customizing with oliver + s: nature walk pullover as beat it jacket

Today we welcome Julie Bossert to our Customizing series.  I (Kristin) saw Julie’s in-progress photos of this amazing jacket on Instagram, found out from my friend Jessica that it was an adapted Nature Walk Pullover, and simply had to see if Julie would contribute a post about her creation here!  Lucky for us, she was game.     

Oliver + S Nature Walk Pullover as Beat It jacket

Hi!  My name is Julie Bossert.  I own Sewn Studio, a modern fabric shop and sewing studio in Cincinnati, Ohio.  We are big Oliver + S fans at Sewn. They are by far our best-selling patterns, and when working on a project, every member of the Sewn staff would prefer to sew from an Oliver + S pattern than any other.

We’re also big Michael Jackson fans. So, when I needed (yes, needed) to make an infant-sized MJ “Beat It” jacket, I went straight to the Oliver + S patterns. You remember that jacket, don’t you?

Although there is no baby-sized-jacket-with-an-obscene-number-of-zippers, I noticed that the collar and general shape of the Nature Walk Pullover were exactly what I was looking for.

nature walk pullover into beat it jacket

Do you see it? I do!

With a few changes, and a whole lot of zippers, I turned that pullover into this.

nature walk pullover as beat it jacket tutorial

In case you also need to make a Beat It jacket for your little moonwalker, here’s how I did it.

I used Robert Kaufman’s 21 Wale Corduroy in flame, YKK zippers in the color Grey Kitty, Michael Miller’s Mirror Ball Dots, and Windham Fabrics Spin in black for the lining.

nature walk pullover as beat it jacket tutorial

I printed the digital version of the Nature Walk Pullover. To make the jacket, I didn’t need all of the pattern pieces. I used only pieces 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 10.

nature walk pullover into thriller jacket

I taped piece 1 to piece 10 to make the front pattern piece, and piece 3 to piece 4 to make the back pattern piece. Pieces 5 and 6 combined to make the full sleeve pattern piece. The back piece was the only piece that needs to be cut on a fold.

nature walk pullover as beat it jacket tutorial

I used photos of the King of Pop wearing the iconic jacket to determine zipper placement, and inserted the zippers (22 of them!) before sewing the jacket pieces together. I put a strip of fusible interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric before cutting each zipper opening. I pressed the edges of the zipper opening to the wrong side, and pinned the zipper in place before stitching around the edge of the opening to secure the zipper. Each zipper is fully functional!

nature walk pullover as beat it jacket tutorial

nature walk pullover as beat it jacket tutorial

The sleeves are attached with separating zippers, making them removable (sweet!).

nature walk pullover as beat it jacket tutorial

I love the way those baby arms look coming out of those zipper-trimmed armholes!

I opened each separating zipper, and sewed the zipper halves to the shoulders and sleeves, before I sewed each sleeve into a cylinder and closed the side seams of the jacket. Then, I just zipped each sleeve into place.

nature walk pullover as beat it jacket tutorial

This little guy is ready to “Beat It!”

nature walk pullover as beat it jacket tutorial

nature walk pullover as beat it jacket tutorial

You better run, you better do what you can

Don’t wanna see no blood, don’t be a macho man

You wanna be tough, better do what you can

So beat it, just beat it….

nature walk pullover as beat it jacket tutorial

Now your little one can “Beat It,” too.  I hope you’ll share a photo of your Beat It jacket in the Oliver + S Flickr Group.  Shamon!

Thanks for having me on the blog today. I love this project and it was so fun to share it!

It’s so ridiculously awesome . Thanks so much for joining us, Julie!  You can keep up with Sewn Studio by following their blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and/or newsletter.  


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  1. Julie, you are AMAZING. And clearly dangerous when it comes to tackling big sewing projects. Thanks so much for contributing this!

  2. OMG so cute makes me long for the days when I could dress my babies in whatever I wanted.

  3. This is one of the coolest projects that I’ve seen in a long time! So fun!

  4. Erin Waters

    This is seriously the best thing I have seen! I don’t love putting in zippers, so I could never make it, but HOLY COW! It’s awesome!

  5. DianeY

    I Amin total amazement!

  6. This jacket is incredible!

  7. Suzie

    Julie, this is so awesome…I am happy to be a customer and friend of your shop, and proud of you for such an amazing project!

  8. Andrea

    This is amazing. I’m not often floored by mods to Oliver +S patterns, but this one took me down memory lane in a crazy way!

  9. So awesome! Looks like it took a ton of time & patience 🙂

  10. Helena

    This is just amazing, love it!

  11. and THIS is why the Nature Walk will always be my favourite Oliver +S pattern!
    Seriously awesome. My son loves Beat It and has been wanting the jacket too. I’ve been too lazy/scared to tackle all the zips. Bravo to you, it’s brilliant!

  12. Michelle

    Wow. Wow. Wow. This is just incredible and inspiring. Nice work!

  13. Emili Day

    Geez, Julie. Its so awesome. And I heart your shop. Its the ONLY place to shop for fabric in Cincinnati.

  14. Shut the front door! This is AMAZING!!!! Easily the coolest thing I have seen all month!

  15. Sarah Day

    Can’t say what hasn’t already been said… but Holy Smokes! That is so cool. Nice work.

  16. Lexi

    Hi do you do custom orders if I wanted you to make this for me?!

  17. Amy

    I want to make one. I was just wondering, when you said that each zipper is functional, does that mean that there are a ton of pockets? Or, do they just open into the lining?

  18. Jill

    This is amazing! My son has been begging for a “Beat It” jacket for his 3rd birthday. How do you add the shoulder embellishments?

    1. Julie Bossert

      Hi Jill! I’m scrolling through the tutorials tonight, checking out what’s new and looking for inspiration, and I noticed your comment. It’s so fun to see that this project still gets an occasional view! I loved making this little jacket. Michael’s original jacket appears to have something like rhinestones on the shoulders. I wanted my version to be wearable, so I needed something washable, and soft enough for a baby. Michael Miller’s Mirror Ball Dots came to mind. I found a fat quarter in a shade of silver (the official name of this color is “platinum”) for sale on Etsy and bought it. I applied the silver pieces to the shoulder of each front bodice piece, right over the corduroy. All but one side of each silver piece became a seam allowance when the jacket was constructed, so I only top-stitched the one edge. I created the shape of the shoulder pieces from the photo of Michael’s jacket. That’s it! I love the Mirror Ball Dots because they are shiny without being hard or sparkly. The Mirror Ball Dots are not a current collection, but they are still available for sale online (try Etsy or EBay). Or, choose something entirely different. You are the artist!
      Good luck, and I’d love to see a photo if you decide to give it a try! ~Julie Bossert

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