I’m back today with some photos that mean a lot to me. These women selflessly spent hours and hours testing this pattern, proofreading, offering alternative suggestions and helping me make the decisions I needed to make to polish this pattern to perfection. I sew through my patterns multiple times before declaring them ready for launch, but there’s no way I could have gotten to the finish line without them!
To start, I’ll say that the majority of the during-testing changes were made to the instructions, changing wording, fixing typos and adding a couple of illustrations.
Only a couple of changes happened to the pattern itself, one being to shorten the shoulder length by 1/2″ (I have wide shoulders, so this was an area that I found out I don’t make a good fit model!), and another being to shorten the bodice by 1″. I also lengthened the welt pockets by 1/4″ as they were a tiny bit tight for everyone.
During testing, my initial thought was that we would shorten the bodice by 2″ and shorten the sleeves by 1″. However, when we shortened the shoulder length, that brought the sleeves up to about perfect, so I left them as is. SO–my testers incorporated most of the changes I thought I was going to make; several of them shortened the bodice by 2″, sleeves by 1″ and shoulder by 3/8″-5/8″.
They each outline in their individual blog posts what changes they made, but I feel I can make a general comment that the pattern is about an inch longer in both the sleeves and bodice than most of the versions you see here.
One other thing I want to note is that the testing timeframe was 10 days, and most of these jackets were made start (printing the pattern) to finish (taking modeled photos) during that time. They were working hard for 10 days, but many of them also work full-time, either at an office or at home with their kids. 🙂 They were also making small pattern changes with me, proofreading, distressing denim, helping to make decisions, etc. I hope that helps you gauge what kind of timeline to give yourself for this pattern when you have other life things happening.
Let’s get to it!
Heidi used Cone Mills denim from Threadbare Fabrics (this is what is in our Hampton Jean Jacket kits). She did some distressing, and I love, love, love how it turned out. My favorite quotes from her blog post:
“I’m still in a little bit of disbelief that I actually made this. Like I said before, although it is a very time consuming project, it’s not that difficult! And seeing it come together is empowering! It has given me the burn to make more difficult things.”
“My most prized me-made garment, to date. So far my favorite reaction to telling someone I made my jacket was “WHAT!? I thought those were only made in factories!” Empowering I tell you!”
Anya used a non-stretch denim from Blackbird Fabrics (I can’t find it, so it might be sold out). She bleached it, and then tea-dyed it (after these photos) to get a slightly aged look. She’s basically my sewing hero and she always knocks it out of the park!
Heather also used a Cone Mills denim from Threadbare Fabrics. We teamed up to figure out how best to tackle a full bust adjustment, so you can thank Heather for being my guinea pig there! (Yes, I will address this in the sewalong.) Here’s a quote from her blog post:
“As usual, with Alina’s patterns, the pdf went together really well, and the instructions are top-notch. Alina has great diagrams and descriptions, and while this pattern might look a little intimidating, I assure you, it is fun to sew and incredibly rewarding! If you’ve sewn a button down shirt, or really any garment with a collar, set -in sleeves and button holes, you can handle this. Plus there is also going to be a sewalong coming in the next few days with all kinds of helpful hints and tricks, so not to worry, Alina has got you covered!”
What I love about that quote is that she points out that this pattern is no more difficult than a button-down shirt. I 100% agree! You’re going to blow.people.away. with your handmade jean jacket (even more than a button-down)!
Teri also used Cone Mills denim from Threadbare (all of these people paid for their own denim…it’s just the best out there!). Right off the bat, she was commenting how similar the fit was to her old beloved 1998 GAP jacket, except with this one, she had the opportunity to make it fit her pear shape, so now she can button all of the buttons! Here’s a quote from her blog post:
“I would have to say that this jacket is the handmade garment I am most proud of at this point in my sewing career. It was an epic project that took quite a bit of time to complete. I enjoyed every step of it and really felt like a new level of sewing achievement had been unlocked after I finished it. I was challenged but I don’t think that this is a project that anyone should be scared to make. I was sort of dreading the welt pockets but Alina’s method is fantastic. They came together really quickly and look super professional. Her instructions are really detailed and I know she has a sew along planned, too. If you want to feel like a sewing ninja this is a pattern that will get you there!”
