A Tale of Two Jean Jackets, Part I - Style Arc Stevie
The one sewing goal I set for myself for 2017 was to make the Style Arc Stacie jean jacket, a pattern that has been on the sewing queue for ages.
However. I have a teenage daughter, who has been wanting for a denim jacket just like the Style Arc Stevie for a while. And because I already have a RTW denim jacket, albeit a borderline vintage jacket - well, how does a mother refuse? ( Full disclosure time - This is where I acknowledge that as we wear the same size in Style Arc, it is quite likely that I may have to borrow this jacket from time to time. :))
The first step I took to make this jacket was to borrow my mother’s sewing machine. This jacket has miles of topstitching, and the second machine was a sanity saver.
The fabric is an Ermenegildo Zegna stretch denim purchased quite a while ago from Tessuti. Kudos to me for buying 5 metres of it, because I have enough left over from this project to make the Stacie Jacket for myself. It turned out to be a great denim for this project– good weight, a bit of stretch and fantastic to work with. I remember this fabric being a bit pricey, but it was definitely worth it. Note, though, I don't think you'd necessarily need a stretch denim to make this project work.
I made no alterations to the pattern at all. This is described as a boyfriend jacket, and there is a nice amount of ease all round . Oversize but not ridiculously so.
And now to the sewing…
As ever, Style Arc doesn’t waste words when it comes to their instructions, bless ém. They are more accurately described as a list of steps, and Stevie was no exception in this regard.
Some specific points:
To get accurate top stitching on the chest pockets, I traced two pocket shapes mirroring each other onto freezer paper, then ironed it on the right side, then sewed around the shape. I’m not sure how else I could have achieved accurate stitching there.
The welt pocket took a bit of figuring out. I’ve made a few of these now, but every time, I have to go through the process of figuring out how to make a welt pocket again because the pattern pieces supplied are always different to what I find in tutorials and sewing books. So some trial and error was involved. I got there in the end, after making a few practice pockets on scraps.
This jacket is a monument to the art of topstitching if ever there if ever there was one. Style Arc has you using a twin needle to do this, but because I wanted to use doubled up thread to get the effect I wanted, twin needles were never going to work. So each “pair”of topstitching was done individually. The first pass was done with the blindstitch foot running the guide along the seam or edge. The second pass was done with the normal foot, with the needle one position to the left, and the first pass running on the inside of the right “prong” of the foot. Stitch length 4.
The instructions have you finishing off the installation of the collar, waistband and cuffs by stitching in the ditch. The only way I could find to do this successfully was with my walking foot. I use my walking foot very occasionally, but bless its purchase every time I use it (Even though, its purchase from some retailer from Kansas on eBay resulted in credit card fraud which conveniently occurred while I was overseas – but that’s another story).
It might sound strange coming from someone who sews for a hobby, and blogs about it, but sewing this jean jacket was one of the most thoroughly enjoyable sewing experiences I’ve had to date. I do find most sewing to be engaging, rewarding and enjoyable, but to be honest, some sewing projects faze me, some bore me, and some do my head in. And I've had recent unblogged examples of all three lately, so this was a great project to reboot my motivation. There was something about putting together all the elements of this jacket and yep, all that topstitching was definitely part of the enjoyment.
So, my main sewing goal for 2017 achieved. And one happy daughter. And while I had my mother's sewing machine I went on and made myself the Style Arc Stacie - the subject of my next blog post.