Thursday, January 6, 2011

New bike jacket

In keeping with the recent trend in which I have been making active-wear, I'm about to start on a new bike jacket.  I'm reusing the same pattern from which I made my current jacket, which has got to be 15 years old, at least.  The pattern is the Golden Triangle Cycling Jacket from Storm Mountain Designs which I bought at  the late-lamented Textile Outfitters store in Calgary.

I made my first iteration of this jacket from a synthetic known as "super microft", also sourced at Textile Outfitters.  While this jacket is still very functional and not too worn out, its time is coming to an end.  It lost some of its water-resistance over the years and the wash-in stuff (Nikwax) seemed to interfere with its breathing ability.  The reflective tape is worn out in spots and looks quite ratty (though it's still pretty reflective).

Here's the front view.  This is an extremely basic design featuring roomy raglan sleeves and stand-up collar.

There's a low curving hem in back to guard against gaposis.

I added reflective tape all over the place for visibility.  I ride my bike to work except when there's snow and in the fall, it's really dark on my way home.

At the side, there is a lot of zipper.  The zip below the reflective tape is the pocket; above it is the "pit zip".  This is a zipper (18" or 45cm long) that's closed at both ends with 2 pulls that meet anywhere in the middle.  It's inserted in the side/underarm seam and provides ventilation.

I had the forethought to purchase 3 sets of pit zips at Textile Outfitters and after 15 years have 2 left.  That should be a lifetime's supply, I figure, at the rate I'm going!

My new jacket will be more substantial than this one since I'm making it from Goretex and it needs to be lined to protect the membrane.  I've got some athletic mesh lining in the stash.  To further increase ventilation, I'm splitting the back to create an upper back vent (sort of like the back of a trenchcoat).

To make my new jacket as safety-conscious as my old one, I'm going to use some retro-reflective plastic piping (looks clear in ordinary light) and as an accent on the back (from the stash), fabric with an overall retro-reflective print (looks boring grey in ordinary light).  Flash!


  1. Great construction work. Active wear is so expensive - it is worth taking the time to make it.

  2. Neat project to repeat! I've never sewn anything like that.

  3. Nifty project! I spent quite some time chasing the ghost of that store earlier this year, as it still comes up high on a search of Calgary fabric stores. :(. It's still listed in the phone book, too!

  4. Awesome project Kay!

    Please share your source for activewear fabrics with us. When I moved to Calgary I thought I'd be able get to Textile Outfitters, only to find out they don't exist anymore


  5. I love cycling and can't wait to see it!

  6. Impressinante como você consegue produzir uma peça tão complexa e ela não parece em nada feita em casa.


    Eilane - Brasil

  7. That jacket is great!! The colour is so nice and bright- you will be certain to be seen on some of those crazy Ottawa streets. I too lament the passing of Textile Outfitters.

  8. Keep in mind the studies that show that we notice a lot more objects that have some sort of human shape, especially in movement. To me, that'd mean preserving that really good line across the shoulders and down the sleeves that you have on the back. But also maybe making a matching on on the front? And instead of those Vs down low, putting a stripe down the middle of the back, and a stripe along the side seams.
    The Vs look good in the picture, but they distract from the emphasis on the silhouette.
    Also, I don't think piping does you much good at more than a couple meters distance, it's too narrow and subtle. At least a 1cm wide tape is much more visible at a distance that can really do you some good.

  9. I am so impressed with your old jacket! So professional!