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Five Star Leather Jackets

spectre6000

One of the Regulars
Messages
188
Here's a question that just occurred to me... Has anyone ever come across vintage sewing patterns for men's leather (or even non-leather) jackets?
 

TREEMAN

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,442
Location
USA
It's perfectly ok to make a fun project out of it. I've done it umpteen times.
And if the leather was nice, I probably would have kept two or three jackets from 5*. And maybe the jackets are ok if you don't have any others, but if you have Horween, Vicenza and Badalassi in your wardrobe, which aren't worn enough anyway, then 5* jackets always get the short end of the stick.
And in the long run it's frustrating when you think with every attempt that you've really specified all the details and 5* screws up something new. The creativity of 5* to get things wrong seems limitless.
But to be fair, a 1:1 copy has become perfect.
That reminds me of a quote I heard somewhere…
Never underestimate Joes ability to F things up ..
 

Canuck Panda

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,179
I'm working on my design submission, and trying to fine tune some of the details both in my head and on paper. Also now, IN paper.

I noticed in Shawn's post many many pages ago re: the factory tour that the pattern makers seem to be working with large sheets of paper. I have a huge roll for my 4yo to color on, so I stole some along with a few other art supplies.
View attachment 591583
View attachment 591584
View attachment 591585 I used my own measurements against the design I've cribbed from various historic and contemporary jackets. I didn't worry about making up the various discrete panels, because I'm really only worried about the one center panel.

One of the key design characteristics I'm aiming for is three dimensionality. @tmitchell59 was extremely gracious, and shared some photos and video with me of some of his incredible half belt collection, and the pleating in the backs of some of them really stood out to me. I essentially designed the back details around those pleats in order to get that three dimensional shape that mirrors the curvature of a/my spine. I did my best to get a photograph of the curvature in the paper (which I think is good, but my assistant is missing, so I'm sort of in a vacuum re: verification), but it refused to let go of the curvature of the roll it came from for the most part, so it's kind of hard to see in a two dimensional photo. Still, I think it looks pretty solid!

More importantly, it answers a handful of questions for me from a practical perspective. Intuitively, I thought there would need to be wedges cut out on the scale of a half inch or so, but in practice, it seems that whatever minimal amount of leather can be gathered in order to put a stitch through it is all that's required. I'm going to play with the length of the pleats a little as well to see how length affects curvature.
It just came to me,

If you are investing the time to do the patterning, you can make the jacket, and this can be a thread on its own, like the fur collar making thread, but for the whole jacket. Please think about it. This is quite exciting.
 

spectre6000

One of the Regulars
Messages
188
I don't know if I can go so far as to say I'm doing the patterning. I'm tapping into my wife's sewing/costuming knowledge to try to understand how to shape the back panel with darts. We've been iterating with paper over the last few days, and I've come to the realization that the design I made won't really work as I designed it. So, that'll be scrapped (mostly), and once I figure out how the back panel SHOULD be, I'll go back to my scribble sheets and see if there's a good way to incorporate What Is rather than what I wish to be. Then I have to figure out how best to communicate it a) in writing, and b) across the language barrier. The effort might be worthy of a separate thread, but keeping it here will HOPEFULLY be instructive for the sort of effort required to get a truly good Fivestar jacket, and may be instructive of how far still isn't far enough.
 
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Messages
10,985
Location
SoCal
It just came to me,

If you are investing the time to do the patterning, you can make the jacket, and this can be a thread on its own, like the fur collar making thread, but for the whole jacket. Please think about it. This is quite exciting.
This is actually a fantastic idea!
With your wife’s help, pull everything together best you can; get your photos as back-up; and reach out to a Fashion Design Student to make the pattern. There is a school near you:
IMG_8507.jpeg

Once you have the pattern, make the jacket yourself. Saddle-stich the thing by hand! @Canuck Panda has all the info to get hides, but you probably also have leads. If you don’t Maverick is a good source:
https://maverickleathercompany.com/
This could be epic!
 