Right after testing, she turned around and made her first pair of Chi-Town Chinos, which she also shared photos of in her blog post, so head over to check those out, too! (And actually, she is wearing a Chi-Town Chinos Skirt in the above photos!)
Are you ready for this one?! Jill used this incredible green twill from JoAnn Fabrics (the same one Katie used to make her Chi-Town Chinos Expansion Pack No. 1 here–Jill sent Katie that fabric!). We are friends in real life and Jill is so very precious to me. She’s a stunning mom of four and tested this pattern while her husband was out of town for three weeks. Incredible. Now I want a Hampton in every color, too.
Here’s a quote from her blog post:
“Her pattern assembly instructions are so thorough that although I have never attempted anything as intimidating and expansive as this, my enthusiasm for all things sewing coupled with Alina’s attention to detail (and a great group of pattern testers!) brought me to the finish line.
**I think it is significant to note I am no professional. I have never taken a sewing lesson or class in my life. I have sewn many ill-fitting garments and home décor for years before things finally started making sense in my head (when I finally starting following patterns instead of making everything up). I learned that I do love learning new skills and will pick a pattern based on a skill I want to learn. This skill base I’m learning allows me to be more creative, which I really love. I still make so sooo many mistakes though. I share this hoping it is encouraging and offers hope… you will never know if you are capable of making something like this unless you try!”
She also has some really good advice and tips in her blog post, so go check it out!
Jodi used a denim that she found local to her. Jodi has been sewing for a little while, but she sewed her first women’s garment less than a year ago. And she just threw down a jean jacket. What! To say I am impressed is no understatement, because she also tested my expansion pack #1 last fall. I had no idea she was so new to women’s garment sewing.
My point is, which I have borrowed quotes from others’ blog posts to drive home, that this pattern is NOT difficult. It is just going to be a small investment of time. And if you do faux flat felled seams, use two machines (one for regular thread and one for topstitching so you don’t have to rethread every step) and no distressing, you can easily half the time it takes.
Katie also used Cone Mills denim from Threadbare Fabrics. She actually OWNS Threadbare Fabrics and it was so fun to have her involved with testing. I have loved collaborating with her on the jean jacket kits. She has a little baby at home with her, and she still knocked this out in our 10 days of testing.
Ashley always blows me away with what she accomplishes while taking care of her kids (and other people’s kids, and her husband out of town for work, etc.). She always produces such great work and great feedback. She used a denim she already had in her stash, and I like the lighter color she was able to start with!
Leslie also used Cone Mills denim from Threadbare Fabrics (sounding like a broken record now–I promise all of these people paid for their own denim). The last project Leslie tackled right before testing the Hampton was her first pair of jeans. She was like, “challenge.accepted.” (How I Met Your Mother, anyone?) and she made an incredibly beautiful jacket. I love the copper topstitching she used!
Here’s a couple of quotes from her post:
“In actuality, the sewing was pretty easy, there was just a lot of stitches that went into this garment.”
“If you want to sew a jean jacket, this is your pattern. In short, Alina’s pattern and tutorial will show you how to construct a fully-detailed jean jacket that looks so, so legit. She thought through everything and the results are nothing short of miraculous. I still can’t believe that I made this.”
She also has some good advice and tips, so go check out her post.
And that’s it!
This is actually the smallest test group I’ve ever had since it is just one view, so I was able to include every tester this time. What do you think? Are you ready to be a sewing ninja? Do you like jean jackets? Weigh in below!
Pssssst–there’s a giveaway going on! Threadbare Fabrics and I are giving away a copy of the Hampton Jean Jacket pattern, three enamel pins, and a Cone Mills denim + hardware kit in your choice of metal finish.
CLICK HERE or click the image above to see how to enter!