Longline Café Racer – femme, curvy & strong

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For this take on a café racer jacket, 

My client had way too many reference ideas – not for me, but for her!

She knew she wanted a feminized version of a racer jacket but had a lot of conflicting references.  Focus was hard – too many choices or ideas can make things harder. I think most of us have experienced that phenomenon at one point or another.

I totally empathize and am here to help!  One of the big reasons I decided to focus on leather was because – well,  there are just way too many kinds of fabrics out there.  I’d never get anything done with such endless choices! Heck -there are practically endless choices in leather too, but somehow I am more attuned to subtleties in leathers, as far as usage, wear, fitting, etc.

So, the design challenge was everything except her initial leather choice, which she always came back to. (Gut is good!)

The style though went a little differently.  Initially, she wanted short, and the reference material was all of classic short, sort of tough square men’s racer jackets – the first muslin was based on these but added curve with the offset princess seam and back seaming.  Once we tried that muslin on her – the short, almost cropped length did her no justice at all.  Having already discussed with her how she wanted to wear the jacket – I told her I felt really strongly that a longer silhouette was the way to go for her and that if she hated it – it could be shortened at the muslin stage.

This next (very rough) muslin – was created in anticipation of a lot of play & possibly massive changes.  A 1/2 back belt would add more curve if needed &  together we discussed various style lines and pocket options.  The basic sleeve –  at this point, was unchanged from the initial muslin (need to get shoulder line and back completely pinned down – then redraft the sleeve to correct armhole and tilt) –  Sleeve corrections happened in the next muslin.  This jacket ended up being 3-4 muslins- I lost track!

Still, just a few days after this fitting – and from far, far away – the client started having second thoughts on length again – then, I sent her photos of this muslin vs. the short one – All smiles here in the long muslin and No smiles in the short muslin. A café racer jacket does not have to be short!

Really, overthinking does no good – you need to go with your gut and how you FEEL in a piece.  Please, let me sweat the hard stuff! I do it well and always with YOU and the final results that YOU will be wearing in mind.

Design is far more than just the cut, fit & seaming of a garment.  The client and the way they want to wear and feel in the piece informs the design. Often the cut of the garment necessitates (or cries out for) a particular technique.  The cut of a pattern can narrow, or open up your choices.  Also the choice of leather can completely change the way a piece is fitted and constructed. What is designed has to be physically build-able within a given budget.  It’s all part of the bigger whole.

In this case, the wonderfully distressed and double faced leather she chose from our stock informed the subtle sleeve “articulation” detailing. Emphasizing the detailing By using the lighter colored reverse of the leather as an inset.  This added both shape and depth to the seaming of the sleeves. (BTW – If we have enough of a leather in stock that suits your project – we do discount based on item/amount of leather) 

Our stock leathers tend to be very unique and unusual skins that can no longer be gotten, or replicated, at any price point. So the final project becomes even rarer.

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