New Designs: Prototyping


I have been sweating away over here in the creative tank so to speak working on 6 new jacket designs.  Many of my jackets are my own interpretations of original work, or simply inspired by the techniques of original work.  On occasion there are original jackets that are so amazing and so perfect that I cannot bear to subtract or add to them in any way.  Every once and a while a piece is so unique, with such a primitive pattern that it is hard not to just pay homage to the design.

My next six jackets will include some “homage” and some not.  I also was getting a lot of heat from Nancy asking when I was going to build a woman’s jacket.  Well…the girl rider is on the way.  I am looking for an appropriately Canadian name for the jacket.  Every name I pick has a reference to something Canadian and in my life.  I believe it is super important to emphasize that the U.S. and Canadian fashion industries have been more or less integrated since the 1880s and that many of the great pieces of clothing and brands had in some part a Canadian influence.  Lightning zipper (the second zipper company) was here in St. Catherines, Ontario and many of the jackets in my collections and Rin Tanaka’s books are in fact Canadian jackets!


When you design a prototype pattern the pattern maker wants a name for the model right away to label the pieces.  Unlike children that wait to be born to be named, my team put pressure on me to get the names to the jackets before I even see a completed sample.  Usually I have one by the time I have finished the drawings, and in some circumstances I honour the original manufacturer if in fact I am copying their jacket.  In the case of this girl jacket I am vexed. I have an idea…it is percolating.  Nancy on the other hand has put in her bid. When I get my first sample made up I might throw it up on the blog and take some suggestions or at least vet the names I have.  I might not if something magical comes to me before month’s end!





Cordovan Horsehide: The Best of Japan and Himel Bros.
Reece 101 Button Holer: Becoming an Expert


  1. Beautiful photos. Mmmm, one of those white cloth mock ups with the off-centred zipper looks very similar to a ‘Score’ of Toronto motorcycle jacket. Am I warm?

  2. Well….I have this 1940s Score horsehide jacket…and I just could not resist. There are almost none of these jackets in the world and I own 4 of them. Truly a great original design with one flaw that I am trying to figure out. The shirt cant be worn unzipped!

  3. What is that black buttoned horsehide jacket, and when was it made? It looks absolutely beautiful!

  4. Oh that jacket is an original pre 1930s railroad jacket made by a very very special company W. Shanhouse and Sons….Rockford Ill. there specialty was leather and work wear for the emerging automobile industry. You can read about them on my other blog.


  5. I think I’m starting to fall in love with that W. S and Sons… Only I prefer zippers to buttons. I’m anxiously waiting to see your new designs, I’m sure they’ll be fascinating. I have started to save up, I’m deffinitely going to get one of your jackets. And After that… I’m never again going to buy another leather jacket, at least until that one gives up on me. But… somehow I seriously think that’s gonna be unlikely. ;)

  6. Yeah every time I see a Shanhouse I get giddy!

  7. I have a metal button that says SHANHOUSE ROCKFORD IL. Could you please tell me something about it? It is 3/4 ” slightly concave and thin.

    Thank you

    Gail Walz
    1058 NW Troost St
    Roseburg Or 97471

  8. I would love to see pics of that button…send it along in an email…..

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