I am a homey, home- loving kind of girl. Of the March sisters I am definitely the ‘Beth’ of the group, let’s hope with a slightly less tragic end! A consequence of this is that I have a lot of home related hobbies; sewing (as you know), knitting, baking, reading and not least watching TV (usually whilst knitting!). I would actually go so far as to say that I am a bit of a TV series addict.
I have referenced my love for Pan Am and Mad Men more than a few times here on the blog, but while I am in this confessional mood I may as well tell you that these fall into the ‘high brow’ category in terms of my viewing repertoire. You are reading the blog of a girl who watched the entirety of Party of Five at age 24 because it reminded her of ‘simpler time’ *blushes*.
In my opinion it is not always a bad thing if very little happens in a series. Take Gilmore Girls for example, it’s right up there with my favourites and its drama high points included a knit-a-thon, a 24 hour swing dance marathon and Lorelai running out of coffee. I suppose it could be called comfort- watching: good characters, nice backdrops, pretty clothes and nothing more serious than mild peril. Ah, pass me the remote and my knitting needles!
The protagonist of one of these ‘comfort watches’ of mine is the always stylish Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson) of ‘Hart of Dixie’. Throughout the series one of her wardrobe staples is various incarnations of the little black jacket. She is the walking poster girl for the fact that they can be worn with pretty much ANYTHING. She sports hers with everything from shorts to rolled up boyfriend jeans and looks great doing so.
This item has been on my ‘things to eventually make and add to my wardrobe list’ for some time now but 22 episodes later and it had made a meteoric ascent to the top.
To make my version I used the self-drafted pattern that I had used previously for my summer Pan Am blue jacket. I had always planned to recreate this jacket in some other colours as I was really happy with the shape and fit of my blue one. I love re- using patterns that have been a success as it’s so time effective- all toiled and tested and ready to go!
I made a few changes to the jacket pattern as this version was to be a heavier wool jacket with shoulder pads. I adjusted the shoulders and sleeves to accommodate the pads, added 2.5cm to the length of the jacket and omitted the contrast binding. I was tempted to add long sleeves but then realised I hadn’t bought enough fabric so my trademark bracelet length sleeves it was.
I decided to use speed tailoring to construct this jacket as I have a few spring jackets on my ‘to- do’ list and using traditional tailoring techniques on everything just isn’t really feasible time wise! I also wanted the jacket to be relatively supple so didn’t want to use anything too dramatic in terms of interfacing.
I had planned to take step by step photographs of the various interfacings I applied and add a speed tailoring tutorial to the blog but unfortunately the jacket and interfacing being black made any details nearly impossible to capture! I had to admit defeat in the end but I will do this with one of the others that I will make soon when I will be using white interfacing. On this note to anyone who is new to sewing I would definitely recommend avoiding working with black for your first few projects- it makes everything much harder to see as well as photograph.
Despite trying to keep things time efficient I couldn’t resist adding bound buttonholes- I just love the finish they give. I did however do a secret little concealed popper/snap behind the buttons on the pocket flaps as this eliminated two buttonholes and I am actually really pleased with this decision as the effect is nice and flat and neat.
I used sleeve heads on this jacket- I just make my own from polyester wadding. I like wadding rather than fleece as it’s nice and bouncy and so it gives the area plenty of body but I grade it on the edge furthest down the sleeve to avoid any ridge. The wadding is super easy to grade as by nature it’s kind of layered. I will go into further detail with pictures on my speed tailoring tutorial for anyone wanting to know more about this step. I love the nice rounded smooth finish this technique gives to the top of sleeves.
I had initially thought I would use a lovely wool boucle for this jacket but spotted this black wool from Truro Fabrics and thought the slightly shiny stitch that runs through it would add an interesting texture to the jacket.I love the look of this fabric but it did NOT like the iron and so was a bit pesky to work with. I am not sure what fibre this running stitch is made from but whatever it is it really melts, and then frays like crazy! Even through a pressing cloth is wasn’t very happy. It also seems like it may present a snagging hazard with wear but hopefully I will be wrong about this. It was really good value and looks very pretty though so it has its up sides.
The lining is a peach silk habotai from my stash, I bought this from Classic textiles on Goldhawk Road in London ages ago because it was bright peach. I had no plans for it, I just buy peach things. It turned out to be perfect for this project, so there is obviously method in my strange peach madness. I trimmed it with a bright candy pink silk piping just to add some extra pop to the inside. Whoever said black has to be boring!
I bought the buttons for this jacket from the Peter Jones haberdashery (a big department store in London). I think they really work with the fabric and the general feel of the jacket- classic but not too serious. I was chuffed to be able to buy them in two sizes as I like the cute smaller ones on the pockets and I tend to have trouble finding buttons I really like. Actually if anyone has any good button sources, online or otherwise please can you pop a note below as the more choice the better!
I can tell that I am going to wear this jacket a lot (well if spring ever arrives that is…!) I am so excited to make a colourful one too though, now I have the staple black one ticked off the list!
I am wearing my jacket with some Gap jeans, a banana republic lace tee and a Kate Spade handbag. What’s your favourite way to wear a little black jacket?
Thanks for reading!