Leather Jacket Sewing Patterns

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Mark Larner, May 6, 2020.

  1. Mark Larner

    Mark Larner New in Town

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    Hey everyone,

    I'm new to this forum but a long time vintage clothing / heritage style fan.

    I started sewing last year, mostly because I was frustrated at not being able to buy exactly the clothes I wanted and the escalating price of vintage items.

    Anyway, I'm at the point where I feel ready to attempt a leather jacket. I've looked around but I can't find anything remotely accurate in terms of fit & style for a 1930's / 40's garment.
    I could draft something on my own, but it would be so useful to have an existing pattern as a starting point.

    Does anyone have a pattern(s) they're willing to share?

    My initial search on here lead me to a thread about a chap who shared his A2 pattern, but it's from a few years ago & the images / links are gone or broken.

    Any help would be hugely appreciated.

    Cheers,

    Mark
     
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  2. AeroFan_07

    AeroFan_07 My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    ^^ Very cool idea! I really do not know how one goes about this, I suppose some makers just picked up originals, dissembled them, and built a new pattern from there?

    This does not really get into patterns, but it's an intersting read regardless: https://vintagedancer.com/1930s/1930s-outfit-ideas-for-men/
     
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  3. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

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    That's exactly right. Or you can trace around an existing pattern and add a quarter inch all around each piece for the stitching space. The real challenge is scaling a pattern up and down.

    Patterns are not much use unless you can see a completed version. Maybe better to take a jacket you like and that fits and get a seamstress to make pattern from it. Then you can see how it's done and take it from there.
     
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  4. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Exactly so.

    It might be tricky to find specifically leather jacket patterns, but that said there are lots of companies out there who sell patterns designed for the sort of golf / cycling / utility jackets that back in the 30s were sold in both textiles and leather. That could be a good starting point, though you might need to make some further allowances for leather. If you were to be planning to sell what you make as a business concern and were using a commercial pattern, you'd need to look into the legalities (where patterns are contemporary productions that still fall under intellectual property protection, the 'licence' to use them, effectively what you are buying, is typically limited to domestic use, in the same way as buying a CD does not licence you to make copies of the music thereon and sell your own CDs).
     
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  5. Mark Larner

    Mark Larner New in Town

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    Thanks for the advice guys, I have a couple of vintage 40's patterns that I'll make some textile toiles from to see how they fit.

    I'll also just picked up some cheap splits, thin second grade hide, to make my first leather version - they weren't that expensive so I won't have to beat myself up over the mistakes I'm bound to make; but just process of transferring my sewing from cloth to leather I'm sure will be instructive.

    I've picked up a 1958 Singer 99K that I hope will be robust enough to handle the job, we'll see.

    I'm far from making this in to a commercial concern, but if I did fancy it the © question is an interesting one.
    I'm a photographer by trade so I've been dealing with copyright for most of my working life. I think it's 70 years from the death of the author in the UK before something is out of copyright.

    It would be interesting to know how many revisions to a pattern need to be made before something becomes a self draft - you see it on high street knock offs of designer stuff a lot - one less row of stitching here, a different shaped pocket bag there etc...

    Anyway, to give you a flavour of what I've made recently:

    A civvy version in denim & canvas of a 1937 pattern Battledress Blouse:

    0D7C4D0C-818F-4DB3-BFF4-E8654AC76090.JPG

    A Baker's Boy:

    IMG_5018.JPG

    And a dry oilskin smock:

    4819F04F-FC15-49A6-8B8C-1F21704E8B2F.JPG
     
  6. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

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    Congratulations on this! We are a lot alike...I too am a photographer with the dream of someday creating my own items. My understanding is that if you are getting into leather, you will want a more robust walking foot machine. As mentioned above, many have started by finding an old jacket and reverse-engineering the pattern. I have 2 in the closet waiting for the day I can afford a JUKI and clear some space in the garage.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2020
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  7. Zoo

    Zoo New in Town

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    No idea how expensive the Juki sewing machines are, but I can recommend the Sailrite LZ-1 for sewing leather.
     
