Hellooo I am happy and warm. It took a while to get this project started, but once I did I got hooked. I really really wanted to wear my finished corduroy jacket!
The pattern is the Alina Sewing + Design Co Hampton jean jacket, and I bought it the moment it was released in 2017. Around the same time I grabbed a denim jacket from a clothing swap, which I never wore, so I back-burnered the pattern until this fall when I heard corduroy whispers (and spotted this gem) and it was ON.
I ordered some Robert Kaufman 14-wale corduroy in Cider from fabric.com, but while waiting for it to ship, two things happened; first I learned that fabric.com is owned by Amazon, and then they canceled my order. I don’t knowingly spend money on Amazon retail (I know I can’t totally avoid their web hosting services, but it’s usually very easy not to buy anything from Amazon; I just buy it elsewhere or don’t buy it). I had set my cap at a Cider jacket, but all I could find in stock elsewhere was Gold.
Cider is a cuter word than Gold. On the other hand…
Here are the swatch images from the Kaufman website. They’re practically the same color! Which is which? I don’t know, I’d need to check the file names! So even though I technically used Gold I’m calling it Cider, dammit! This is my cider jacket!
The pattern is pretty terrific. Putting together the PDF was actually dare I say it fun! Everything lined up effortlessly and while there are a ton of pieces, none of them are very big, so I didn’t have to manipulate giant floppy continents of paper; mostly I could cut as I went. It sewed up really well, too, with matching seamlines and all the layers (like the pocket bag and placket self-facing) falling right into place. I cut my pocket bags from a contrast fabric – strong light cotton twill, scraps from an old project – to reduce bulk.
However, the inside of this jacket, under the lining, is a mess. We’re talking a new-season-of-Bakeoff-cake-bust-showstopper-level mess. It was my choice, not due to the pattern or directions. There’s at least four different shades of yellow thread in play; some of the seams are serged, some aren’t; one seam is partly serged because I broke a needle halfway through and never went back. I heartily endorse lining.
I had my heart in my throat when I went to match my lining to the coat shell, though, because I sewed the lining first. Ideally I would have sewn the coat body and then traced the lining from that for a perfect match, but I had to make sure I had enough of this flannel left over from one of Professor Boyfriend’s shirts (which I barely did), or make a different plan for the seam finishes than the Wild West I ended up with. I merged the paper pattern pieces and hoped my math was good. Happily, math was a pal, nothing stretched or shrunk, and the lining fit. I added it before sewing the front plackets, and after the side seams and shoulders, basically moving the last part of Step 4 to after Step 5.
Here’s the seams where I had to piece the flannel. Worth it! I can be a bit of a perfectionist over topstitching and this way the body seams only had to look good on the outside, saving me a lot of angst. I hand-basted the free edges of the cuffs, collar, and waistband in place before topstitching those to keep them even inside and out, though. And I had to do the waistband twice, because I didn’t grade the seams the first time and there was a horrible lump like a berm or a bowling alley bumper where all that bulk was. Thankfully because of the way these are attached, I only had to undo the topstitching over the seam allowances and my hand-sewing, leaving the bottom part of my topstitching and the button hole intact. I graded aggressively while I was in there the second time. It’s still lumpy, but I have nothing to reproach myself with!
For the ultimate in thriftiness, I re-used the topstitching thread I unpicked from the waistband! I was running low on stash thread (hence the different yellows), and I used these saved pieces to topstitch the cuffs. It wasn’t quite enough to keep the wolf from my door, and I ran out of coordinating thread and topstitching thread with just the back tabs left! So I had to buy some. 😦 It felt good to use every usable piece, though. I probably would have just squeaked out enough topstitching thread if I hadn’t tried three sample buttonholes before deciding regular thread was best. Oh, and if I hadn’t sewed the tabs three times. I sewed a worst pair and a bad pair first of all, then set them aside to see if I’d like them better later; I didn’t. None of three attempts were perfect but these were best. I had to rotate the grainline 90° to play nice with the ribs of the corduroy. I thought about just skipping them, especially once everything else was already done, but I really wanted an excuse to add hardware to the back!
Here’s a fun fact: I put the hanging loop on the wrong side of the collar. Here’s a fun fact, part 2: there it remains.
I made that ‘change’ (read: mistake), added an additional button to the jacket front, and shortened the sleeves. Otherwise, this is an unadjusted size 12. I sized up (my chest measurement puts me somewhere between an 8 and a 10) because I wanted it to be a little less fitted and a little more masculine-of-center.
Don’t be like Lia, friends. Listen to the nice pattern and sew a muslin. I didn’t, and it’s fine, but around hour 14 I started thinking “I’m going to be really peeved if this doesn’t fit the way I want”. The sleeves are shortened by 1.5”. Originally I shortened the sleeve 2” but thankfully I got cold feet and added ½” back. I love that the pattern includes finished sleeve length, though it’s from the sleeve cap, not the underarm seam. You know what’s not easy, is measuring your ideal sleeve length from the edge of unknown-width shoulder seam. UGH I should have just whipped up a muslin, I officially qualify as a lucky dog!
I changed the order of sewing a bit, mainly sewing buttonholes on the cuffs and waistbands before they were attached, and sewing the placket seam of the sleeve first. I think you’re supposed to sew the underarm seam first to make it easier to flat-fell, but I’d rather have ‘raw’ finishes on the sleeve seams and an easier time sewing the sleeve placket. I did consider flat-felling the underarm seam (I do it all the time for Professor Boyfriend’s shirts), but eh, if they’re not both going to be completely enclosed, why bother for just one (incidentally, I couldn’t picture how to flat-fell any seam in a tube until one day I came across the phrase “sewing in the bottom of a bucket” which made it suddenly totally clear). I serged the underarm, ‘complete’ seam, and zigzagged + pinked the placket seam.
The hardware is from Gold Star Tool. I bought 100 gunmetal jeans rivets, bent 2, and ultimately successfully installed 15. That’s an acceptable rate. They feel really firmly attached. My buttonholes began a bit stiff, but they loosened up. I ended up with the extra on the front because I sewed the buttonholes before attaching the waistband and then discovered I had space for one more; I don’t mind the cluster there, especially since it echoes the pairs on the back waistband.
I topstitched one armscye but it just didn’t look terrific, so I unpicked that and skipped the other. Either I have some puckers there because I skipped the topstitching, or I omitted the topstitching because the puckers made it look uneven. Tomato tomato. I’m just glad my wrists are covered and the sleeves fit over a sweater!
So, I’m happy! I don’t feel like this jacket expresses my deepest personality or adds anything original to the world – I just plain like it, and I’m going to use it a lot. I’ve worn it on a couple sub-40 days (including in wet snow) and stayed cozy, hooray. And I hope you don’t mind it too much because you’re going to see more of it next time. You’ve probably spotted some stray buttons and already guessed, but next post, how to add a removable collar!
Pattern cost: $12.00
Size: 12, with the sleeves shortened 1.5”
Supplies: 3 yards of Kaufman 14 Wale Corduroy Gold, $45.00, Gather Here; thread, Michael’s, $5.58; rivets, Gold Star Tool, $12.97
Total time: 22.25 hours
Total cost: $75.55