This epic brocade jacket has been years in the making.
I cut out the fabric back in November of 2016, posted about in January 2017 (thinking this would be some kind of accountability that would force me to sew, hah!), and just now finished it in 2018.
The fabric was a birthday gift from my in-laws (seriously, how lucky am I?), and I wanted to do justice to it.
I was motivated, I was ready, and I was going to turn this into a whole personal workshop on coat-making technique and attention to detail. It was going to be perfect, because I was going to focus on each step carefully, lovingly, and thoughtfully. And then I would sashay around in the most gorgeous jacket ever known to man, confident that the inside was as overwhelmingly beautiful as the outside, and inspire raging jealousy wherever I went.
I was going for something like this:
Then — you’ve heard this before from me — I got pregnant. And my desire to sew flew out the window. I didn’t have the energy to do more than eat breakfast before needing a nap some days. So this poor garment stayed half finished for over a year, resting wistfully on my (equally ignored) dressform.
Now that my sewjo is back (and dude, is it ever!), it was time to finish off this precious UFO. This brocade definitely did not deserve to languish any longer. But that spirit of inspired perfectionism and focus I began the project with? Pfft…. long gone! Also long gone were the facings, front lining, and specialty interfacing I had carefully cut and prepared. Drat! I have no idea how I could have accidentally thrown them out, but they are nowhere to be found and I had to go buy more lining and recut those pieces.
So I would love to walk you through the techniques I used and the materials, and what I learned along the way. But I don’t remember any of it. I used some kind of fusible batting to add warmth, and an extra-stiff interfacing on the facings. Couldn’t tell you what kind.
I also had to start from scratch on figuring out a plan to add a lining to this garment. The pattern, Simplicity 8265, is definitely not intended as a warm weather garment or serious outerwear, but I wanted super streamlined clean lines to showcase the fabric instead of chopping it up. (I feel much less strongly about this now, and might have chosen a classic trench, which has been on my to-make list for YEARS.)
This jacket has darts at the front neckline and… well, that’s it. It doesn’t get much simpler (I even edited out the side slits), but it doesn’t include a lining.
It’s not hard to draft a lining (it’s not even really drafting, just cutting the existing pieces in slightly different configurations). But it does take a small bit of brainpower to get it all sorted, with the proper seam allowances and lengths to be able to bag it properly. Since I’m getting… oh, let’s be generous… about 4-5 hours of broken sleep a night, it felt like frickin’ calculus.
I also blame the Threads magazine tutorial I used (which I’m not linking to, because in the end, I don’t recommend it). While I’m sure it makes sense to the person who wrote it, I found it to be an organizational disaster that confused the hell out of me. In the end, after scrolling through that damn piece dozens of times, I used the same See Kate Sew tutorial that I used for my tricolor shantung jacket. (Which I’ve lost all memory of making, and I basically had to learn how to bag from scratch. Again. Good times.)
I also used the Grainline tutorial to finish off lining the sleeves. I did better than last time! I still managed to screw up a few things, but meh. (WHY is it SO confusing for me? I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do with the seam allowances when creating the hem and couldn’t find any directions that specified. Humbug!)
That whole, “can’t wait to make my most technically proficient garment ever” spirit? Sailed. Left. Skipped town. And frankly, good riddance. While I get frustrated that I make a ton of errors and mistakes and everyone else seems to, like, totally have awesome sewing skills I don’t have even though I’ve been sewing for decades, I’d rather just enjoy the process and have a slightly wonky end product. Yes, there’s a little bit of wonk to everything I make, this jacket included. But it’s not too bad, considering how I powered through it.
Okay, since so far this post has been of no help to anybody, here’s what I can tell you:
*Fusible batting doesn’t provide a ton of warmth. Definitely “late spring” weight.
*Consider sizing up in this pattern. Although the weight of this fabric is within the recommendations, it’s tight across the back and through the sleeves.
*Always crowdsource from Instagram. I couldn’t decide whether to make the jacket long like I originally cut it or shorten it, and I got a ton of feedback in a very short amount of time. It was awesome! I went with the wisdom of the crowd and shortened the jacket (but added back a couple of inches per suggestions).
*On that note, don’t fuse your batting on until you’ve finalized your length. My hems have batting in them, and they’re puffy, dammit.
*Also, don’t make amazing jackets that you don’t have ANYTHING to wear with. Seriously, I got nothing. White t-shirt and jeans is about it. Time to get sewing on some tops that will showcase this better and give me more excuses to wear my rad brocade jacket.
Okay, let’s wrap this up. Jacket? You’re pretty awesome, even if you’re not nearly as well-made as I planned. Welcome to the closet, my Fanciest Mom at the Park Brocade Jacket!
Love the jacket and love your perfectionist-planned turned normal-sewing reality! So totally me!!
Thanks, Lisa! I must be in good company then!