Motorcycle Jacket Project - Part 2


August, where did you go?   I think it got sucked down a black hole of jacket sewing and 2nd birthday party planning.

I've been making great progress on the motorcycle jacket project, partly because I bought the original jacket and have been using it for construction details. After all my sewing is done I'll be returning the store bought jacket and wearing my own. :)

Speaking of construction details..... how about some photos of zippers sewn in leather?

First up, the inseam zipper pocket.  I'd never sewn a pocket like this before but "Threads" August/September article about sewing exposed zippers helped a bunch.

Inseam zippered pocket

My construction steps were as follows.

1. Sew seam together, leaving hole open for pocket area.  (Don't want unnecessary holes in the leather)
2. Cut miters on both ends of pocket area for the squared off top and bottom.
3. Topstitch wider line of stitching so that you have a slot in the leather to insert the zipper.
4.  Sew pocket bags to the zipper tape but do not join the bags.
5.  Place the zipper in the slot and topstitch again to attach it.  Don't get your pocket bags caught in the topstitching.  (This is where you might realize your machine doesn't like all this leather and zipper nonsense)
6. Sew pocket bags together and finish the edges.

Things I've learned the hard way,
1. Cutting down metal zippers is all well and good until you try to sew over the teeth and break your needle. Duh.
2. Double stick tape does not stick to zipper tape fabric.
3. My sewing machine doesn't do all the well with this sort of topstitching.

All this adds up to me having to handstitch that zipper in using the topstitching thread and the needle holes made by the sewing machine.  You can tell the thread tension is different, but it's better than ruining a bunch of leather.

The sleeve vents were a little easier since the zippers are inserted like a lapped zipper.  I only had to hand stitch the end because of the metal teeth.  There is a wedge shaped piece of leather behind the zipper, which increased the width of the sleeve hem.

Sleeve vent zipper
 Construction details on the sleeve vents.
1. Sew sleeve seam up to point where zipper will be inserted.
2. Fold back seam allowance on both sides and topstich close to edge.
3. Attach the piece of leather that goes behind the zipper to the zipper tape.  (I used pins here, GASP! In my defense it was the only time a pin was used.)
4. Place topstitched sleeve edges on top of zipper and topstitch a wider line of stitching to attach zipper.

The only thing left to do is finish attaching the lining to the leather shell.  I'm a big fan of bright linings so I used this silk crepe de chine roll end from  Mmmmm petty!


  1. Your jacket is great. This is such a big project, and it is inspiring to see it. It makes me want to sew a leather jacket....almost :)

    1. Thank JanaL.
      You never know, might find yourself sewing a leather jacket before you know it. :)


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