still, I’m calling my look, ‘moto’. It’s got more zippers than anything else I own.

Zipper one….


Zippers two and three…


As you can see by the intense look on my face, I am freakishly serious about these zippers (?!). I made this little jacket because I’ve been yearning for layers. The weather here is just cold enough in the early morning to force the ‘coat or no coat’ issue, so I decided to make a cozy, cropped jacket with some color to throw on with jeans, skirts, even a dress. And, since one of my unfulfilled dreams is to be accused of being ‘edgy’, I used the extra zippers in my notions stash to try to give my jacket a bit of a ‘moto’ look.

It was easy to find inspiration for my jacket. This fall, fashion designers are giving us yet another chance to channel our inner rocker with lots of versions of ‘moto’. Here’s a painted version by Tibi.
Here’s an interesting take on the look, a lace version by Christopher Kane.
 Here’s my ‘three zippered’ look.
For my ‘moto’ inspired jacket, I used a red ponte I had in my stash (yahoo!), and leather trim left over from my moto skirt I made last year. The pattern I chose was Butterick 5958, a fitted lined jacket with princess seams and a side front exposed zipper. It didn’t have zippers on the sleeves, but the shape was perfect so I went for it anyway. I didn’t have a lot of fabric, so I chose to make the collarless version. 5958
The ponte was easy to work with, and the front zipper went in easily. I trimmed the front opening with a piece of black leather to give it a bit of a ‘pop’ (I love black and red together!). The pattern was easy to follow.
When it came to the zippers at the cuff, I ad-libbed a bit by inserting seven inch ‘sport’ zippers at the seams. In order to figure out where to place the zippers, I had to first determine the perfect length for the sleeve and the depth of the sleeve’s hem, so that the zipper opening would be placed at the wrist. This meant I had to put the sleeve into the jacket before inserting the zippers, so that I could judge the length correctly. As a result, I had the entire jacket to move around my machine as I inserted the zippers into the sleeves. Total nightmare!
 Okay, it would have been MUCH easier to have inserted the zippers before the sleeve was in. I think (?) I should’ve just measured my arm length vs. the sleeve length and then, just gone for it (?). But I was too chicken. If I’d made the pattern before (or a muslin version but I didn’t – – I’m my own worst enemy!), I could’ve avoided this cumbersome step. But alas, I did none of those things, so I tortured myself. The sleeve zippers turned out okay, but I wouldn’t recommend my messed up process to anyone!
I like the jacket and know I’ll get a lot of wear out of it. If I had to do it again (and I just might make another with leather, or denim or something for a edgier look.  Hope Springs Eternal!), I’ll add pockets and zippers there too, maybe go with the collared version of the pattern, and add some metal snaps to jazz things up a bit. I might also check out some other patterns. I know Linda, at Nice dress, Thanks I made it, sewed a cool moto jacket (see it here!) with zillions of zippers that turned out so cute.
Red seems to be one of my ‘fall’ colors this year. I suspect that in a few weeks, my jacket will coordinate with the color of the leaves outside!
If anyone has a moto jacket pattern to recommend, give a shout. Happy sewing, and thanks for stopping by!