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!

Girly Print Meets Leather

When I shop for fabric during the Spring and Summer, I’m always drawn to the colorful prints. I have a hard time giving in to their allure though, because when I wear them, I feel too sweet.

But when I saw the Cotton and Steel prints this season at Fabric Depot, I had to indulge. To balance out the look, I decided to mix things up a bit, pairing the printed shirt with an edgier skirt with leather detailing and a zipper. Wearing a bit of leather and metal keeps me from feeling too…Girly. Obviously, I have issues!
The shirt:
The fabric I picked is a cotton lawn print, designed by Rashida Coleman Hale, her Mochifloral Teal.The colors are very ‘me’ so I nabbed a couple of yards for Simplicity 1422, a shirt with tabbed roll-up sleeves.
Simplicity 1422 is a great shirt pattern, with interesting variations in length and style. It was super-easy to put together, in spite of the fact that it has a collar, and tabs on the sleeves. You can sew it in an afternoon for a good dose of instant gratification. The cotton lawn is a dream to work with, easy to manipulate and press.
The skirt
To give the outfit a bit of contrast, I paired it with a brown, leather- trimmed zippered skirt made from Simplicity 1322.
It’s a mock wrap slim skirt. The fabric is a stable Ponte knit, that I bought so long ago, I have no idea where :). I modified the waist band of the skirt, narrowing it a bit since I have the stubborn (but perhaps inaccurate?) notion that narrow waist bands are more flattering on me.
For the side slit, I trimmed the opening with leather (Fabric Depot), then added a full length zipper, rather than the short one pictured on the pattern envelope. I did this, well, just because!
This skirt pattern is super easy with many variations. I’ll use it again and again. I’ll make the shirt again too, maybe in a longer length.
All in all, a fun project and both patterns are keepers!
What do you think about Spring prints? Too sweet or you can’t live without them?