Ah, the humble denim jacket – an absolute wardrobe staple for me, and one of the few RTW pieces I still own and frequently wear. This is my favorite sort of thing to make – an essential wardrobe staple, made up in a classic (and easy to sew!) fabric.
What I really loved about sewing this jacket was how similar the process was to making a pair of jeans – at least in terms of topstitching and seam finishes. I absolutely love love love sewing jeans, but have to limit myself to how many I make since I don’t need to own more than I can reasonably wear! Sewing a denim jacket helped me get that out of my system, and also fill a hole in my wardrobe at the same time. Definitely a win-win as far as I’m concerned!
I made my jacket using the Hampton Jean Jacket pattern, which is a nice basic pattern that includes all the classic features you typically see in a RTW denim jacket – front and back yoke, in-panel front pockets, welt pockets, a two-piece sleeve with a placket and cuff. I’ve made other denim jackets in the past, but this was the first pattern I have come across that includes those features (other patterns I’ve used were more simplified versions).
I chose this denim specifically with this jacket in mind, and picked it up from the Mood Fabrics NYC location while I was there last year. I really love shopping in the store when I have the opportunity – there’s a bigger selection for sure, and it’s so nice to be able to touch and see all the fabrics in real life! I found my denim fabric in the denim section on the bottom floor, and chose this fabric because it was a nice jacket weight without being too heavy (you can check out all of Mood’s denim offerings that are available online here). Originally I had planned to distress and bleach the denim, but decided to stick with a dark, clean look instead. I am sure that over time this fabric will soften up and fade, which I’m excited to see how that turns out!
Sewing denim into a jacket is, as I said, pretty much the same process as sewing denim into pants. It’s best to use a heavier needle to handle the layers – either an 80/12 or 90/14 depending on if you are flat felling seams (I went with the latter). I used all-purpose polyester thread to sew the seams, and lightweight topstitching thread for all the fun topstitching. The jeans buttons were pulled from my stash. All seams were flat-felled whenever possible, with the remaining seams serged and topstitched for a clean finish.
After I finished sewing the jacket, I threw it in a wash + dry for a couple of cycles to continue softening it up (I already pre-washed the denim twice before cutting it). As with all denim, this fabric will develop a natural fade with washing and wearing. In the meantime, I do like how polished the dark indigo looks!
I don’t think that there are any particular items that *every* person should have in their wardrobe – but I do think that a denim jacket is a cool, classic look that works with a very wide array of styles. For me, it is absolutely a wardrobe staple and I’m so pleased to finally have a handmade verison to wear with all my other handmade pieces 🙂