How to kick the B6169 Moto Jacket up a notch

IMG_1210I have a lengthy story about the 3rd challenge of the PR Sewing Bee – A Lined Jacket in 10 days! but let me cut to the Cliff’s notes.

I was totally intimidated by the challenge and time constraint, so I thought it would be wise to make a pattern I already knew and loved, the Butterick 6169 moto jacket. But I second guessed myself when I realized so many contestants were making moto jackets. So I chose another pattern and totally constructed an amazingly difficult wool jacket with bound button holes, then hated it as soon as I put it on. I went back to my original plan of the B6169 with 3 days left and decided to just kick it up a notch.

IMG_1193Plaid is everywhere this fall, and so I was especially ready to use this beautiful soft wool blend that I had been saving, but I only had 1 and 1/4 yards. So, bring on the leather and mix it all together with some fit adjustments and new techniques.

IMG_1180I’ve been terrified of matching plaids for years. You must make sure it is perfect before you cut it out. And cutting is so final! When it came right down to it, I did actually have fun with it, like putting together a puzzle, once I got my pattern pieces marked and I thought to turn the front and back on the bias. My side front, upper sleeve, and side back were the pieces I matched and I’m pleased with how they turned out.

IMG_1247A note for all of us to remember — Wine is a great idea lubricator and helped me in my late night creative planning process. It is not, however, helpful when trying to determine if your plaid is balanced or not. I thought it was balanced, but realized in the full light of morning that it actually wasn’t quite. And this accident lead to the leather strip down the back! Since my back pieces didn’t seam into perfect chevrons, the addition of the leather piece and a little pleat ended up being my favorite part of the jacket.

Alterations this time: I went down another size (2 sizes down from my measured size) shortened the sleeves, took out sleeve head ease and cut down the neckline by 3/4 an inch.

IMG_1201And of course I added lined sleeve zipper vents, which I claim is a new to me technique because, even though I put zippers into the seams of my tweed pants, these vents are lined and I used a facing. And it was darn tricky. You know – those wouldn’t have been so tricky if I had a pattern. But not only was it the first time I tried it, but I was winging the facing pattern. You don’t know what to watch out for before you’ve gone through the process at least once. I now know to make your facing plenty wide so it is easier to turn. And lay your zipper in before you sew it in to check for length. I almost ran out of zipper.

IMG_1269The lining is a special piece that I got from a sewing meet-up at Amy’s house from Sew Well. I’m glad I used a piece of Seattle in my jacket as I’ve been a bit homesick (for the people, not the weather!) and I know that Jennifer from My Sewing Suite has the other half of this fabric and I can think of her and my Seattle Sewing Peeps when I wear it.

IMG_1216The jacket really was kicked up a notch, even over my bright floral one. This one is more designed and very me! It fits well and I know I will be wearing it a lot when it finally dips below 80 degrees here. That is something to look forward to, certainly!



Dye and Smock the Butterick 6169

IMG_1121Another week, another Pattern Review Sewing Bee project! This week’s challenge was HARD. What made it harder is that they gave us 10 days for the challenge, meaning I could hem and haw for a looooong time before committing to a technique. I tried lots of different things. I tried a very challenging pattern, but had fit issues. I tried a cool embroidery technique, but that didn’t go anywhere. Finally I had to make up my mind and I decided to dye my fabric and add detail with smocking. Continue reading

Just a little floral, quilted, and a shiny gold zipper Moto!

B6169 AJust a little understated piece I whipped up in an afternoon…just kidding! It is loud and proud and took 3 out of the 6 weeks of the PR contest to complete. My first lined, bagged jacket! I am walking around like a peacock in this!

B6169 PocketThe floral fabric is from Jo-Ann’s, a stretch woven that is fairly thin. I bought it with pants in mind, so I only got a yard and a half. I made it work by adding white quilted sleeves, which I hope toned down the LOUD floral and added a bit of texture. That quilted fabric was a thrift store find. Zipper from a Wawak zipper grab bag that was the best kind of surprise. Now I own 24 more lovely jacket zippers of all different colors and lengths. The lengths don’t matter a bit because it is a cinch to shorten a metal zipper. That means I can make 24 more moto jackets!

Butterick 6169 shoulderI followed the excellent Sew-Along for the Butterick 6169 at It was very helpful and I learned quite a bit, like how to make a sleeve head and shoulder pads. I made, placed then removed my shoulder pads; they ended up being too much, but it is great to know how to do that now. A word about this pattern — the shoulders were plenty wide for me, which is not usually the case, so they may be a bit wider than average. The sleeve heads work very well to keep my sleeve shape, though!

Butterick 6169 necklineOne really important modification I made was to cut down the entire neckline by half an inch. It felt very tight and claustrophobic, in addition to the shoulders being too wide and the fit too wide. But when I just sewed the entire neckline down a half inch it fixed those issues and made the entire thing sit correctly. I admit that I did shape the sides at the waist by half an inch, too. But I did not lengthen it, and I like the length actually.

As directed, I interfaced the front pieces, but then as I was assembling everything I noticed my stretch sateen was quite limp. So I went back and interfaced the rest of the front and the back. It worked out fine, it might not have been totally necessary since the lining gives it more structure also, but I had to make a judgement call. The result is a jacket that can nearly stand up on its own.

Butterick 6169 LiningWhen I got to the lining, I slowed down quite a bit. I’ve never lined a jacket, so I was nervous. And assembling lining is a bit boring after the excitement of the fashion fabric. But just a week or two ago I saw Sew Crafty Chemist advised making the lining first to maintain momentum during the project. Isn’t that clever? I will certainly remember to do that next time.

Butterick 6169 frontAaaaand, I bagged it! Yeah! Bagging the lining was terrifying, I was so certain I was doing it wrong, but then it all turned out and I was so pleased! It is a very cool trick and I feel very accomplished to have made a fully lined jacket. It was on my sewing goal list for the year.

I plan on making at least 2 more of these. I love the shape and the style and I need one in every color, since I wear jackets all the time in our fickle weather. I am going to try to go down a size next time and make it in a less structured fabric (or without interfacing, I guess). This one will go with all the new items I have made for my PR wardrobe (go vote for your favorites!), but I especially look forward to wearing it with blue jeans because I love pink and blue together. And I’m sure I will be spotted in a crowd in this bright, spring jacket!