This pattern, Simplicity 2443, was one of the first patterns I bought when I started sewing garments, and I knew right from the start that I wanted to make the jacket in gray corduroy with inside seams bound in lime green. I bought the fabric for it eons ago, and then every fall and spring I pulled it out and included the jacket in my seasonal sewing plans, only to have it pushed out by no time/other stuff. But not this time! Thanks, Pattern Review contest, for getting my butt in gear! Again!
The funny thing about finally getting to a project that’s been planned forever is I think I went in overconfident. Pshhaw, what, just a collarless unlined jacket? Easy peasy, I’ve made more complicated things than this! Bags, lined dresses, a Minoru! Yeah, well, turns out I have not totally mastered this sewing thing. I will confess that I was totally thwarted by the pockets. Apparently nothing brings a haughty sewist down a peg like rounded corners. I tried stitching along the foldline and pressing under along the stitching, but couldn’t get the corners smooth or even. I tried making a cereal box template and pressing around that, same thing. I tried cutting a lining for the pockets, stitching and turning, but I’m not good enough at sewing tight curves to make them even. Then I shouted and threw the pockets across the room, which somehow didn’t miraculously make the pockets look good. Then I sighed, cut more pocket pieces, and changed the rounded corners to angled ones. That, I can sew. I kept the pocket lining on the lower pockets, because I had cut it out, and it made it easier to guarantee the corners would be symmetrical, and it matched the lining I used for the pocket flap facing (I also redrafted the flap to not have any curves). Unfortunately the lining fabric is light gray and it peeks out a little on the edges of the lower pockets, when viewed from the side. Well, at least they don’t look like they were sewn by a 5-year-old. Hopefully.
But once the pockets were done, it was relatively smooth sailing. I say relatively because the bias bound seams, while not challenging conceptually, were sure fiddly. Really, really fiddly. I made my own double fold bias tape, which I suppose is as easy as everyone says, but what they’re not saying is that it. takes. forever. (And, in a bout of rash unthinking, I turned my entire piece of this green fabric into bias tape and didn’t leave any for the pocket flap facing/pocket lining. Sad. But I do have a ton of lime dot bias tape now.) Additionally, it is really hard to sew 1/4 inch bias tape over a single layer raw edge – my stitching wanders quite a bit and several times I didn’t catch the edge and I had to rip out a section and do it over… Don’t get me wrong, I’m so glad I did it and I love love love the effect – just don’t look too closely at the stitching. (I just sewed the binding on with gray thread to avoid constantly rethreading my machine throughout the project, but let’s pretend that contrast stitching was a design choice, okay?) Here’s a peak at the inside:
I’m really pleased with the fit of the jacket – I took a chance and just made a straight size 10 and it totally worked out. I generally make a 10 in the shoulders and grade out to a 12 at the waist, but reviews indicated that this jacket was boxy in the waist and I wanted a more fitted look, so by not grading I effectively narrowed the seams toward the waist. The only other adjustment I made was to slightly decrease the amount of ease in the sleevecap. It’s still got the poufy look without being too poufy.
I did include all the frou-frou details, with the exception of the ribbon ties (I just didn’t think that dangling ribbons would really fit in with my lifestyle). I don’t think I’ll put buttons on it either – I don’t really need it to close and the lack of buttons or ties doesn’t bother me for some reason. I put on the pointless tab things inbetween the pockets because they cover the point of the dart, and because they’re delightfully random. I toyed with the idea of just making the sleeve cuff continuous and omitting the d-ring buckles, but I decided I kind of liked the industrial look and went for it, placket and all.
For the sleeve placket I decided to use the “magic” placket technique (I used this excellent tutorial) because it was my first ever placket and I thought this technique looked way easier than the Simplicity instructions and crazy shaped pattern piece. In retrospect, though, although the magic placket was simple, it was probably just as fiddly, and my fabric was a bit too thick to make it look elegant. It probably would have been safer to stick with the pattern. I’ll keep that technique in mind if I ever get around to making a cuffed shirtsleeve, though. Here you can kind of see the sleeve plackets:
I’m so glad I finally sewed up this jacket, and early enough in the season to get lots of wear out of it. It’s a great addition to not only my mini wardrobe, but also my whole wardrobe – I have a ton of things I can wear it with. It turned out pretty much exactly how I imagined it all that time ago. I am actually glad I procrastinated it until my skills had gotten better, though, or I might not have been able to fight through those pockets!
Here’s one last picture of the jacket with a sneak peak of my fourth item – the Thurlow shorts! Details soon.