Earlier this spring I saw the fabric on the Girl Charlee website and showed it to my mom because like me, she has a hard time resisting a tropical print. And I had always wanted to make the Jacket Express pattern for her. In fact I bought the Craftsy class to get the pattern, and figured I would make one for myself to try it. As it turned out that faded red denim jacket is something wear all the time. For this version I made a muslin in her size and when she tried it on she hated it. I was annoyed but now I can admit that the fit and shape were just not right. So I played around with it, adjusted some of the pieces and tried again. No luck. At that point she said "I like the denim jacket I have, can't you just make one like that?" um, yeah...but I was trying to avoid doing that. However in the end it was the better way to go.
OK, prepare your eyeballs but this one is a bit crazy.
But kind of cute in a novelty way. And it came out so well! Now I want to remake next year in a different denim.
Here is the original jacket which I copied. If you would like to see how I copy the garment here is a post where I copied my own denim jacket, and here is a post showing how I copied a shirt. That second post has more of the details on how to do it. I use a mixture of methods and I do recommend the Craftsy class on how to copy garments, it is quite good. Also the instructor (Steffani Lincecum) has a book on the topic which I got once at my local library so that is an option as well.
So my copy looks darn close to the original. I lightened up this dark denim one so you can see the seam lines. I think that jackets are actually the easiest thing to copy, as the pieces on a jacket are mostly small so while it may seem daunting, I just go step by step with all the components, then test the pattern.
And here is my mom modeling her pineapple jacket. The sleeves are long but she likes to flip up the cuffs so I just copied as is.
The only change I made from the original was to add a bit in the upper yoke to account for slight curvature at the upper back - which we will all have after years and years of hunching over computers etc. To accommodate that I added two darts which you can't even see on the outside but are more visible on the inside. I used plain white cotton for the back yoke to make it lighter and also so the pattern would not show through.
The jacket front is kind of interesting as it appeared to have very little shaping but as I copied the pieces I noticed that the center front panel is curved and makes a slight princess seam shape. Also that tricky center front panel is what creates the pocket bag, and while it was a bit of a pain to replicate it does work nicely.
You can see the front shaping better when the jacket is flat on my worktable. At the upper yoke is just a flap, no pocket as I drew the line on unusable pockets! But I thought it needed the flap. Although then I skipped the button there. Oh well.
I really learned a lot from that Craftsy Jacket Express class and used that order of construction here. Also the when, where and how to topstitch as she explains it is very good. That class is called "Sew Better Sew Faster" and it is apt. I think I made that first red denim jacket in about 9 hours and this one was even quicker.
One of the most important things in making your own pattern is to put lots of markings. Reference dots to mark where the collar ends, or were the yoke meets the sleeve. They really help when you go to sew it up.
Another look at mom, and about 10 minutes after I took this we jumped in the pool as it was over 100˚F that day. My folks put the pool in when my sister and I were about 2 and 4, we learned to swim that year and my dad always said that was one of the best "investments" he ever made :) Back in my pre-air-conditioned childhood, we were out there from morning to late at night. And my mom would say "sure, it's fine for you kids but I can't cook our dinner in the pool". Mothers always have the last word!
No more jackets for a while, I just sewed up some of my other Girl Charlee knits and also completed a dress for Heather using one of her fabrics from Mood in NY. So that will be on the blog soon.
I do have enough fabric left from this project - do you think a denim pineapple skirt for me would look goofy or fun? You know I am going to sew it up and see.
Stay cool and enjoy your summer sewing. Or step away from the machine and go outside! I think that's what I will do.
Today's SunnyGal garden photo is a Shasta daisy (I think that is what it is) that I got at a local plant sale. And it is finally spreading out a bit - I want that carpet of daisies to happen.