As I sit with thumbs atwiddle, I think I’ll make another meander post. In the previous thread I commented that I had decided not to pursue the “making things from waxed cotton” line. And yet, I said, there are a couple of things I’d like to get ’round to making.

I thought I’d share one of those things.

See, I want a motorcycle jacket, and the one I want just isn’t out there. (Not to mention what’s out there and sorta what I want is way outside my price range at this time.)

I want a slightly loose long jacket with grande assiette shoulders. It would have intenal elbow cops in a shaped (two-part hinge) elbow. It would have a short shoulder cape that was detachable, and a fairly high collar with secure lockdown as well as upright connections. It would be water resistant if not waterproof. It would have a map pocket, one external chest pocket, one internal chest pocket, and two external slash-entry low pockets.

Nothing complex, mind (sarcasm).

And now for the longer part. First, I actually want two of these, one for winter and one for summer. The difference is the winter is larger so it encompasses a warm liner. As a fallback I’d take a detachable liner, but that means the summer wear is going to be loose. Sure that would allow more airflow for cooling. Unfortunately it also means more parachute billowing on the highway. All things considered, two jackets is better.

So what have I got? To start, size. I want a jacket that covers my butt down to the motorcycle seat and maybe a bit further. Standing that means it comes down to my crotch. My preference for the straddle split is it be two gore-mounted splits on each side. A gore (because I’ll use this again) is a triangular piece that allows spreading and shaping. In this case it’d make the bottom eight to ten inches of the coat a much larger circle when fully spread. It means no gaps for rain to slide in.

Waterproof or water resistent is the obvious reason I want waxed cotton.

A high collar with a lockdown means I can fasten it around the neck or down on the shoulder, and I mean fasten in both cases so it doesn’t flop around and beat my throat. High, it needs to come close to covering the neck till it reaches my (close faced) helmet. Buttons, snaps, velcro, zippers, all are options. I lean toward buttons or snaps, making sure the collar edges overlap when standing to prevent creating a wind tunnel.

A shoulder cape is, well, go find a standard duster. You’ll see the cape. It has one purpose: hide the shoulder seams from falling water. Laid out it’s usually an oval variation on a circle cape. When detachable there are usually a few snaps or buttons (sometimes a couple of zippers). You’ve got a small secondary collar flap that covers the gap where it attaches to the neck, some sort of attachment to the front seam of the jacket, and maybe a couple of connections just in front of the armpits. Given motorcycle speeds the front connection needs to be secure and/or redundant enough to ensure the cape doesn’t suddenly flap into my face, so I’m thinking the shoulder-points are a good idea.

Map pocket. A large gap with the entry parallel to and just behind or on the front closure seam. Pick up a “standard” fiction novel and picture being able to slide it in and close the flap to prevent most water from getting in. I picture this on my left chest. On my right chest is the external chest pocket, reachable with my left hand when I drop the machine in neutral. That’s why the slash or slant pocket by the way – reaching straight down is a pain. Two pockets low front are obvious, and the internal chest pocket (sometimes called a wallet pocket) behind the map pocket should also be obvious.

And we start coming to the less obvious things. First is that grande assiette. It’s a type of setting of arm to body done in certain jacket styles in the later part of the 1300s. Rather than describing it correctly and so incomprehensibly, let me use some modern stuff instead. Take a tank-top tee-shirt style, one with basically a couple of straps over the shoulder. Now run your sleeve up to THAT opening. Except you add a couple of gores, both with points into the sleeve. You’ve got one in back over the shoulder-blade and another one over the chest. What you’ve got, now, is an arm that you can rotate and swing while NOT having the hem of your coat moving up.

The elbow is also a bit complex. There’s a neat cut from about the same time that makes a non-obvious pocket which allows you to bend the arm without having the sleeve climb up from the wrist (well, less so than it does in straight cuts like you see today). Its nature is such that it creates something of a pocket. Making the pocket a bit larger allows elbow cops – cupped plates over the elbows.

Add a wrist piece that has two connections, loose and tight, and you’ve got the gist. A layer of thin wool batting (think army wool blanket) and a non-waxed cotton lining (that includes the shoulder and arm cuts and in which the internal chest pocket is set). Long zipper closure with large button closed storm flap, and it’s pretty much done.

That’s what I wanted to make. A bit tighter than the standard western jacket, a bit looser than the semi-fitted motorcycle jacket, with a little breathability while mostly protecting from the weather of the ride.

Someday.

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