I wish I had a picture of my old linen and silk jacket from Ann Taylor. I bought it sometime in the 1980s, and literally wore it to shreds. It was tan with overlays. The front and sleeves were a raw silk, the rest was linen that was slightly darker. It had buttons down the front, shirt-style, nice, deep pockets, and a pleat down the back. It went with everything, looked both dressy and casual. I loved it to death, so I decided to try re-creating the jacket.
Earlier this year, I really, really wished I’d taken a picture of it when I set out to adapt a pattern to re-create the darned thing.
I have an over-arching project for my sewing these days – I’m trying to reduce my fabric stash. Last year, I got it all organized and realized I had over 100 pieces of fabric. That’s not counting all the pieces that are less than a yard long. I also have some gorgeous fabrics (mostly silk) that I have had for years and years that I’ve never done anything with. It’s time to do something with those pieces.
But the reason those pieces are still around is that I’ve never had the nerve to cut into them. Given my track record of failures, I didn’t want to risk screwing them up. So, I finally got smart and realized I could make a sewing muslin of the pattern in question. Only I don’t like wasting fabric. Wait. I can make a wearable muslin. As in, I can do a test version of the outfit I’d like to produce before cutting into the really good stuff.
Starting the jacket
I had two pieces of linen from our local creative reuse store, Remainders. This place is wonderful, but don’t dare go in there because of the 100 pieces of fabric I already have. I found the Rachel shirt pattern from Seamwork Patterns. I did a drawing in my notes of what I remembered about the original jacket, then traced the pieces off the oversized printout of the pattern that I had.
The layout I wanted didn’t happen since I didn’t have enough of my print to do both the fronts and the sleeves. So the print is the front and the light green linen is everything else. I also couldn’t remember quite how the front overlays on the jacket were, but guessed.
This past weekend, I started the first sewing steps. As always, the pockets and design details go on first. I laid out the fronts to be sure I had everything even, and it looks like I got it. Sometimes you can get a more accurate, even pocket layout by eyeballing than you can by measuring. If there’s something uneven about the print or how something will be worn, then you can measure all day and have something look crooked. So, I’ll start with measuring, but I also look to be absolutely sure.
I topstitched the pockets on, got the overlays and front bands on and topstitched. Well, edge-stitched. I also stitched the back pleat and got the topstitching on that.
And that’s where things are with this project. I’ll be serging the fronts and back together when I get to that phase again. And I’ll be posting every so often with updates.