This is the second entry on my Brocade/Lambskin Biker-Style Jacket from the Burda December 2015 issue (design 12/2015 #108B). The first entry can be found here. For more information on this issue, please visit the Burda Style Back Issue Archive. The project itself was very, very intricate and time consuming. I documented it from beginning to end. In order to thoroughly address the project, I need to break it down into a multi-part series. This second article will focus on the assembly of the project.
I had last left off after cutting and interfacing the leather and fabric pieces. I will discuss the outer shell assembly and the lining assembly in two separate sections.
Putting together the outer shell
This project was a multimedia project, meaning it’s a mélange of fabric textures and techniques. The main body of the jacket is brocade, with lambskin accents. It has a biker jacket zipper closure, and mandarin styled collar. The sleeves additionally have zippers.
The first step of the assembly is to install the front closure zipper. Unless you are extremely lucky – you’re probably going to have to trim your zipper to fit the pattern.
- First, measure off of your pattern the zipper length required. Don’t go from the directions because any alterations or changes in seam allowances may affect the length of the zipper. You should check this both at the closing, zippered edge of the lapel, as well as the length at the front princess seam. Use the shorter measurement of the two.
- Use a metal zipper. A plastic zipper is more difficult, if not impossible, to cleanly alter. The metal zipper can easily be altered with pliers.
- A separating zipper cannot be altered by shortening at the bottom. It must be altered from the top opening. Use a pair of pliers and pluck the teeth out one by one until you get the proper length (plus some additional for seam allowance). The top stopperBecause this project uses a metal separating zipper, it’s not as simple as shorting it at one end. The separating piece cannot be adjusted, so your only option is to adjust from the top. For this I used some needle nosed pliers to pull the extra teeth and carefully remove and reinstall the zipper to the correct length.
After the zipper has been trimmed to the correct length, you will need to baste it in place (both lapel and princess seam). It is critical at this stage the you get the alignment correct, as well as leave enough seam allowance at the end of the zipper to ensure you can assemble the remaining pieces.
Once you’ve got the zipper basted in place, you will proceed to assemble the jacket body, starting with the front assembly (princess seams), followed by back assembly, then joining of the peplum.
Due to the use of the leather, there will be seams that cannot be pinned before sewing. This is especially tricky with the princess pieces. My seam allowances are also only ¼”, which makes precision joining much easier. For these pieces, I used seam tape to keep the pieces together, and then finished each seam with topstitching, using a 4.0 mm stitch about 3/8” from the seam, to give the garment a professional look.
The accent piece at the armhole is not pieced in … it is actually edge-stitched onto the body of the jacket. For this, I used an edge-stitch foot set to a very narrow edge to cleanly apply the leather. Someone in my household tossed out the pieces for the back trim (probably thinking they are scraps/trash), and so there are only accents on the front!
Once the bodice was put together, the collar and lapels needed to be assembled. The assembly order to assemble the mandarin collar and sew top edge in one continuous seam, catching the collar between the facing and outer shell. The order of the steps are:
- Assemble the collar. The collar pieces were sewn along the outer edge, clipped, turned and pressed flat with a tailor’s clapper. Topstitch, if desired.
- Sew upper collar edge in one continuous seam, from lapel corner to lapel corner
- Turn and carefully press. Understitch, then topstitch, if desired.
The assembly of the sleeves is fairly straight forward, with the exception of the zipper closure. The sleeve itself is a standard two-piece sleeve, but it has a zipper (about 6”) inside the sleeve, meaning that you will need to install the zipper before completing the sleeve. I cut a 5/8” seam allowance on this piece. For the zipper installation, you will only sew the center back seam up to the marking for the zipper, and then the remaining length will need to be sewn with a basting stitch. The zipper I used is one that I found on my trip to the LA Fashion District for my bi-annual re-stock of notions and supplies. They were about .50 each, but a little bit too long for this project, so I whip-stitched the teeth to the desired length, and then installed the zipper:
- Alter zipper to desired length
- Press seam open
- Baste zipper in place, leaving excess for hem and centering under seam
- Topstitch evenly around edge of zipper, about ¼” from seam
- Remove basting and check zipper function
Once you’ve installed the zipper, you will complete the sleeve and set it into the bodice
The final home stretch of the project is to assemble the lining and attach it. You will basically follow the same steps for the assembly of the lining shell, leaving openings in the sleeves for the zippers and openings for turning the jacket. For the zipper openings, I typically stay-stitch the seam allowance and then turn and press the edges in.
When attaching linings, I use the lazy “bagging” technique. This technique attaches the lining to the shell in one continuous seam, and then is turned out through an opening in one of the lining seams. For this project, I did this in two steps. I applied the lining to the facing first, using a narrow grosgrain ribbon for embellishment, and then under-stitched this seam. After attaching the facing, I sewed the lower peplum in one continuous seam, and then turned out. I carefully pressed this lower edge and then topstitched it.
When using the “bagging” technique, the sleeves can also be finished by machine – but it’s tricky. First, you’re going to push the lining through the sleeve, getting the lining and shell properly aligned. Once you’ve pinned the placement, pull the sleeve back through your lining hole and stitch the lining and sleeve end together, right sides together.
Now all that’s left is a small amount of hand stitching … stitch your sleeve lining to your zipper openings and close up the hole that you used to turn the jacket!
You’re done! Phew!
Now … how do you feel about making another one? Too soon, right?