Happy Friday! Thank you so much for the incredible response to the Hampton Jean Jacket pattern. I am so honored to hear all of the kind words you’ve sent my way.
Today, we’re talking about supplies (required and optional), and fitting some areas that may have you scratching your head with so many separate pieces going on.
Let’s talk supplies first, then we’ll get to some fitting advice.
To start, I’ll tell you what I recommend in the pattern instructions.
Recommended Fabrics: For a classic jean jacket, a non-stretch 10-11oz denim is ideal. For a less traditional look, you may also use medium weight woven fabrics such as cotton twill, linen, linen blends, or wool blends. Directional prints such as plaid or stripes may require additional yardage.
Can I use a stretch woven? Honestly, it would probably be fine to have a small amount of stretch. Just keep in mind that the pattern is written for non-stretch when choosing sizing.
Whatever fabric you choose, I suggest that it be of high quality. I would hate to see you invest 10-15 hours (or more) into a jacket made out of poor quality fabric. The jean jacket kits I’ve helped to set up include Cone Mills denim, which is American-made and extremely high-quality. Many designer jeans are made from Cone Mills denim. (I want you to know that I do not benefit in any way from these jean jacket kits–I just wanted there to be an easy place for you to grab what you needed in the best quality available, and Katie kindly set it up for you all.)
- Thread: regular and topstitching
- Denim/jeans needle
- 1 yard medium-weight woven fusible interfacing
- 14 metal jeans buttons (Dritz brand not recommended)
- Wash Away Wonder Tape
- Topstitching needle
Now, let’s talk through a few of those things. For your thread, I recommend buying two colors of regular thread and one color of topstitching thread.
The regular thread will be used to sew all of the seams, and I recommend matching that to your fabric so that it is less visible. You will also use regular thread in the bobbin when sewing your topstitching. I recommend matching that thread to the color of your topstitching thread. The reason for that is that when you get to sewing areas like the collar, front placket, and cuffs (areas that may get flipped up/over and be highly visible), that will look the most professional.
Topstitching thread is a thicker thread and will usually be marked as either topstitching thread, denim thread or jeans thread. You can choose any color of topstitching you want! The world is your oyster. If you’re feeling worried about all of the topstitching involved in this pattern, then choose a color that is lower contrast and will be less visible.
You can sew the entire pattern with denim/jeans needles (I do), but you may also be interested in using a topstitching needle (size 100/16) for the topstitching. Topstitching needles have a larger eye for the thicker threads. This is not necessary, but I’ve heard it can lend some nicer topstitching (I can’t vouch for that, though!).
Wash Away Wonder Tape: this stuff is AMAZING for sewing flat felled seams. It’s a narrow double-sided tape that completely washes away in the washing machine. During testing, Katie at Threadbare Fabrics shared this tip with the group and it is life-saving. Once you have folded and pressed your seam allowances around each other, you typically pin them to keep them in place while topstitching from the other side. Instead, you can use Wonder Tape to keep them tacked down and in place. You’ll also see me use it to keep the top pocket facing in place while topstitching it down. This is optional, but I highly, highly recommend it if you are going the route of traditional flat felled seams.
Metal buttons: where to buy them? First, I don’t recommend the Dritz brand. They’re infamous for breaking, and I assure you that you will NOT want to be using them when you have 14 buttons to hammer in (which will only take a few minutes…unless you’re using the Dritz brand. 😉 ) Threadbare Fabrics includes 16 buttons in the jean jacket kits and her buttons are very high-quality and sourced in the LA Fashion District. I have also used buttons from Taylor Tailor and Wawak, and both are good quality.
That covers all of the basic supply needs. If you’re wanting to bleach and distress your denim, sit tight–I have a post full of information coming on Tuesday!
Now, let’s talk fitting.
This pattern is written with 4.5 inches of ease through the bust and 3.5 inches of ease through the bicep. It is intended to be roomy enough to wear over a couple of light layers or a thin sweater, while sitting close enough for a flattering fit.
It’s intended to hit somewhere around the high hip area, but if you need it longer or shorter, there are lengthen/shorten lines on both the bodice and sleeve pieces. There are also instructions on how to use these included in the pattern booklet.
To choose sizing, I recommend starting with your bust measurement. My patterns are drafted for a B-cup, and ordinarily I would recommend you use your high bust measurement if you fall into a much bigger cup size, then perform a full bust adjustment. However, that being said, this pattern will be much easier to manage by starting with the size that more closely matches your full bust measurement. From there, you may need to tweak the neck and shoulder a little bit, but it will still be easier than attempting to add to the bust measurement across all of the panels. Another thing to consider is that most people wear their jean jacket open–if you don’t care about being able to button it closed, then you may want to use your high bust measurement to choose a size. Workroom Social has a great tutorial on both methods here.
Above all else, I recommend starting with a muslin. This pattern is not super fitted, but it would be a shame to put so much work into a jacket and not have it fit. You should look for any changes needed to the sleeve length, overall bodice length, bicep ease, bust ease and front length (if you typically need a full bust adjustment, you would add length to the front–I’ve got a “hack” for that below). For muslin fabric, I like to use a cotton canvas dropcloth (from the hardware store) in a similar weight to your fabric. It’s large, inexpensive and does the job.
Let’s chat about a FBA “hack” we came up with in testing. I had only two testers need a slight FBA. They chose sizes that matched their full bust measurement, but found that the front bodice still hung a bit shorter than the back. To get around this, I recommend either shortening the back or lengthening the front, tapering from one to the other. You can do this to the flat pattern pieces (harder) or you can do it once you have the fronts and back sewn together along the side seams, but before attaching the waistband (easier) .
This illustration shows the easier approach of the two, shortening the back slightly after the bodice is sewn together along the side seams. If you do this, make sure the taper is very subtle and that you have a straight line at center front and center back.
The sample being worn by my model in the pattern photos is a size 16, and I took 3/4″ off of the back of the jacket, gently tapering to the front along the sides. Aside from shortening the sleeves and deepening the armscye slightly, the pattern fit her perfectly everywhere else straight off. One thing to consider about this method is where the final length will hit you–do you need to lengthen the entire bodice before shortening the back? Another reason to make a muslin.
Another adjustment that might have you scratching your head is how to perform a full bicep adjustment on a two-piece sleeve. I’ve included the bicep measurement in the finished garment measurements for this pattern to help you determine right off if you’ll need a full bicep adjustment (again, the pattern as drafted is meant to give you 3.5″ of ease). If you do, here’s how to start.
First, delineate the stitching lines and mark them in (seam allowances are in gray in the illustration). Then, line up the upper sleeve and lower sleeve along their stitching lines. Next, draw in the bicep line across both pattern pieces. Set the lower sleeve aside and perform a full bicep adjustment to the upper sleeve only.
If you’re unfamiliar with full bicep adjustments, here’s a great tutorial by Sewaholic Patterns.
And that’s it for today! Your homework for the weekend is to assemble the pattern and source your supplies. Next week, we’ll start by talking about how to sew flat felled seams and I’ll be sharing a ton of tips for bleaching and distressing your denim, should you desire that worn-in look right from the start. We won’t start sewing until next Thursday, so you have time to get all of your supplies ordered!
Psssst–today is the last day to enter in the giveaway!
Click the photo above or click here to find out how to enter to receive the Hampton Jean Jacket pattern from me, a Cone Mills jean jacket kit from Threadbare Fabrics, and three fun enamel pins. Today is the last day to enter!