Monday 22 March 2021

THE LONG READ; My version of the season's quilted jacket, made from six pairs of old jeans and lined with a patchwork of remnants, using Burda Easy pattern 06/20 #1B

This project was more ambitious that many of my recent stints at the sewing machine. It started with one of my grown sons pulling a pile of used jeans out of his closet over Christmas  in a big clean-up of his childhood bedroom. 
I picked apart all these jeans to see what I could rescue. I became interested in doing a version of the popular quilted jacket with a touch of the Japanese denim work-jacket look, (although I wasn't prepared to go full-on recycled rags with shashiko embroidery.)
 I considered a number of patterns, including a recent, collarless, Burda Style version of the popular Tamarack Jacket. But already, the basic shell of the jacket design above, from Burda Easy last summer, had caught my eye for that extra touch of the mandarin collar.

Well, it's done, at last. Enfin. Nailed it.  But the whole project was a bit of a long-haul bitch, tbh.

First I collected and quilted a lot of blue and white remnants from last summer's dress projects to produce a cotton lining, making sure that the sleeve linings would be in proper slippery fabric, of which I happily had just enough navy blue. 
The next stage of construction was a matter of feeling my way without the benefit of any instructions.

(After patchworking together enough yardage for the lining, see below) I assessed as best I could the placement of the exterior pattern pieces on the denim. One of the reasons to opt for the Burda Easy pattern was the two-piece sleeve. I did not have any jeans piece that could accommodate an entire width of a standard sleeve.
Then after putting in the neckline darts on the four front pieces, I quilted all the denim pieces to the lining pieces one by one, allowing enough extra margin to allow for shrinkage during the quilting and to allow me to re-cut a cleaner seam allowance once the batting was sandwiched inside. The patchworking and quilting of all the elements of the jacket took a couple of weekends.

A more serious drag was next: I constructed the side and shoulder seams and then found myself making bias binding from lining leftovers to enclose all the quilted interior seams that were pressed open. These raw seam edges couldn't be biased together because of the sheer thickness of each seam allowance. In retrospect, perhaps I should have assembled the jacket body and lining body pieces at the side and shoulder seams (I also had to introduce a center back seam to accommodate my narrow jeans pieces) and then quilted those two body pieces together before inserting the sleeves. And then there was the binding of the sleeve seams to do as well, requiring some very hot, tough steaming pressing to get them to behave, pressed outward.

I wasn't sure how to manage the collar which I wanted to ensure would stand high and not flop over. I  ended up constructing a finished collar, very carefully quilting it after slipping the cut batting inside, and then attaching the finished collar directly to the jacket. This left me with a difficult bulk of seam around the neck but I didn't trim it down--that width of fat bulk was going to serve as a sort of stand supporting the collar upwards. I finished it by pressing the whole thick seam allowance affair down into the interior of the jacket and closing it up by hand-stitching an opened-up length of the bias over the interior as a clean facing.

I finished the edge of the jacket sleeves, front and bottom by HAND on both sides of the edges with the 30 cm navy blue cotton seam binding that I ordered online, along with the batting. I used the same bias binding to cover two large jacket snaps. I skipped the inserted pockets in the Burda pattern, as I wasn't sure how to do a clean insertion with all the quilted seams going on, so instead I stole two patch pockets from the jeans scraps to apply to the front.

I also rescued two belt loops from the jeans and found a completely forgotten belt in a shoebox. It's a bit of a tight cinch for me to close the belt and maybe I'm better off letting it hang, hence the belt loops.

But overall, it's been a good COVID confinement project and I think it's a good jacket for casual, work and garden wear.
And apart from the time expended, it was pretty much FREE.