Men’s Black Denim Zippered Jacket


Maybe it’s because my hair is graying, but I’m finding black denim much more flattering to me than blue denim these days.

I’d recently purchased two and a half yards of stiff black 100% cotton denim at Mood Fabrics in New York City and I knew it would be perfect for a not-quite-winter shell-type jacket I could wear over sweaters. (This black Ralph Lauren denim would be perfect.)  I much prefer layers to a single cold-weather garment: with global warming, you never know what the temperature will be.

If I told you my jacket was based on a 1930’s men’s pajama top pattern (Advance 2141, below), would you believe me?



It’s true!

I’d tried on an expensive Comme des Garcons black zippered jacket in New York City last month, and it inspired me to try to whip up something in the same vein. The pajama top had similar elements (notched collar, off-center zipper, side pockets, 3/4 length) so I thought, why not?

I made a few changes. Rather than add buttons, I inserted an antique brass YKK zipper into the outer edge of the left front, and split the right front (using the facing piece as my guide and adding seam allowances) and stitched the other side of the zipper between the two right front pieces so it mirrored the left front (like a classic motorcycle jacket).


Rather than use the shapeless one-piece sleeve that’s part of the original pattern, I added a more tailored two-piece sleeve, along with two single-welt side pockets and a zippered left breast pocket for iPhone or wallet.






The lines of the jacket are simple and somewhat uniform-like.  The boxy fit gives it a vintage 30’s/40’s feel and leaves room for sweaters.

I don’t think this jacket reads “pajama top” — do you?



My denim jacket is unlined, but the under-pockets are made with the same denim to keep things clean-looking inside.


This super-comfortable jacket is a great addition to my wardrobe. Worn alone or over a bulky sweater, it’s a neat twist on typical denim jackets and very easy to wear.

MORAL: Don’t overlook all those vintage men’s pajama patterns out there — they’re rich with possibilities.

See you in the new year!




  • Daniel D
    December 1, 2015

    WOW! Stunning! I hope to accomplish this one day.

  • Kate
    December 1, 2015

    Peter! I think some your selfish sewing recently has been some of your best work. In the straight face pictures you look very editorial.

  • Juliana
    December 1, 2015

    That is a great jacket, Peter! I really love the moto-esque feel to it, and it looks absolutely professionally finished. Well done!!

  • Christine Chin
    December 1, 2015

    Wow, that is fantastic. I looooove how the zipper melds into the collar. I may have to incorporate that into a future jacket. It is totally a testament to your skill that you can whip something like that out!

  • Cennetta
    December 1, 2015

    Peter, You are such an inspiration. Great looking jacket.

  • Pamo
    December 1, 2015

    That is one swell jacket! And the journey from inspiration to execution is inspiring.

  • oonaballoona
    December 1, 2015

    Peter, that is absolute perfection.

  • Victoria
    December 1, 2015

    Great jacket. What’s the story on the pants? I don’t remember seeing them before.

    • Peter
      December 1, 2015

      I made those pants in 2009, shortly after I started sewing (using a jeans pattern). I wish i could find more of that fabric, which I purchased from a fabric store that’s no longer around. I still love those pants!

  • Diane
    December 1, 2015

    Amazing! So professional looking – it all just ‘works’!

  • Anonymous from Grimsby
    December 1, 2015

    Is it me, or are you getting handsomer and handsomer??

  • Alice
    December 1, 2015


  • Sharon
    December 1, 2015


  • Carolyn
    December 1, 2015

    Peter – this is amazing! I love how you had the vision to see beyond the pattern to this designer reproduction. Fantastic!

  • Fiona
    December 2, 2015

    A) I love that you tried on and expensive jacket and then made your own better
    B) I love that wallet pocket
    C) LOVE that it was a pyjama pattern!
    You’re so clever Peter!

  • clio
    December 2, 2015

    This really looks very smart on you, Peter!

  • DebB
    December 2, 2015

    That jacket is a winner! Your projects are always an inspiration.

  • Sarah Gunn
    December 2, 2015

    What magic you worked on that pajama top pattern, Peter! It’s a fantastic jacket, and I like you in black denim too.

  • Amanda S.
    December 4, 2015

    The outerwear king strikes again! Another great jacket from you, Peter.

  • Sew Busy Lizzy
    December 7, 2015

    You really knnow how to drill out a fabulous menswear garment Peter! I’m in awe of your pockets as having wrestled though zipper pockets with my moto jacket early this year, I know they take A LOT of patience. I love how this started as a PJ top. Hilarious and brilliant

  • Lori
    December 7, 2015

    Your sewing talent always amazes me, this jacket is spectacular.