While I was sewing my sister’s wedding dress, my husband was keeping us alive by handling all of the cooking and household matters. I was enormously grateful. So grateful was I that I promised him that the first post-wedding project I would sew would be a jacket for him.
Here’s what happened:
- Eager to demonstrate my commitment to the project, I ordered the fabric immediately, in April.
- A wedding dress, a Gabriola, a dance costume and two shift dresses later, I ordered the pattern in mid-August.
- A Watson binge, two tops, and a skirt sloper even later, I started the muslin process in September and got thoroughly tied up in a sleeve fitting fit.
- After our trip to Japan in October, I told myself I couldn’t touch any of my newly acquired fabrics until I finished the jacket. And I desperately wanted to dig into that fabric, so it was done within a few weeks, with a sleeve fit that was good enough.
This was the first major project I’d felt up to since the wedding dress. No hand-stitching, of course, nor did it take nearly as many hours, but I did have a laundry list of design and fit changes to make the pattern, Vogue 8842, work for what I had in mind. The pattern looked more like a ski jacket, and I wanted something with a sporty fit in non-sporty materials -organic cotton twill for the shell, with a scrap of cotton-hemp for the hood lining, and rayon for the jacket lining.
The design changes I made form the alarmingly long list below:
- Changing from a drop shoulder to a regular shoulder
- Merging the 3-piece sleeve back into 1 piece
- Moving the yokes lower
- Removing the bottom hem band and adding a bit of length
- Adding a hood facing
- Adding front facings to the lining
- Adding a zipper guard
- Making a hybrid welted patch pocket
- Changing the top zipper extension into two pieces instead of one folded piece for durability
- Forgoing elastic cuffs
- Adding a snap tap to the cuffs
(The hood and front facings should have been included in the pattern, in my opinion; I was studying a lot of RTW jackets, and even the cheapest ones had these features.)
Fit-wise, everything I did involved making more chest room and less back room. I also encountered an odd fit issue – Nathan couldn’t zip the front of the jacket over his chin! I ended up scooping the neck by 1″ at center front and widening the collar/hood area by 1.5″ total as the neck circumference had increased as well.
This was my first experience with parka snaps. They weren’t too bad to apply; trying to figure out all the sizes and tools was much worse!
If I make this pattern again (and I might as well – I put a ton of work into altering it!) I would raise the arm scyes. This photo is a little too dark to see, but there are some draglines across the back even though there’s ample room. I think it’s the low arm scye restricting arm motion.
Then there’s this:
Ultimately, I feel like this project was a pattern-making triumph for me – making so many design and fit changes all at once and having all my seams line up in the end was a big, fluffy feather in my cap – but not as much a stitching triumph. I hadn’t done a project requiring precision top-stitching in awhile, and the extensions, hood, and pockets show it.
That said, when I pounded in the last snap, Nathan put on his jacket and looked at himself multiple times in every mirror on the house. He’s stubbornly worn it in unsuitably cold conditions this fall and winter, and it’s now being referred to as his favorite jacket ever. So I think the subpar stitching and the ever-so-slightly late arrival are being overlooked.