Things You'll Need
- Fabric, about 3 yards
- Sketch pad
- Colored pencils or markers
- Paper pattern
- Sewing machine
Motorcycle jackets have evolved in different styles and silhouettes over the years. With the bad-boy influence crossing over and injecting itself onto designer's sketches, the runway has seen an influx of motorcycle jacket variations. Select fabrics that inspire your creativity and create your own motorcycle jacket to express your own style and vision.
Draft some rough sketches. Start with the basic motorcycle jacket design to study the original silhouette, seams and construction. Some jackets have heavy brass zippers which are part of the motorcycle design and do not function only as closures. Take note of your jacket's finished length. This will influence the overall design. You can opt to design a contoured, waist-length jacket with padded shoulders or a cruiser with a crossover zipper front placket, biker collar with fold-over flap for wind resistance, a cinched waist and leather braided trim at the sleeves. Be imaginative, and use your colored pencils or markers. The color visual will allow you to create more freely.
Select the style, theme or activity for the jacket. For example, if you are designing a riding jacket, your sketches will include a durable, heavy leather, lining, padding and embroidered patches or dramatic trims and brass zippers. If your jacket is for casual wear, you can opt to use a different fabric such as canvas, twill or denim and let the motorcycle style influence the design. You can also incorporate your motorcycle silhouette into a snowboarding or ski gear jacket. Use a heavy nylon shell, ventilated fabrics, reflective stripe tapings, protective padding and removable spine pads and protectors.
Cut different swatches and review your original sketch. Work with a variety of swatches. The motorcycle jacket is a complex style with room to mix different fabrics, linings and trims. Setting your swatches on a clear work surface and forming different combinations will benefit you prior to making your fabric purchase or cutting paper patterns. Have your trims available when you are developing your combinations, including thread colors. This is essential, especially if you are working in leather. You will need leather needles and leather crafting supplies. Since most fabric shops will not cut leather fabric swatches, inquire about swatch cards. Some shops will sell the cards for a few dollars. It is worth the expense prior to purchasing the leather hides or skins.
Select your trims. Classic motorcycle jackets have embroidered patches or intricate and elaborate leather-stamped artwork. Heavy brass zippers can be changed to accommodate a design which uses softer based fabrics. If you are working in leather, incorporate trims such as leather braids, embossed patches, snaps, grommets and leather fringe.
- "The Art and Craft of Leather: Leatherworking Tools and Techniques Explained in Detail"; Maria Teresa Llado i Riba and Eva Pascual Miro; 2008
- "Leatherwork: A Manual of Techniques"; Geoffrey West; 2005
- "Motorcycle Jackets: A Century of Leather Design"; Rin Tanaka; Tomohito Yamanishi; 2006
Mercedes Valladares is the founder of M721Organics and has been an independent designer for over 15 years. Her work experience commenced during college with manufacturers based in New York and Hong Kong. Her education includes LIM College, International Fine Arts College and design certification from the Paris Fashion Institute. She produces eco-crafting videos and writes recycling articles online.