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spectre6000

One of the Regulars
Messages
188
I'm really not patterning something from scratch here. That particular idea only entered my head with Canuck Panda's post up there, and his DM got me really thinking in that direction. It's not out of the question, but that's not this. What I'm doing here is just an exploration exercise. Like dissecting a frog in high school biology class to figure out what guts look like generally. I have seen lots and lots of jackets in photos (only), and have been working on developing a sense for how to do what I want to do, but what I'm doing is essentially confirming/fine tuning that knowledge. I'll post some photos when I get where I'm going with it, and hopefully it becomes clear what I'm doing.
 

4444Design

One of the Regulars
Messages
264
Location
Germany
It depends. I don't think it's how wide it should be but where it is in relationship to the front and back contouring panels.

Take this 5Star jacket I have for example, if I know what I know now then, I would ask for a different type of contouring:
View attachment 591708 View attachment 591709 View attachment 591710 View attachment 591711 View attachment 591712

And not use the elastic just regular cinch tab. Elastic gathers creates a puff right above it. And I think a single point yoke is the best complimenting look followed by a wide V taper contouring panel. There could also be an inch more V taper in the front panels so the side panels wraps around on the bottom too.

Another thing worth noting over and over again is that not to overspend at 5Star. Get in get out move on. There is a reason I haven't been a patron there for a while. While I don't have a problem with Shawn or what he does, I do agree it is easy to overspend there and feel burned out after a while. The biggest factor there is that Shawn says no to nothing. Or he says yes to everything. This Yes man approach may work in business to business relationships, but for personal relationships, in my experience, only works when there is both yes and nos. Too many yes is living in fantasy land, too many nos is living in hell, gotta be a mix of the two.

I would still say stick with premium goat with a wax finish. I salvation armied all my 5Star jackets except the ones where I sent him the leather and a few of the thicker goat ones. Also don't send him leather. It ends up costing a lot, and you can get a jacket done in the US. Been there done that. But I stand by the waxed goat. I think everyone has the best chance at getting a decent result from that leather.

Good luck.

That's one awesome jacket!

The color and shape are incredible ...
 

mysternee

New in Town
Messages
23
Just a quick update: in addition to the hole in the cuff knit, one of the buttons on the collar of my jacket (for the the throat latch) began to loosen in a way that made me think it would not stay on without repair. So I got both of the throat latch buttons re-done. They were just not tied off tightly enough. Oddly the pocket buttons, which have seen way more use, are still really tight and feel like they'll last ages.

However, in the interim Shawn got back to me about the issue with the knits. He refunded me my tip—which I asked for—but also all the upcharge for customisations. Which I not only did not ask for, but specifically said I was happy to pay, as I felt that work had all been done just fine. So I got the jacket for its base price plus shipping. Really can't complain.


Yes. And not to overly simplify but….its a $50 jacket and you are paying at least and often more than 5 times that. So no matter how you frame it. Bad deal. Horrible deal. You can only lose. The jig is up. Fun has been had. Game over. Move on.

I think this is putting it a tad strong, no? At least where I live, if you go to a high street store you'll only get a leather jacket for €50 if it's VERY heavily discounted, and it'll be a cheap, thin leather, usually suede or at best lambskin or nubuck, with a cheap polyester lining and an appalling zipper. Hell, most faux-leather jackets cost more than €50! And this is before considering custom materials and sizing. And whether here or in the states (where the vintage scene is a lot better), there aren't too many decent used leather jackets to be had for €/$50 in my experience.

I do think it's debatable whether the same money is better spent on a used jacket from a reputable brand. I think if you are well-served by standard sizing, and/or you're looking for something other than a reproduction, that's probably the way to go. But we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater here.
 
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Marc mndt

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,855
I think this is putting it a tad strong, no? At least where I live, if you go to a high street store you'll only get a leather jacket for €50 if it's VERY heavily discounted, and it'll be a cheap, thin leather, usually suede or at best lambskin or nubuck, with a cheap polyester lining and an appalling zipper. Hell, most faux-leather jackets cost more than €50! And this is before considering custom materials and sizing. And whether here or in the states (where the vintage scene is a lot better), there aren't too many decent used leather jackets to be had for €/$50 in my experience.

Maybe not $50 in the USA but most likely $50 in Pakistan. It's about half a month minimum wage salary.
 

