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09 April 2016

Burda 11-2013-117 and shattered dreams of Rick Owens

My entry at this year's Bargainista Fashionista contest at Pattern Review is a copy of an Alexander McQueen dress which I love and I've already worn twice. But this dress was not what I had first planned to make for the contest. Originally, I was planning to make a copy of a Rick Owens moto jacket that mixes leather (pleather?) with knits, both thin and chunky. Isn't it awesome?

Trying to figure out how to copy it, I searched everywhere for a photo with a front view (or any other view!) of this particular jacket, but alas, I came empty handed. I did find quite a few other Rick Owens jackets like the ones below. They all have the same large and wide open collar, and the tied half belt. The half belt in particular gives a very flattering shape because it essentially becomes two long triangles placed sideways emphasizing the waist.

It is possible that the jacket I wanted to copy has the body front and back made in the thick knit and only the sleeves in pleather (+ thin knit undersleeve). I cannot really tell from the photo that I have, but it doesn't matter. In my mind's eye my copy was always going to have only the fronts in the handknit. Oh, and yes, Rick Owens works only with black and greys, but I cannot live without color, so a royal-blue/deep purple is the most I was willing to compromise.

So here is my version. Turned out OK, right? If only... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

For my copy I used Burda 11-2013-117, an asymmetric short moto-jacket with peplum.

For the handknitted fronts I had the perfect yarn in my stash. A long time ago I made a simple bolero knitted jacket with it, but it turned out too boxy and I never finished it. Plus I also didn't like the unpolished texture that resulted from the uneven thickness of the yarn. Too "imperfect" I thought. But Rick Owens' pieces always have a punkish, rough coolness to them, and so this "imperfect" yarn would be perfect for this copy.

Since the fronts would be hand knit, I didn't want to use all four pattern pieces and have seams in the knitting. So, I combined them into a single pattern and knitted that shape, making sure to use increases-decreases and shortrows as needed to shape the fronts. Hence the "bubble" you can see where the bust goes. On Ravelry I kept notes of how exactly I knit the fronts, although they are probably not useful to anyone unless they have this precise yarn and jacket size.

For the rest of the jacket (the back, the sleeves and the half belts) I used a thin pleather in a lovely matching blue. I thought I was so lucky to find this matching pleather in my stash. "Good thing that I had saved it for the past 15 years", I thought. Yeah... and now you begin to realize where the problem comes in, don't you?

Indeed! Fake leather doesn't "keep" well. The plastic had completely dried up in those 15 years and the fabric just began to crumble every time I handled it. Ugh, the heartache! My lowest point came when I tried to convince myself that the shattered fabric added to the "punk vibe" I was going for. Sure...

So why did I finish it, since it is clearly not wearable like this? Well... On the practical side I did want to check how it would look, both the fit but also the combination of textures, and that tied closure. Now I know that I really do like it and so it will be worth trying to find a replacement fabric. On an emotional level though, I think that finishing the jacket was also my way of grieving for this fabric. And coming to terms with my fabric addiction. Sigh...

Does this kind of thing ever happen to any of you out there with large stashes? What other "surprises" can I expect after 20 years of collecting fabrics? Ah, well... I love my stash so we take the good with the bad, don't we?

I leave you with a view of all sides of the jacket, so you can see the nice shape of this pattern. And here is my review of Burda 11-2013-117 at Pattern Review.


  1. oh I feel your pain!! but a cool looking jacket is a good result :)

    1. Thanks daisee, you are quite right and the process is its own reward as well.

  2. Fabulous jacket. I hope you can convince yourself that your pleather 'surface treatment' is punk, not just marinated-too-long-in-the-stash, because that jacket need to be worn!

    1. Thanks sewingelle, I tried to convince myself, I really did! the 'surface treatment' just keeps on going though... by the time i was done taking photos for the blog the seams under the arms were completely bald. Sometimes you just have to walk away... but I have saved the knitted bits, and will definitely re-do it. :-)