I’m just going to say it: I’m pretty pleased with myself. This jacket goes beyond my expectations and initial vision. When does that happen?
I had just pictured a boxy short jacket in a tweedy but interesting fabric, and even worked up two muslins of V9247 to perfect the fit and work on my techniques.
Then, I threw all that work out the window and cut straight into this amazing fabric I splurged on with a brand new pattern.
So the standout feature here is the stripes. I ended up going with the McCall’s jacket once I got an itch to play with directionality. This pattern offers so many opportunities for pattern and stripe play! I went with on-grain horizontal for the main portions, with vertical stripes for the contrasts, and an added bias cut front yoke for a diagonal. While I had planned on keeping the details minimal to focus on the fabric, sometimes an intense fabric can work within a more-is-more context. (Right? No? Maybe?…) Whether it worked or not is subjective, but at this point I seriously couldn’t care less. I had so much fun making this jacket that wearing it is actually a secondary concern.
I also added some interior pockets, since I’m a big fan of being purse-free when I can be. (You know, the better to chase after a toddler…) I added a phone pocket and an ID/library card pocket. We’ll see how well they function, but it was worth a shot to put in the extra few steps to make this piece really wearable. Skimping on details used to be okay for me, but as a parent, functionality wins EVERY time. I may as well add those details instead of reaching for a boring but pocket-rich jacket every day. I just interfaced the interior to provide support, with a double layer along the bottom of the pocket. I can’t yet endorse this method — we’ll see how it all holds up. (Edited to add: I’m going to be adding at least one row of stitching at the bottom of the phone pocket through all layers to reinforce it — the weight of the phone can drag down the entire front. Thankfully, I think my fabric will camouflage this.)
I also made a solid effort at craftsmanship, adding fusible weft to the front and back yokes, the armholes, hem, and cuffs. It makes it a bit heavy (thinking ahead to summer), but it’s just right for spring and fall and feels more substantial – – by which I mean, less homemade and more handmade.
In all honesty, I’m not sure how long this jacket will last. It has some chunky fibers that look like they could easily catch on things. Even with this possibility, I had such a good time putting effort and care into this garment.
Well, the third time I had to cut out the front bands (and re-fuse the interfacing, sigh…) because of a spacial intelligence glitch on my part, it became slightly less fun. As in, a lot less fun. But I worked through it and didn’t get upset, reminding myself to breathe and just take things one step at a time. I often wonder about the inner life of other sewists out there. Sewing can release the absolute worst in me (pouting, shouting, swearing, and taking things far too seriously and personally), but also offers so many opportunities for growth. Being able to work through challenging processes is a gift, and I’m finally old enough to realize that.
This jacket feels like a level-up for me. I’m realizing that I’ve been vastly overestimating my sewing skills for years, and they’re actually at a decent point now. Like, I’m finally where I thought I was 10 years ago but really knew nothing because I’d only sew a couple of garments a year and promptly forget everything. I’m more able to choose techniques and fabrics that are appropriate to the garment I’m envisioning, and figure out where things went wrong when something doesn’t come out right. (What, me make a mistake? Never!)
Okay, back to the pattern. This pattern has no darts or fitting, so it’s quite boxy. I cut a straight size (an 8, which is my go-to for Big 4 tops that aren’t super-fitted). The bracelet length sleeves are perfect for most of the year in Silicon Valley and feel less formal. I feel like the sleeves might be a little wide for my chicken arms. That said, I’m not going to go back and adjust this jacket; I’ll just consider it a way to layer sweaters under the jacket in fall and spring.
The construction is straightforward, with no curveballs to speak of. Hooray! There are a lot of pieces to cut out, so be prepared with patience and pins. The jacket is lined, but the instructions require a lot of handstitching. I don’t mind handstitching, but I’ve been working on my bagging method and couldn’t wait to try it out again, so I eschewed the instructions completely and it wasn’t a problem.
I can picture so many more of these jackets, but I don’t think my closet can take it! I’m so excited to add a piece to my self-sewn collection that feels a bit extra, both in style and in sewing details. Perfect to sling over a white t-shirt and torn jeans, or to top off an LBD and be super chic. I am just dying for someone to toss a compliment my way so that I can toss a quick, “Thanks! I made it!” right back to them.
I would recommend this pattern as a fun sew that leaves plenty of opportunity for customization, pattern play, and details. I would say the same of V9247 — lots of opportunity to add details, but with a few more fitting details (shoulder and bust darts), fewer pieces (perfect for prints you wouldn’t want to break up), and no lining (mine was self-drafted). You probably don’t need both in your collection, but I would recommend either without hesitation.
And that wraps it up! Welcome to the closet my Natty Neon Don’t-Worry-I’m-Only-Slightly-a-Badass Jacket!