AHP91

Practically Family
Messages
935
I've explored the vintage route thoroughly. I don't fit modern off-the-rack, and I REALLY don't fit the much more limited options of vintage off-the-rack. I used to be shaped like a squatty triangle, but have become a bit more square in middle age. Very short with very broad shoulders and a pretty average waist. If I'm buying a dress shirt, I can either buy off the rack, then double the price in tailoring (typically cuffs, hem, and waist @$25/ea), or just get custom from the outset. It's either that, or clothes just fit poorly by any standard. Leather compounds that significantly due its mechanical properties and the cost of tailoring. If I bought an off the rack jacket and sent it to Dena (I think that's the name of the preferred leather tailor here), I'd be adding at least a few hundred dollars to my tab right off the bat. I haven't looked at her pricing, but I guarantee it's not going to be cheaper than the local guy, and there's two legs of shipping and insurance on top of that.

If I can get a halfway decent jacket from Fivestar (by my relatively low standards) for a halfway decent price (by my... relatively low? standards), I win. If I want something more or better, I'll have to pony up for more and better. Might go wool next time. Easier to work with. Who knows?

I'm hedging on the leather quality front by getting samples. As stated in the microscopy thread I've worked with leather a fair bit, albeit almost entirely thick, minimally processed cow and shearling in a different context. I know what I want. If I don't like the leather, I'm out $30.

If I get past that hurdle, I'm hedging on the fit front by getting a prototype jacket. I imagine there will be some slight adjustments required at that phase, but if I don't feel like it's going to work out, then I bail and I'm out $100. No big deal. If things are a go at that point, then I'm out whatever final cost, and I should have a pretty decent jacket to show for it.

In all 400 pages of this thread, the leather samples have been ordered a low single digit number of times (3 come to mind, but I could be forgetting one or two). I recall a prototype jacket has been ordered precisely once that's been documented here. The result of that particular jacket order were not documented, and when the poster requested feedback on the prototype jacket, very little, if any, was given. I'd tag the user to see if they're still around to weigh in, but it seems the server is busy mining bitcoin, and won't respond to let me do so...

Edit: @Webafile <= not a tag... Just won't work. That particular chain is back on pages 210/211 though if anyone wants to have a look. Sounded promising, but we never get resolution on that particular story line.

Keep in mind that not every single jacket on the used market are “off the rack” jackets. There were of course many people like you who ordered custom jackets and have in turn listed them for sale. Sounds like you’ve made up your mind with your experiment, so have fun and best of luck
 

spectre6000

One of the Regulars
Messages
188
IMG_5343.JPG

Here's where we got last night. Not quite done, but very close. The recycle can is full of scrap trimmings, and there's a stack several inches thick on a stool nearby of discarded drafts. It's a little extra poofy looking (it's probably a good 4-5" off the table top at the highest point) because it's sitting flat on a table rather than wrapped around my back. The bottom edge is the waist, top is the obviously the collar/shoulders. The sides are the arm holes on top, and go arbitrarily a bit past the center of the arm holes on bottom. Imagine the edges curved and pointed in the right directions, and you can imagine it flattening out/conforming to a typical back shape (thoracic curve). The darts are not where I or how thought they'd be at all. Hypothesis busted; this is why we experiment! Pretty much every aspect is different. Number, length, angle, degree, width... Very educational. One thing we seem to have gravitated toward, and it could be a coincidence or an inviolable law of nature, is that the ends of the darts seem to want to be where my shoulder blades start from whichever direction. I guess that's the most prominent feature? I might (probably will at this point) try to match the dart engineering in the front to some degree if wife hasn't run out of patience for this project (actually, I might be able to do the front myself... easier to reach/see), but I may end up patterning this whole thing out in paper after all for visualization purposes/completions' sake... The result of this may end up being a sort of blank shell of a jacket upon which to paint detail and design... Not entirely sure. Making it up as I go at this point. This isn't where I expected this to lead.

Anyway, once we're happy with the curvature of the bodice panel(s), my wife can stop humoring this particular boondoggle, and I can get back to my scribble sheets... This revelation just about wipes out my whole design... Way better to engineer out the art and have something wearable than art out the engineering and be upset about it. This way at least, I can add back some artistry knowing that it'll fit how I want it to!

As a sort of aside, what are the odds some of you half belt owners could measure the length of the belt in the center section for me? I guesstimate 11-13" long depending on size, and my scale pre-engineering exercise version worked out at 12". To some degree, the physical paper... thing will tell me, but it's always good to get a sanity check.

