A Cute Jacket Idea Using Wool and Dyed Leather Inspired by a TV Show!
Since I’m on this kick about dyeing leather, I decided to use some of it to make a jacket. This DIY wool and leather bomber jacket is actually inspired by a jacket worn by Elisabeth Moss in the show The Handmaid’s Tale (Season One, Episode Three!). She wore the jacket in a flashback scene and I thought it was so cute!
I hopped in the way-back machine to get my favorite bomber jacket pattern (circa 1989) to create this super fabulous jacket for my daughter. Obviously, this pattern (Burda 5001) is no longer available but here are a few links to similar styles in case you’d like to make one for yourself: BurdaStyle Collarless Bomber Jacket, BurdaStyle Bomber Jacket, Simplicity 8418, New Look 6545, and various other patterns available on Etsy. I’m sure my original pattern is available on Etsy or eBay! (Use search terms such as Bomber, Varsity or Flight jacket!)
I used my Juki TL98QE sewing machine since it is a semi-industrial machine and only does a straight stitch. I normally use it with my frame for quilting but decided to give it a try with the leather. I also used a Schmetz Leather needle (<– affiliate link!) and a walking foot when sewing the leather, as well as a Schmetz Universal needle (<– affiliate link!) for the wool. The machine handled the leather and wool fabulously!
The leather for the sleeves was originally a medium grey Italian leather that I purchased at my local ReStore for $1.00 a pound! I cut a piece that would be large enough for the sleeves and dyed it black with Angelus Leather Dye (<– affiliate link!). I also used pieces of the leather as the welting on the pockets. I used 1/4″ leather tape to make the sleeve seams lay open, and to also make the welting pieces flat before sewing.
For the body and cuffs, I used wool melton, which is a type of coat wool that is woven in a twill form. It is fulled which gives the appearance of felted wool, and can be very thick. For my pattern, I only needed one yard since the fabric is 60″ wide. I also cut pieces of the wool for cuffs on the sleeves.
I used a quilted jacket lining on the inside, and an antique brass metal zipper. I also added a sparkly pull to the zipper. The ribbing is a polyester and nylon blend, and is made specifically for coats or jackets (meaning it won’t stretch out or sag over time).
Something I very rarely ever do is make welted pockets. I decided it would add a bit of style to the jacket plus I knew my daughter would want pockets anyway. The welting is a strip of leather, and the back side of the pocket (that faces toward the front and may show) is also a piece of the wool used for the body and cuffs. One yard of fabric went a long way!
To finish up the wool and dyed leather jacket, I hand sewed the lining to the zipper, and the cuffs to the sleeve lining. Hand sewing has never been my strong suit but I took my time and tried to be patient. I think I did a pretty good job!
So, what do you think? It’s always OK to think outside the box and make adjustments to patterns as you go along even if it is to copy something seen on TV. That’s where some of the greatest ideas come from. I was so super-proud of this project and so is my daughter!
Have questions about how to make a varsity jacket or bomber jacket like this one? Leave a comment below!