Olympia Nomad motorcycle jacket: nice jacket, well constructed inside and out
Textile motorcycle jackets are really for one time crash use, then they are trashed. “Face”, from Toronto, Ontario, Canada had bought an Olympia Nomad textile motorcycle jacket in May 2012, then lowsided at 80 mph in Montana in July 2012. With only a couple of months of use and about $300US later, it was a shame to trash the jacket. We opted to try a repair of the damage. The jacket had minor melting and a hole in the left elbow, some teeth missing from one of the air vent zippers, small rips of the cordura that covered the zipper, and abrasion and stitching destroyed in the slide. The right elbow had a couple seams abraded away that needed to be resewn.
I could see it in his eyes and voice that Face was heartbroken when he trashed his new jacket. Face tried to buy a new outer shell from Olympia but they refused, saying that the jacket is manufactured in China as a set (outer, inner and vest) and was not available in pieces. He broke his right hand, dislocated his left elbow, with some minor abrasion of his left forearm. The crash site on the textile jacket did not wear through to the inner liner or armour and therefore not to his skin. There was some very minor melting of the cordura to itself, but only about 5mm that folded onto itself and fused. This is quite minor. Overall the jacket kept the armour in place and saved Face from more extensive injury. The jacket certainly did its job.
Olympia Nomad motorcycle jacket repair: damage of the left elbow includes ripped stitches. slight melting (5mm) of cordura onto itself, an abraded hole, zipper for vent broke a couple teeth, abraded velcro and cordura.
Olympia Nomad motorcycle jacket repair: left forearm vent zipper cordura abraded away in multiple places.
Olympia Nomad motorcycle jacket repair: left forearm vent zipper teeth broken and missing in multiple places.
The required repair needed included:
- ¤ resewing broken and abraded stitches in the right elbow
- ¤ reinforce the cordura that covered the left forearm vent zipper. Patch the holes in the cordura
- ¤ replace the right forearm vent zipper
- ¤ remove the velcro and heat seal the abraded areas of cordura
- ¤ reinforce and patch the hole in the cordura at the left elbow
- ¤ restitch all the abraded stitching on the left elbow
- ¤ patch the left elbow area with a piece of leather
- ¤ restitch the velcro strap
The right elbow had some minor ripped seams, so I had to rip open the jacket through the main zipper in order to get between the outer and inner layers, do the repair of the outer shell and not sew into the inner liner. The restitch of these seams was uneventful. I used upholstery thread made of polyester to do this, using my patcher sewing machine.
There was no way for me to match the original cordura from Olympia. This stuff is almost proprietary, with the jacket made in China. Finding a match would prove near impossible, so I gave up. Local sewing stores do not even stock cordura of any colour, and had no suitable substitute materials. Even a close match of similar colour cordura would be difficult. After some searching I found a donor piece of soft sided cordura luggage that was similar in texture and colour.
The left elbow repair needed to be done from the inside. The main zipper on the left side of the jacket was ripped open near the sleeve in order to get between the inner liner and outer material. It was challenging to work on the elbow because of the bunching up of the sleeve material.
Olympia Nomad Motorcycle jacket repair: left sleeve forearm vent zipper cordura. Turn sleeve inside out, to patch the multiple holes from the inside with cordura. Patch was glued from the inside and then stitched from the outside. The outside stitching will be covered up with two cordura patches.
Once the holes in the cordura were reinforced and repaired for the left forearm vent zipper, I replaced the broken zipper. The zipper had teeth broken off from the crash and could not be saved. The zipper replacement used a plastic YKK zipper of the same style and colour. It was tricky to sew because of the multiple layers of material and the two parts of the zipper, one part on the jacket body and one part on the vent cover. These needed to match up so that the vent cover could be zipped up evenly. The original zipper from Olympia was not YKK, which is not good. Why cheap out on zippers?
Olympia Nomad Motorcycle jacket repair: left sleeve hole in cordura at elbow. Turn sleeve inside out, to patch the hole from the inside with cordura. Patch was glued from the inside and then stitched from the outside. The outside stitching will be covered up with a larger leather patch. View from outside.
Olympia Nomad Motorcycle jacket repair: left sleeve abraded seams and cordura at elbow repaired. Cordura was heat sealed to prevent fraying. All abraded stitching was double stitched. This repair will be covered up with a larger leather patch. View from outside.
This part of the repair is hidden by the leather patch but is critical. Much of the elbow stitching was abraded and weakened by the crash. The abraded cordura was heat sealed to prevent further fraying. The elbow was split in a couple of areas and needed to be restitched to maintain the integrity of the elbow. All seams were double stitched.
Olympia Nomad Motorcycle jacket repair: left sleeve leather patch at elbow sewn, velcro strap resewn. Also note the two cordura patches at the forearm zipper vent.
A template was made for the leather patch. I chose a 3-4 oz piece of chrome tanned full grain cow hide leather because I wanted as strong a piece of leather as possible. There happened to be dimples in the leather of this piece, and you know this is from a real cow. The leather patch was skived on the edges so that the patch edges would be thinner and lay flatter once stitched. The patch was glued and then stitched. Once the patch was stitched the velcro strap was stitched to the top of the leather patch. The leather was protected with multiple layers of Super Sheen acrylic top coat for water resistance and protection.
Overall the repair went well though it was involved. If there was more damage to the jacket it would not be economical to repair it. I was impressed that the Olympia jacket was very well made, and it showed when I pulled it inside out. As someone who has lived in China and has also bought inferior Chinese products, I was skeptical at first. You can tell the quality of a garment when you see the internal stitching as there is nothing that can be hidden when you see a jacket from the inside out. In this Olympia Nomad there was very little fraying of material and no odd and uncut threads inside the jacket. Note that Olympia does not use YKK zippers, something that I look for in a garment. They should not cheap out like that. I would buy and recommend Olympia as a good brand name in the future. Maybe my next jacket will be an Olympia.
Repairing a complex garment such as a motorcycle jacket is not for a novice sewer. To do the repair correctly and strongly takes time, equipment and technique. There are so many important details that can be covered up that you will never see, so find someone that you trust to repair your jacket. Do it right the first time.