In 2016 I made a recycled denim jacket as part of a refashioning challenge. My blog post at the time tells me that I used five pairs of jeans to make this jacket, as that weaving took a lot! If you want more details you can check out the post here.
The jacket was really heavy but I quite liked it. However, a friend’s daughter absolutely loved it, so it went off to a new home and for the last five years I have felt strangely bereft, thinking I’d make another. Every time I saw one on Instagram, I thought that I would begin, but it wasn’t until I needed the shelf on which all my scraps resided, that I thought I’d tackle it.
The box was overflowing, so I pulled it all out and sorted the elements into pockets, yokes, belt loops, etc. I also had a lot of new fabric scraps left from recovering chairs and making jeans, but decided against using those. I had the jeans tops, from which I unpicked waistbands and fly guards, etc.
The only plan I had was to use the Pattern Union Felix jacket pattern. I chose this pattern as I know it well and know that it has simple lines, a good fit, and is quite hackable, this last item was in my mind as I wasn’t sure what changes I would need to make.
My initial plan was to harvest enough fabric for fronts and a back. I had some partial legs which did this job well. A bit of cutting and pasting and I had three pattern pieces. However, I wasn’t sure I could live with that upside down blue pocket “shadow”.
I faffed and fiddled, trying a bit of block printing, which didn’t do anything, considered embroidery but thought that wouldn’t look good either, and in the end decided to appliqué three yokes across the back. I added a couple of belt loops for whimsy.
I was really pleased with the outcome. In fact it’s my favourite feature.
I added my fronts to the back, sewed a pocket on one side, and then began a frantic hunt for sufficient fabric to create a pair of sleeves. I have already got a two piece sleeve pattern for the Felix, and this proved to be really useful for this make.
I had to do some extra piecing and once again finished up with one of those pocket marks on the sleeve. This time I distracted with a badge I had bought in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.
I added a front zip, which came from my stash and which I had bought several years ago at the Fibres West garage sale. I had found this at the beginning of the make so that I could ensure the length of the jacket was right.
You can see that I have a hole where I took out the satin stitch. I thought about how to deal with it and in the end just appliquéd an interesting piece of denim over the top.
I was then confronted with final details, such as how to finish off the neckline and the hem. I once again faffed about – can you see my lack of a plan? In the end I drafted a collar, which I cut from the back of a pair of the “shorts” left after cutting the legs off. I folded them at the centre back seam and cut the collar, finishing up with an unexpectedly nice bit of symmetry where the back pockets had been. I had wanted to create a collar with a built in collar stand, but I may have made it a little bit too big. I still like it though.
I used a waistband around the bottom, cutting it to fit. I was able to keep the button, buttonhole and the belt loops. I added a label at a join point. I also used some waistband pieces as cuffs on the sleeves, I just sewed them with the seam, although I had considered putting buttons on them.
I wore it unfinished as I wanted to make sure I was quite happy with all the details.
It turns out that I didn’t like the Kylie and The Machine label I had sewn on so that has since come off. I also decided I wanted to make my own little label. So I embroidered this on my sewing machine.
I pinked the edges, and used variegated blue and yellow thread as a nod to what’s happening in Ukraine. I sewed it over a previous label site – I probably harvested that label for another make.
I didn’t top stitch as I went as I wasn’t sure what was staying. I went back and did it, using upholstery thread. My machine likes this much better but it doesn’t have the heft of topstitching thread, so it’s not very obvious. I may go back and sort something out. I can see this jacket will be a work in progress!
I like this second jacket much more than the first one I made, and I am looking forward to wearing it a lot.
Oh, and how much of that box did I use? You be the judge!
I had another go at wearing it, this time with a naturally dyed yellow dress (oxalis) that I happened to be wearing. I think it will be really useful to take me into autumn.