Liberty Ridge Jacket
Posted: 02 August 2014 08:09 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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It took a year but I finally got the Liberty Ridge jacket done! Got a little sidetracked last winter snow camping and snowshoeing to get ready for a solo snowshow trip around Crater Lake. The sidetrack also included making some snow camping accessories (insulated Liberty Ridge pants, Primaloft overquilt).

Anyway, I ended up converting the LR jacket pattern to a full-zip, and I added a hood. I used the Large size pattern but modified it quite a bit, after making several cotton prototypes. I shortened the back panel about 2”, while the sleeves were lengthened about 1”. The front panels were widened about an inch.

While I started out with the Large pattern for this jacket, I wear an XL in just about every commercial jacket I’ve ever owned, and that’s how my finished LR fits.

The biggest change, made very painstakingly over the course of the prototypes, was the “A to B” seam (as seen on Page 2 of the instructions) on the back panel, and the corresponding seam on the sleeve. There seemed to be too much fabric bunching up, so I shortened that seam quite a bit, at least 2”. The seam shape changed too; the back panel “A to B” seam ended being much more of a “J” shape, while the sleeve “A to B” seam was a nearly straight line, except for the small curve at the armpit. The final version fit just about perfectly along that seam.

The full zipper was an easy change: you basically just cut the bottom panel in half vertically and install a full zipper.

Attaching the hood was easy, which just took place of the collar. This actually simplified things a little, since you just have to sew it in place to the back and sleeve (where the collar normally would be) before any of the zipper work starts. This was my first-ever attempt at a hood so it took a bit of prototyping. I’ll post a separate thread on the hood.

With these two modifications, the order of operation changes somewhat. Instead of sewing the lower panels in after the zipper (towards the end of the project, ie Page 11), you sew them in just after sewing the back and shoulder panels together, and adding the hood (near the beginning of the project, ie, about page 4). So it’s basically:

1. Sew Back to Sleeves
2. Sew Hood to Back/Sleeves
3. Sew Lower front panels to Sleeves
4. Install zipper
5. Sew side seams
6. Sew Lycra bindings

The biggest flaw on this jacket is that the left and right front lower panel seams ended up offset by about 1/2”. Yikes! I think this is because I made the grevious mistake of starting from the armpit on one of the seams and ending at the zipper, so errors were compounded and the mismatch ended up front and center. FAIL! Lesson learned: always start that seam from the zipper so you know it’s starting out where it’s supposed to be.

I used Lycra binding on the cuffs, hood, and bottom hem, and that took a bit of practice, as well. With UL fabric, I found that you have to be careful to ensure that when you fold the Lycra back over in the “Lycra 2” step, you catch the ripstop in the fold. Otherwise, the Lycra just gets sewn to itself. It takes three fingers of both hands and frequent pins to do it but it ended up working pretty well.

Finishing the Lycra ends also took a bit of practice. Since the presser foot can’t really run over the zipper, you can’t get close enough to the zipper. Instead, I just ran it “backwards”. In other words, I put the fabric at the back of the machine with only an inch left to sew (as if I were almost done with that section) and let it approach the zipper that way. I sewed that inch and when I got to within about 1/8” of the zipper, I spun it 90 degrees and let it run off the end of the Lycra. That gave it a pretty secure finish.

At first I wasn’t quite sure I was going to like this pattern. It was totally different than the Kinsman which is a more traditional jacket design. I wasn’t sure how adjustments were going to affect fit, due to it’s unconventional patterning. But I ended up liking it a lot and the small number of panels makes it fast to put together. And after doing French seams with a 3 oz Primalofted Kinsman, doing them with UL ripstop only was super easy. They are microscopically thin, very narrow, and they look very professional. With a rotary cutter I was able to trim the first seam to about 1/16” and the resulting finished seam is very unobtrusive.

After figuring out the pattern and making the jacket, I now am a fan of this jacket! I might use it for an insulated jacket in the future.

The finished jacket (roughly an XL) with a hood and a full #3 zipper weighs 2.40 ounces. I’m liking that a lot!  ;)

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