This project turned me into a true blue maker. The construction of this jean jacket is a hands-on, no-joke, time-consuming, to-the-core rewarding endeavor. For added emphasis, I’m saying that after sewing jeans (also very rewarding). I felt like such a maker because I came away from each work session with my hands tinted from the dye in the denim. This project got more physical than others as I had to hand rotate some of the stitches on the thick areas and I got to use a hammer (and wire cutters to remove one of the jeans buttons). By the end of this project I felt like a real craftswoman! Hear me roar!…..and you could hear me roar when I realized that I did one of my welt pockets backwards.
Working with denim is an entirely different substrate that adds an extra dimension of labor that forces you to form a new relationship with your sewing machine. I had just finished my Birkin Flares when I started this project and so I was pretty well-versed with denim. I was already familiar with what my machine could do on its own and where it would need a few hand rotations. That said, if you’re new to denim I would highly recommend this pattern but I would practice a few things first. On a few layers of scrap denim see how your machine works for:
- Topstitching. Test tensions, preferred stitch lengths, etc.
- Buttonholes and bar tacks. See if your machine will give you a good buttonhole with topstitching thread. Mine didn’t and so I used matching regular thread.
I recommend experimenting and familiarizing yourself with these two things before you start because you’ll be doing A LOT of it on this project and I can tell you that you don’t want to do anything twice on this….especially using that lovely Cone Mills denim that I know you’re going to use.
Alina’s tutorial and construction are top notch and perfectly notched! It’s such a professional and comprehensive pattern. The group of testers that I was honored to be alongside were experienced seamstresses and I would venture to make the bold claim that everything was addressed in the pattern and tutorial and the construction was thoroughly and comprehensively verified. This pattern is perfection!
I sewed up a Size 6 with pattern measurements of 35″ and 27″. My measurements are 35″ and 28″ and the fit turned out really well! Technically, this tester version is 1″ longer than the final pattern which Alina shorted by 1″. That all worked out well for me because I probably would’ve lengthen it anyway. I also added 1.25″ to the width of the sleeves for some added mobility. For reference, I can wear my jacket over my Tallinn Sweater comfortably, but I will mostly be wearing it over t-shirts and tanks.
I used canvas drop cloth from Lowe’s (painting section) for my muslin. It was Alina’s idea and it worked out well, it’s cheap and it’s about the same weight as denim. I would highly recommend making a muslin for this project. No really, make a muslin.
In actuality, the sewing was pretty easy, there was just a lot of stitches that went into this garment. You’re stitching each seam five times for seam, the front felled seams, and the top stitching. Yes, this is a sturdy garment indeed. The real efficiency-killer is the fact that you have to change between your regular thread and topstitching thread. (You get REALLY fast at threading your machine). If you have an extra machine I would recommend dedicating one to topstitching and the other for regular sewing.
If you want to sew a jean jacket, this is your pattern. In short, Alina’s pattern and tutorial will show you how to construct a fully-detailed jean jacket that looks so, so legit. She thought through everything and the results are nothing short of miraculous. I still can’t believe that I made this.
I used a 10 oz non-stretch indigo denim that I bought from Threadbare Fabrics. This. Denim. Is. The. Best. Thing. Ever. The quality is premium and now I’m a denim snob. Darnit! The shipping was fast and and I love ordering from her because I usually end up ordering some jeans hardware, too. Katie has a lot of fabulous denims and bottom weights. You should definitely check her stuff out! You know what’s REALLY great though? Alina and Katie have collaborated to bring you Hampton Jean Jacket KITS!!! Be sure to check that out!
Some of the testers ventured into bleaching and sandblasting their denim. I didn’t have the gumption to do that but I plan on experimenting with that on a later project. Alina is planning a Sew-A-Long and blog post on her adventures in bleaching and distressing which I’m looking forward to reading.
This is probably the most rewarding thing I’ve ever made. I love my jean jacket so, so much. I love that it’s an iconic piece in my wardrobe, I love the topstitching thread color, I love the high quality denim, I love the Les Fleurs pocket linings and hanging loop, I love the welt pockets (even if one of them is backwards), I love my hardware, I love it all! You will, too. Go pick up the Hampton Jean Jacket pattern, your hammer, and get to work, Ladies!