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Sporty Cool: Moto Style

Feb 26, 2014

Moto style is all the rage right now, and although I'm not one to slavishly follow fashion trends, this is one that I really like! A zipper here, a leather accent there . . . it's a good look!

The Sport Zip Jacket by Vicki Square
I was looking at knitting patterns that embrace this style and I came upon Vicki Square's Sport Zip, from her book Light and Layered Knits. This zip-up jacket is super stylish and cool.

In the Sport Zip, Vicki uses alternating textures of stockinette and reverse stockinette define the vertical shaping and accent the triangle detail at the center back yoke. The lower edges of the body and sleeves are hemmed with facings (which are joined along the way) that create doubled fabric for stability and are reminiscent of well-tailored garments, complete with faux seams. The zipper provides a bold contrast to the tailored look and is topped off with a ribbed collar and a tabbed two-button closure.

Knit hem on the Sport Zip jacket by Vicki Square, from Light & Layered Knits
Know Your Yarn:
Mercerized Cotton

John Mercer of England invented the mercerization process in 1844, but it was nearly fifty years before H.A. Lowe improved and popularized the treatment. Mercerization increases luster, strength, and affinity for dye on long cotton fibers. During the process, a chemical structural alteration causes the cell walls to enlarge and have a greater reflecting surface. Knitters enjoy the resulting softer feel and the more radiant color.
I especially like the hems at the bottom and cuffs. Here's how you work a knitted hem:

1. Cast on provisionally (I like the crochet chain method) and knit several rows in stockinette.

2. Work a turning ridge on the right side, which is just a purl row.

3. Knit the same amount of rows in St st that you knit before the turning row.

4. Remove the wast yarn from the provisional cast-on and place the live stitches onto a needle (usually one or two sized smaller than the needle you're using for the rest of the sweater).

5. Fold the fabric so the wrong sides are facing and your needles are parallel, and knit the live stitches together, as if you're doing a three needle bind-off, but of course, you don't bind off!

Easy peasy.

The Sport Zip is a beautiful sweater. Because it's knit with mercerized cotton, it's soft and it's got that nice sheen to it that reflects the light. Read more about mercerized cotton in the sidebar at right.

Detail of three-needle-bind-off
on shoulder seam
We're having a book sale, and Light and Layered Knits is part of it. Get your copy now!


P.S. What do you think of the moto style—yay or nay? Leave a message and cast your vote!

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Sewfine60 wrote
on Mar 31, 2014 6:39 PM

I knitting this one for sure!  What yarn did you use?

Hollywoodtoo wrote
on Mar 3, 2014 3:05 PM

I love this detail!  I have already used it for hats.

It makes such a fine finished look!  Very Chic!

Hollywoodtoo wrote
on Mar 3, 2014 3:05 PM

I love this detail!  I have already used it for hats.

It makes such a fine finished look!  Very Chic!

Hollywoodtoo wrote
on Mar 3, 2014 3:05 PM

I love this detail!  I have already used it for hats.

It makes such a fine finished look!  Very Chic!

on Mar 2, 2014 2:12 PM

I love the moto style!!!

I like the shape of this jacket/cardigan, it's cool, yet not showy.

I have made myself a jacket in a similar style, just a little more festive. It's in a pink wool that has metallic elements which make it sparkly. It doesn't have the zipper, it just closes with buttons at the neck and the waist, with lapels making a nice front opening. I agree with L.R. Cote, the choice of buttons is very important, with this style.

I love my wool moto-style jacket, and I love the fact that (even my Mom says) this motorcycle jacket looks classy and feminine.

LindaTait wrote
on Mar 1, 2014 4:08 PM

I was enjoying reading the comments for and against this moto style. (I'm a curvy shaped woman for whom I don't think this would be particularly flattering.)

I also found Wendy's comment interesting regarding material choice.  

Ethical considerations are one of the things I am conscious of when shopping, but I find it is as complex and multifaceted as untangling last year's Christmas lights. Man-made fibers have their own issues, as does cheap imported natural fibers. My favourite yarn this year was a locally grown and dyed wool that was like heaven to hold and work with. All things being equal, buying local is my first preference as it supports jobs in my area. It also reduces environmental cost of transportation. Lastly I can be more certain about the working conditions of the workers

As for cotton killing when it's wet.... I lived in the tropics for many years. In that heat, it was the fabric of choice. Anything else wasn't cool enough.

Please keep up the discussion, however multifaceted our various opinions are.

L.R.Cote wrote
on Feb 28, 2014 10:25 AM

I love this look! Cardigans are an integral part of my wardrobe, and this can be worn as a cardi or zipped up as a top on a cool day.

I find the zipper a little intimidating, though, and I might not bother with it. I like the tabbed two-button closure, and might leave it at that.  A good button or two can make it a real standout!

wittrj wrote
on Feb 26, 2014 4:25 PM

Can't say whether I like the style or not;  I didn't like this cardigan at all.  Maybe I'd like it in the previous poster's denim yarn, meaning a less blah color.  I think I'd like it better if it looked and fitted a bit more like an aviator-style leather jacket - bigger in the shoulders.

on Feb 26, 2014 3:16 PM

I love the clean lines and shaping of the zip jacket! I would probably make it out of wool . . .

judydunn wrote
on Feb 26, 2014 2:19 PM

Could you explain why the ebook costs $3 more than the paperback book????

There is no seeming rationale explanation that I can think of.

Lace8849 wrote
on Feb 26, 2014 1:42 PM

I love this pattern, and plan to use it for some Rowan Denim yarn I've been hoarding -- sort of a cross between a jeans jacket and a moto jacket. It should be great.

Pam@195 wrote
on Feb 26, 2014 11:31 AM

Too militaristic for me!

kmp803 wrote
on Feb 26, 2014 9:23 AM

I like the style, and the knitting details.  However, I don't think it would look good on my 1X body!

on Feb 26, 2014 7:44 AM

Love the look and structure of this jacket, but I have been "off" cotton ever since I met a young woman who had grown up in South Carolina and worked as a student in the cotton fields.  Not only was it very hard work for which the workers were payed by the weight of hand picked poofs of cotton, the growing methods meant that the land that she had worked on only 10 years previously had been rendered completely useless for growing anything.  Even organically grown cotton takes tremendous amounts of water.  The mercerization process adds even more chemicals to the fibre.  Then there is the fact that cotton retains moisture leading to the outdoorsy community's saying 'cotton kills'.  If you are out in the cold with a cotton layer that becomes damp from perspiration, you can become dangerously cold.  This is why it takes forever to dry a cotton sweater, it hangs on to moisture.  All the best, Wendy Leigh-Bell