A Cloth Merchant

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Jean Jacket

Debbie Christensen denim finished project jacket

So I have this jacket, which is my very favorite jacket, and it has been with me for the past ten years at least. (I really can't believe I had the fashion sense to buy this in high school). It's been a rough decade for it. The elbows and armpits are blown out, the pockets have holes in them, there is bird pin stuck onto the pocket flap and it is very stabby, the armpits are stained, there are gobs of superglue on it...?

old jacket

I love it so much that I wanted to replace it exactly. I traced it using this technique. And I actually did my dress that same way. It's copied from a tank top (from the same era as the jacket, I believe), with the Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt attached.

I searched and searched for the perfect greenish-gray color, but no luck. I ended up using this bottom-weight cone denim. (The company we ordered this from doesn't reveal much about their fabric, they just call it "Cone Denim". So we can only assume it's American-made Cone Mills denim.) It's a raw (unwashed) denim, so I look forward to breaking it in. The original fabric is a lightweight canvas with some lycra, so I took a chance making it out of a non-stretch fabric.

denim jacket

This is definitely the coolest thing I've ever made. And the least homemade-looking. I really enjoyed sewing it, and the whole time I couldn't get over how awesome it was coming out. And how easy it was to make.

denim jacket

This denim was so nice to work with. It pressed well and held a crease, and flat-felled seams were so easy because they stayed put without any pins. Flat-felling over flat-felled seams was tough, but they don't look terrible.

For pockets and random trim I used Liberty of London Tana Lawn (of course) in Lagos Laurel D.

denim jacket

I even flat-felled the pointy back yoke! I topstitched with a dark brown thread and used horn buttons.

denim jacket

The fit pleases me, especially considering the fact that the lycra in the old jacket was all stretched out and stuff, so I figured the fit would be a little off. That may have helped translate into a non-stretch fabric, though. After making a muslin, the only change I had to make was to take out width from the back because it was giving me major humpback.

Also, I added 1/4" to the width of the sleeves, figuring tight denim sleeves wouldn't be the most comfortable thing. The sleeves are a little crunchy, so I guess I just have to power through it until this fabric chills out a little.

I think I could have made the jacket shorter. It hits below my waist, so it rides up and puffs out when I button it up. Which I almost never do.

denim jacket

I used to get my hands stuck in the pockets all the time, so I widened the welt opening from 3 1/2" to 4". Sadly, I still get my hands stuck in the pockets.

denim jacket

Don't have a ratty old jacket to trace? We don't carry any denim jacket sewing patterns, but you can find some similar ones to this by Burda or Style Arc.

I still plan on wearing my old jacket, by the way. I worked really hard to get it looking this good.

Layered over a sweatshirt, this used to be my winter coat. (That sweatshirt is also in my queue for tracing and remaking, actually).

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  • Heath Mason on

    It’s fabulous!!

  • Heath on

    It’s fabulous!! What a great job you did!

  • Ann on

    Inspiring! So happy to see young women embracing this art of cloth.

  • Emily on

    Love it! I bet it will break in beautifully!

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