As promised, today I am back with part 2 to discuss the garment construction of the Hampton jean jacket. If you want to learn more about how I embroidered the lemon motif, please see part 1.
Once I finished my embroidery motif I was very excited to get straight to putting the jacket together. I knew I had all of my pieces cut out and waiting for me (of which there are many for this pattern), so I’d be able to start sewing right away.
Despite what was an extreme level of planning and preparedness for me, I totally neglected to think about any notions besides regular thread. Which I only realized once my husband asked me about the buttons I was planning to use. Uhh, buttons?
His line of inquiry also shed light on the fact that I had not acquired any topstitching thread, either. While the lack of buttons wasn’t a huge deal, since those are installed last anyway – the topstitching thread is as important as regular thread. Sigh!
In an effort to save on notions this year, I’ve decided to try and do as much of my notions-buying as I can on Wawak. The prices are excellent, and as long as you buy enough at any given time to justify the cost of shipping, it makes fiscal sense. I took this project hiccup as an opportunity to stock up on other supplies I needed too. So in addition to various colors of jean buttons, I also bought sewing needles and a spool of Mara 70 topstitching thread.
The thing about buying thread on the internet is . . . it’s hard. Gutterman offers over 400 colors, and there are at least twenty shades of pink alone. Although I did my best to pick the one I thought would match the “wild rose” shade of my denim – what I got instead was very orange and very bright. I hate being wasteful if I can avoid it, and since it’s a color I won’t otherwise use, I will save (all 700 yards of it) for future muslin construction.
The thread itself is as nice as people say it is, in case you were wondering. As long as it’s the right shade, I definitely plan to start using it for topstitching going forward. This means I will need to suck it up and purchase the $30 thread chart, so I don’t keep buying the wrong color ad infinitum .
I should probably back up and mention that my original plan for this jacket was silver buttons and tonal topstitching (hence the need to color match my thread as mentioned above). I was a little bereft when my thread was so obviously the wrong color, because this was the one thing I needed to actually start sewing. I also felt mildly indecisive about the silver buttons, especially given that my lemon has gold contrast, but luckily I had purchased three shades of jean buttons just in case.
As I whined about having to wait for at least two more online orders to get the correct thread (color chart purchase, followed by actual thread purchase) – my husband asked me (he’s really the hero of this story), “Why don’t you just use gold topstitching?”
I truly had not considered the possibility of contrast topstitching. And let me tell you, this was the happiest accident of the entire project. I already had a bunch of it on hand, and after sewing a sample it was obviously the correct decision. I love, love, love the pop of gold against the denim. And combined with the bright lemon piece on the back, it ties the whole jacket together.
Plus, contrast stitching is really fun to sew. Sometimes projects feel like magic the entire way through – where the reality of it coming together is even better than you had imagined. That is how I felt the entire time I worked on this jacket. It was exhilarating.
Other fun details that make me happy:
- Purple serger thread! This pattern doesn’t call for many serged seam finishes (unless you opt for faux flat fell seams), and I don’t own pink serger thread. So I used lilac and I love the tiny pops of purple contrast.
- Lined back panels. One of the benefits of embroidering pieces in the flat is that you can line the backside of your stitching. This both protects the embroidery, and hides any messy stitching. The kitty cat cotton was acquired by my mom on her trip to Japan last year, and with all the fruit and pops of yellow I thought it was the perfect choice to complement my lemons. Then, while I was putting everything together – I realized that there are also tiny lemons hiding throughout the print! I may or may not have squealed at yet another happy accident.
When it came to fitting, I’ll be honest – I went in blind. I cut a size 2 based on my measurements, and didn’t make any changes besides adding an inch to the sleeves. I found out later that the sleeves run long on this pattern, and my husband thinks they did end up a little long on me. But after YEARS of sleeves always being too short, these slightly too-long sleeves feel like such a luxury that I’m too busy basking in their glory to care!
I got lucky that everything else fit (lawd what a disaster that could have been if it didn’t!). It’s helpful that the pattern design is meant to be a little oversized, which keeps fitting from being too complicated.
As for the actual construction? I don’t have much to mention. All of the details in the pattern are thoughtful, thorough, and make it feel like a high- quality RTW jacket. The instructions are straightforward and easy to get through without many hiccups. There were a couple of points where I wasn’t totally sure what I was supposed to be doing (and the sew-a-along doesn’t help much as it’s basically a photographed version of the original instructions), but I took it slow at those points and managed to get through. I still whole-heartedly recommend the pattern.
I haven’t quite decided how I’m going to launder this jacket. The fabric still has the body of only once-washed denim, and I would looove for it to soften up. But, I also don’t want to throw it in the washer willy nilly at the risk of ruining the embroidery. I used fairly short stitches, which will help to keep the lemons from collapsing or losing their shape too much – but still. Right now my plan is hand washing only. Or perhaps trying a lingerie bag in the washer? I’m not sure. If anybody has thoughts or insights on this, please let me know!
If you made it this far, I congratulate you and thank you. Turns out that when you spend 12 months working on something – you end up with a lot to say!
- Fabric: 9oz Brushed Bull Denim from Blackbird Fabrics (2 meters)
- Pattern: Hampton Jean Jacket by Alina Design Co
- Size: 2
- Sleeve Length – Add 1″
- Total Cost: $57
- $28 for the fabric
- $15 for the pattern
- $5 for the jeans buttons
- $7 for thread (2 topstitching / 1 regular)
- $2 for embroidery thread (beyond what I already had)