Monday, November 17, 2014

Pattern Review: Ready to Go biker jacket

Pin It Today we have Sabra from Sew a Straight Line sharing an amazing boy project.  Who says you cannot sew cool things for boys????  She shared this jacket on Project Run and Play and I (Major Moma) just knew we had to have her share it here too.


Hi, I’m Sabra from Sew a Straight Line and I’m here to talk about the Ready to Go denim biker jacket by Ottobre Design.  The jacket pattern is found in issue 4/2014, pattern #40. 

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This pattern is for older kids, perfect for tweens, with a size range of 134-170 cm.  All of Ottobre patterns, a Finish pattern magazine, come in metric European sizing, which goes off the height of the child.  This took me some getting used to, when I first started sewing Ottobre patterns two years ago.  Now, I prefer it.  It is much more accurate and consistent than traditional US sizing.  It also means that I keep accurate measurements of my children up to date.  In my experience, 134cm is about a child’s size 7/8 in US sizing, with 170 being about a 16/18.  I sewed the biker jacket in a 152 for my 11 year old, who wears a child large or 12 in ready to wear.  The finished jacket fits him well.  It’s not super fitted on him, so he can layer clothing under it and use it as a functional jacket.  I’m very happy with the fit, and so is he. 

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Sewing a jacket can be expensive, and the Ready to Go requires quite a bit of hardware.  It needs the heavy-duty separating zipper for the front, plus four additional zippers for pockets and cuff details.  I wanted to keep things consistent, and durable, so went with metal outer-wear zippers for all five.  In addition to the zippers, the jacket uses 10 heavy-duty snaps as functioning closures and additional details.

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I was able to purchase all of my hardware at a big-box fabric store, using coupons.  Going the route I did, I probably spent close to $20 in just hardware.  You could likely use cheaper materials, but it might compromise the look and/or the durability of the finished jacket.

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The pattern calls for denim for the outer shell of the jacket.  I used outdoor canvas.  I had it on-hand, and after spending so much on hardware, thought I should try to save some money on fabric.  Plus, it was the exact color I wanted.  The canvas I used was intended for outdoor furniture and had been treated with waterproofing.  I thought this would be perfect for a jacket, and it has worked well.  Water beads on the jacket.  If using denim or other canvas, I’d look into waxing the material to make the jacket most-weather appropriate.  Plus, waxing just looks so cool!

For the lining, used a shiny synthetic that was in my stash.  I’m sorry, I don’t know what it is exactly.  It has no stretch, and is fairly thin.

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It worked quite well as lining.  The pattern also calls for a small amount of cotton for the pocket bags.  I just used the same fabric for the pockets as I did for the lining.

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This was a pretty intense sew.  There are 14 pattern pieces, ending with a total of 42 cut pieces to sew together! Plus, interfacing,the three zippers, and finishing with the 10 snaps.  Tons of topstitching, a full lining, and some new-to-me techniques made this a lengthy, and challenging project.  But I did enjoy it quite a bit, too.  I’d say this jacket is, at least, a Confident Intermediate sew.  Most of the sewing isn’t difficult, but there is a lot of it. 

The hardest part, for me, was attaching the lined cuffs to the lined sleeve.  I couldn’t figure it out by reading the instructions.  Ottobre is great with instructions, and very thorough, but they do not include illustrations of the process, usually.  The attaching of the cuffs was near the end of the marathon sewing of the jacket, and my brain just couldn’t process how to get things sewn together without exposed seams.  So I fudged and just sewed right sides together, leaving exposed seams at the top of the cuffs on the inside.

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I’m okay with it.  You can't tell from the outside at all, even when zipped fully open.

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But now that I have stepped back from the jacket, and it’s been a few weeks, I *think* I understand what Ottobre wanted me to do to keep things finished inside and out.  I’d recommend breaking the sewing of the jacket into a few days, and not trying to do it all in an afternoon like I did!

I also messed up at the hem in a couple of different ways.  I didn't keep things neat and pretty on the inside when attaching the waistband. No excuse for this, really.  I was just tired and wanted to finish, so sped through a step that I should have taken my time on; pinning, smoothing, and otherwise making sure things were done properly.

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 My other mistake was that, when I went to attach the waistband, couldn't understand why it was so long.  I had an extra few inches at the one end, hanging off the edge of the jacket.  I assumed I'd cut wrong, and lopped those extra inches right off.  If I had been smart, I would have consulted the line drawings of the pattern and seen that the waistband does, in fact, extend off the left side, crossing over onto the right, as a style effect.  I didn't discover my mistake until I went to install my snaps at the very end and realized I had lost that really cool bottom look.  Don’t lop off anything before double checking with the pattern!

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You can also see, from these pictures, that my stitching isn't great.  I ran out of topstitching thread part way through, but was in too much of a rush to go buy more.  So I tried, for a while, to do double stitching with regular thread.  But that got tedious and looked messy.  So then I just finished things with regular thread, which didn't sew very smoothly through the thick layers of canvas. 

Overall, the jacket is great.  I’m very happy with the end product, lopped off waistband and all.  It looks cool, fits well, and does not look homemade (unless you look closely at the ugly stitching in places).  The details in the jacket are fabulous, and so authentic.  The shoulders are padded and quilted,

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There is a hanging tab inside the collar of the neck, elbow darts, and then all that piecing and topstitching.  Real deal, so cool!  

I can't think of one thing I would change on this pattern.  The only issues I had, were ones where I made a mistake in spite of the instructions and the pattern.  The fit is great, it looks amazing, totally professional details and finishing, and you get exactly what you expect to get going in.  This is definitely not a pattern to rush into or through, and not for anyone new to sewing.  But if you have the patience, the time, and a good understanding of garment construction and techniques, I absolutely recommend the Ready to Go jacket. 

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I give it a full five bolts, for yielding a jacket just like the pictures promise, for walking you through all the steps (even those I tripped up on), a great size range with a fabulous fit, and for including so many professional details. Like, all the details.  You can see more pictures of the jacket, and the rest of the outfit I made to go with it using two other Ottobre patterns, on my blog, Sew a Straight Line


  1. That is a great jacket! I love the details Ottobre has on their patterns. It definitely makes you go that extra mile to have something that looks RTW.


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