Finally, last night you jerks got me thinking about making something totally from scratch... Dammit... That's pretty much what my brain did all night while it should have been sleeping... I need to see if I can track down a male dress form (that doesn't seem like it's probably what it's actually called), a skiving machine and a sewing machine (way too much to do by hand on both counts) before I can get too serious about it. And that can't happen until my home construction project is done and I get my office/shop back. Then there's a baby due in July to boot... My wife using me as a dress form is fine for a one off engineering prototype like this, but that's probably not the best way to go about using up her patience.
 
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Messages
10,985
Location
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Darts are mostly used to add contour for breasts, narrower shoulders, slender waist, hips, etc.

I really think reaching out to a local fashion grad student might be helpful. Maybe someone on Fiver could also be useful….

Waist is 38in… (19 x2)

I know you are well down the road on the 1/2 belt design, but if you are looking for taper from shoulder/chest to waist you might find this style successful:
IMG_8511.jpeg
 
Messages
17,143
Location
Chicago
Darts are mostly used to add contour for breasts, narrower shoulders, slender waist, hips, etc.

I really think reaching out to a local fashion grad student might be helpful. Maybe someone on Fiver could also be useful….

Waist is 38in… (19 x2)

I know you are well down the road on the 1/2 belt design, but if you are looking for taper from shoulder/chest to waist you might find this style successful:
View attachment 592086
I agree. Darts at the shoulder (front or rear of jacket) will look incredibly feminine. It’s a design feature used exclusively for women’s jackets.
 

spectre6000

One of the Regulars
Messages
188
OK. Back panel contouring figured out.

Laid flat. Measurements visible. I have an idea for communicating the less obvious stuff around the perimeter, but it's not yet pertinent.
IMG_5359.JPG


Darts connected:
IMG_5360.JPG


Longitudinal profile (laid flat):
IMG_5361.JPG


Lateral profile (laid flat):
IMG_5362.JPG


"Fit pics", but after I did a bunch of moving around and my shirt shifted so it's a little messed up:
IMG_5356.jpeg

IMG_5357.JPG

IMG_5358.JPG
 

spectre6000

One of the Regulars
Messages
188
Shorter darts means a wider angle, and a wider angle causes them to pucker/get pointy. Reducing the angle reduces the curve on the edge and flattens everything out. It's possible to reduce the puckering by forming over a curved... form, but not sure if/how that works with leather, and that may not be an option.

This is about as fitted as possible. If I can move all around with a piece of thick paper scotch taped to me, and it stays put and doesn't even come off (again, scotch tape on a t-shirt; hardly a strong bond), that's really saying something. I had full range of motion with my arms and torso; leaning side to side, touching my toes, arms swinging all the way around. Wife commented at some point that it seems likely the fashion is for a much flatter, looser fit. I will undoubtedly need to loosen it up for ease, but haven't gotten to that point yet.

The understanding of how the darts work, where they need to be and at what magnitude to achieve what effect was the point of the exercise. Now I can play around with them a bit more to loosen things up for an actual jacket rather than a fitted shell.

A bit late, but wife just found this:

We started with the darts I had in my design, drawn purely by feel and for aesthetics. We then iteratively manipulated them until we ended up where we did, which, coincidentally, is just about exactly what's shown in that link. Wife may have had some clue about that from her sewing exploits, but I had no idea about that general size/angle/location. We clearly just reversed engineered something that is apparently generally well known... Oh well. The point was to learn, and that's what we did. If I had had the vocabulary to find that, maybe we could have saved some trees.
 
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spectre6000

One of the Regulars
Messages
188
Re: darts only being for women in the front:


DSCF1685.png


It's not entirely without precedent. I feel like I've seen similar darts elsewhere as well, but clearly a small minority.
 

Aloysius

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,419
Re: darts only being for women in the front:


View attachment 592287

It's not entirely without precedent. I feel like I've seen similar darts elsewhere as well, but clearly a small minority.


This looks like a textile jacket, not a leather jacket, though it looks terrible even in this instance.

If you were trying to find an example of a textile jacket for men with darts you could have posted any suit coat that's not an American Ivy League cut or Anderson & Sheppard drape cut. Darts are used in the front to generate shape in the mid section.
 

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