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  8. Mark Larner

    Mark Larner New in Town

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    It was injury that finally did it for me - knackered my knee at work. Shortly after I completed Netflix the wife suggested I have a go at making something, the rest is history. I'd encourage you to start, there's a lot to learn but it's really rewarding.

    The first thing I made was a simple duffel bag, and my sewing habit just gathered momentum from there.
     
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  9. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

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    Sorry to hear about the injury. Your wife sounds very supportive. I already took a class, and have a little machine I found used. I'm planning on starting with a shirt and pants before I get into the heavier stuff. Good Luck! Can't wait to see your creations.
     
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  10. Will Zach

    Will Zach One Too Many

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    This is very cool. I wish you a lot of success.
     
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  11. Mark Larner

    Mark Larner New in Town

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    Would be good to see what you make!
     
  12. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    The basic standard for copyright is originality; it really would, I think if challenged come down to whether the pattern had been directly copied.

    The funny thing is, clothes design doesn't attract copyright protection or trademark: the law in both the UK and the US assumes that clothes are purely utilitarian and form slavishly follows function and naught else. In the UK, clothing designs, in the form of patterns, can be protected for up to 25 years under registered design right (subject to regular renewal and payment of the appropriate fee), or three years if unregistered. The life + 70 years rule doesn't apply at all here. (Some useful guidelines: https://assets.publishing.service.g..._data/file/399646/Copyright_Notice_4-2015.pdf).

    A quirk of this area of law is that anyone can take apart a vintage jacket (or one in which any Design Right has expired) and make their own pattern from that, and grade it either way. Let's say company A does this and has a big success with that design. Others then want in on the act. Company B buys one of company A's jackets, takes it apart, makes their own pattern from that and grades it. Company C illicitly acquires photocopies of Company A's patterns and uses those to make their jacket. Company B is worknig within the law. Company C is in breach of the law. Essentially here the law isn't protecting creativity the way you're uswed to with phtogrqphs, but recognising that a lot of work has gone into the production of patterns and preventing anyone else from taking unfair advantage.

    Impressive stuff. Would especially like to see more of the BD blouse. It puts me in mind of the stuff Nigel CAbourn does, except whereas you've rednered the original design in a different colour /fabric, Cabourn monkeys with the designs and typically ruins them to my eye. I really like this one of yours! I could see there being a market for that.

    (BTW.... lamp in that last shot, is that an Anglepoise, or is it an IKEA Arod? Been considering the floorstander version of the latter as an affordable alternative to the floorstander Anglepoise, and wondered what you made of your Arod if it is an Arod...).
     
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  13. Mark Larner

    Mark Larner New in Town

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    The lamp is apparently from somewhere called Wild & Woolf, it's something the Mrs already had when I moved in.

    I managed to track down a low res pic of the original 1937 BD pattern block and scale it up in photoshop using measurements from a later pattern denim blouse in my collection.

    I remember seeing one of the versions that Cabourn did, they were nice enough, I really liked the two tone wool /denim one, but details like the back cinch just looked wrong. A bit like the bastard child of a proper BD blouse and a Type 1 - that said, my style has always been awkwardly caught between British and American influences!

    Mine was a fairly faithful copy, I just left off the epaulettes and box pleats on the pockets to make it more of a civilian work jacket than odd military looking replica in civilian fabrics. I've since tweaked the pattern a bit and plan to make another version from an original 1950's grey WD Blanket, Itchy that I liberated from my QM's.
     
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  14. navetsea

    navetsea I'll Lock Up

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    really cool hobby, great looking jackets and hat, must feel very rewarding wearing things you sew yourself.
     
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  15. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    I tend to find I love a lot of the old Brit stuff myself, though my style overall is definitely Americanised (unsurprisngly, my style icons tend to be more US - Bogart, Brando, Jimmy Stewart....). I really like what you've done. For me, CAbourn takes the 'wrong' liberties - then I guess hes' adapting for modern fashion. I like what you're doing, which seems to me more a sympathetic to the period 'civilianising' of the designs.
     
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