Saturday, February 23, 2008

Leather Jacket, Pt 3. - zippers and other random thoughts

Moving right along, sort of.

Since I last reported in, I sewed the center back seam. Actually, I sewed it twice, because apparently the leather on one side was of a slightly different thickness than the other and stretched when I sewed, and all of a sudden I had a tail on one side that was over 1/2" longer than the other. I very carefully picked the stitches out, flipped the jacket over and slowly (turning the wheel by hand) re-sewed the bottom 2" of the seam, carefully guiding it so it didn't stretch again. I was glad to get that seam glued down. A few tiny stitch holes show on the right side, but I think they'll be on the hem anyway.

Last night I didn't get much opportunity to sew - despite the wretched weather, we had tickets to a local theater group's production of the Odyssey, and since I sew costumes for them sometimes, it's really bad form not to show up. Right before we left, I started putting in the separating zipper, and I did something this time that I didn't when I made this jacket in fabric form - I figured out that the way the way to make the zipper disappear into the facing seam is to curve it at the top. Last time I sewed it straight and I had to cut the zipper above the stop. It doesn't really show, but it bothers me. And it's one of those "duh" things not explained in any of my sewing books.

I got the left side of the zipper in and then had to leave. And during the entire performance - which I enjoyed - I was doing zipper insertion in my head. And then we went to the cast party afterward, and by the time we got home it was 11:00 p.m. Probably not the best time to start sewing, so I gave up and watched Bill Maher for an hour and went to sleep.

Got up early this morning and pinned the other half of the zipper and got it sewed before breakfast. I ended up using pins on the zipper instead of binder clips because any holes made by the pins won't show and I didn't want another stretching incident with the zipper. I've also been using my zipper foot for most of the straight sewing on this jacket because it gives me better visibility along the seam line.

After I dealt with the zipper, I sewed the side seams. I checked the fit again before I sewed, and I decided to take the sides in another 1/2" from what I did with the fabric jacket; seeing that leather does stretch a bit more with the heat of your body, I didn't want it to end up too big. Another thing with leather: when you clip your curves, you really have to clip them because of the gluing process. Normally I just cheat and take little nips along the seam, but since I have to glue these flat, actual clipping has to occur.

This jacket has an interesting way of handling the collar and facings - the whole collar is actually a part of the front pattern piece and after you sew the side seams you sew the center back collar seam together. Then the corners are clipped and you sew from the CB seam to the clipped corner, pivot, and sew along the shoulder seam. I taught my dress form a few new swear words the first time I did that little trick; can't wait to try it again. Once that bit of sewing gymastics is accomplished, I can sew the facing together and this thing will actually start looking like a jacket.

While the glue is drying on the CB neck seam and the side seams, maybe I'll go out out my lining fabric. I'm really looking forward to sewing lining to leather. That should be loads of fun. And I'm still working on how to flatten the hem and sleeve hems, because technically there should be some glue happening in there to keep the leather together, I'm just not sure if, after bagging the lining, I can get my hand down the sleeve to schmear cement into the hem. But I'll try.

So this is where we are now - zipper in, side and back seams done and glued, just waiting to sew the shoulder seams. All in all, I'm pretty happy with the jacket so far, and particularly happy that I've only had to pick out one seam.

1 comment:

Kat said...

Okay...I'm salivating while waiting to see the finished product. You go girl! This is going to be an awesome jacket!!