Tree of Life Appliquéd Leather Jacket

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The Tree of Life appliquéd leather jacket

This Tree of Life appliquéd leather jacket is a very special custom piece. 

I love designing and creating appliqué for specific leather garments. Wrapping the design around the body and pattern pieces in a way that’s visually beautiful and flattering.

The appeal of appliqué comes from my love of detailing, color, pattern and craft, all in combination.  I also have always been inspired by vintage cowboy boots!

This particular appliqués starting point was inspired by a classic tattoo flame motif.  But not dictated by it. 

Then name for this jacket came to me mid-way thru stitching the appliqué.  When I realized a root system was forming within the flame inspired tattooing! 

The mask also appeared to me unexpectedly, but I love it because of my theatrical design background.  I did not consciously did not plan either of these elements-  it was just a very happy coincidence!

I like to design my appliqués organically. Just free hand pencil & marker and the pattern pieces. 

My goal, is to aesthetically fill in the space created by the shape of my garment.  The design begins to emerge while creating the muslin fitting garments. Here,  I envisioned a wrap around motif starting from the front and running over the shoulders to flow into the back peplum of the jacket. 

The color of this jacket also helped inspire it’s name, momentarily the client was considering a rich, washed, burgendy leather with a a matte finish. It would have been a VERY different jacket in that color way.

Color can really inform and change a design. Had my client chosen that burgendy, this jacket would have had a much more formal, almost “Period” look.  It would have become a  jacket that Netflix’s”Lidia Poët” would wear! 

I had developed other patterns for my client, so I saved a lot of time there.  About 15 hours was spent on designing the main body &  the pattern making for it. This was MUCH quicker than first time development.

Overall, creating the appliqué pattern, cutting and prepping all the pieces for the jacket, and the final construction took about 80 hours.  So it was very close here! 

It is ALL done by hand. No CAD, no laser cutting, no automated processes at all.

100 hours on a single garment is not at all unusual in my line of work – it’s the starting point. 

As old school as it may be, I love working this way!  The time involved here is more the norm than the exception in my work.  This caliber of care & work  is the norm in Bespoke or Couture work. 

 If  you look through the bespoke sections of the site there are many projects that involve much more time.  Like this 2 piece gown or this cordovan laced coat.

Someone I worked with in the Theatre years ago put it perfectly:

“The thing about hand-made and custom-made is, there are only a finite number of pieces possible. There’s no comparison shopping, no price checking, no waiting a month to see if it goes on sale.  There it is – it is crafted by hand, by someone who cares passionately about every stitch, every little detail. From the way it fits to how it feels. It’s not mass produced by robots in slave conditions. There’s only one- it’s yours or it isn’t.”

This sums up the whole philosophy, reason and passion of couture and custom work  perfectly.

It is the exact opposite of today’s mainstream, mass-produced take on fashion.   It’s “Slow Fashion”, created with one person in mind. 

As a result, each piece is a personal statement, and more –  since we make each piece to fit perfectly, suit perfectly, and last.

If you love a piece you want to wear it – the longer the better!



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