One of the main sewing goals I set for myself this year is to work on some jackets and some pants/jeans. I knew I’d be working on the pants in March, since bottoms is the theme this month for Project Sew It. I figured the jackets part of the goal would be more long range (read: easier to put off) but then I got the chance to be a tester for the new pattern from Alina Design Co. The minute I saw the teaser that Alina posted on Instagram a few months ago I knew it was a pattern that I was going to want to make.
This is my tester version of Alina’s new pattern, the Hampton jean jacket. It’s the classic denim jacket with all of the details that are found on one you’d see at a store. I have a jean jacket that I bought at Gap, probably back in 1998. I wore it so much that it really achieved that perfect softness and a great faded color. Unfortunately, it also achieved two giant holes in the elbows that I have been meaning to patch but I haven’t managed to do it for the last 5 years. Getting a good fit in a ready to wear jean jacket is really challenging for me because of my pear shape. They are generally cut pretty straight and I have never been able to comfortably button the last button on my Gap jacket. (Mostly I wore it unbuttoned but still, it would be nice to be able to button them all if I wanted to do that.)
I was really ecstatic about testing this jacket. First of all, I wouldn’t be able to put it off because of the pattern testing deadline! Secondly, I’ve sewn two pairs of jeans so far and I find doing all of the topstitching to be really fun. I knew I would get plenty of opportunity for topstitching with this project! My jacket is a size 8 graded to a size 12 at the hem. I made a couple of fit changes to the pattern– I did a forward shoulder adjustment (I think it was 5/8″) and I did a full biceps adjustment of an inch. The sleeves on this pattern are designed to be slim but my arms are not particularly slim and I wanted to be able to layer long sleeves under it comfortably.
My sleeves ended up a little bit shorter than what I wanted. After my muslin I shortened the sleeves by 1/2″ so that they would be the same length as the sleeves on my Gap jacket. I decided to do a narrow shoulder adjustment after I did that and unfortunately I didn’t think about how that would affect where the bottom of the sleeves would hit me. I always wear my jean jacket sleeves unrolled and unbuttoned. I like them to hit right about my wrist, so this isn’t a huge deal but if I were to make this again I would make sure my sleeves are about 1/2″ longer.
I really can’t say enough great things about this pattern. It’s got all the classic jean jacket styling and I think my jacket could easily pass as store bought. I flat felled the majority of the seams, which is outlined in the pattern instructions. You could easily save time by serging and topstitching but I loved making this look just like the inside of my Gap jacket. My Gap jacket has pink serger thread on the non-flat felled seams, which I really wanted to replicate but I didn’t have the right color pink serger thread. Instead I went with green, which I love just as much.
I made a silly mistake and flat felled the back yoke seam in the wrong direction, which I didn’t realize until I went to set in the sleeves. The topstitching on the yoke seam should match up with the topstitching on the back of the 2 piece sleeve. Mine totally didn’t and I was super annoyed with my mistake. I knew I was going to lose my flat felled seam there since the seam allowance was already trimmed and couldn’t be changed to go the opposite direction. Just at that exact moment one of the other testers, Heidi from Handmade Frenzy, shared a photo of her jacket with bias tape covering that seam, which was a detail she borrowed from her RTW jean jacket. It turned out to be the perfect way to cover my messed up seam and to add some more fun green details to the inside of my jacket.
I would have to say that this jacket is the handmade garment I am most proud of at this point in my sewing career. It was an epic project that took quite a bit of time to complete. I enjoyed every step of it and really felt like a new level of sewing achievement had been unlocked after I finished it. I was challenged but I don’t think that this is a project that anyone should be scared to make. I was sort of dreading the welt pockets but Alina’s method is fantastic. They came together really quickly and look super professional. Her instructions are really detailed and I know she has a sew along planned, too. If you want to feel like a sewing ninja this is a pattern that will get you there!
This post is getting really long, but I have to mention that felt so great about my jacket that I moved on to my first pair of Chi Town Chinos. I made pants using the expansion pack #2. I am really pleased with my first attempt and I have a second pair cut out with a few adjustments to help with my full inner thighs/knock knees. When I get those made I’ll do a separate post about the pants. I should have worn one of my Panama tees with my jacket and pants for a complete Alina Design Co outfit– next time I will!
Eventually, I would like to make another one of these jackets when I can really take my time and do some distressing on the denim. I love this dark denim (which is this 10 oz non-stretch denim from Threadbare Fabrics) but I would love to try to replicate the worn in look of my Gap jacket, too. Are you a denim jacket fan? Do you think you’d want to try to sew your own?