the little jacket that could

"At least you can blog it" said Tim when I spent 15 minutes detailing all the problems and failures I had making this little jacket for Phoebe. It was supposed to have a zipper and elastic cuffs and be finished so nicely you couldn't tell it was handmade. Instead it's a little uneven, a little shabby, and best seen from a distance. But it's grown on me. Considering I made it without a real pattern and that it's lined with a stretchy jersey knit, oh and that's it's PLAID — what was I thinking?! — it came out pretty cute. I tried to adapt a japanese pattern for an unlined, button-down tunic with gathers to make this jacket. Evidently I copied the wrong size and maybe the wrong pieces, so it came out too small to fit around Phoebe. I added a 3" strip along the front edges and now we're in business. I didn't want to deal with buttons and the zipper was out b/c the sides needed to overlap, not meet up, so I sewed on some velcro. And by some I mean a huge long strip along the whole front. ha! I was at the end of my rope, and quite out of my mind, last weekend when I did that. That may be the biggest mistake, although when she's in it, she's in. But if she needs to take it off…rrrriiiiiipppppp. It's quite an event. I'm thinking maybe she wears it for our pumpkin patch outing. I always take 1,000 pictures of that every year. Then it'll be properly documented and I can put it out of its misery in the back of the closet. And chalk it up to lessons learned. First lesson, maybe try sewing with some non-stretchy fabrics. Two, and maybe something solid that doesn't need to be matched up. Third, look for sewing patterns in English!

48 thoughts on “the little jacket that could

  1. Nancy says:

    if it is any consolation, when i saw it on flickr yesterday i thought ‘what a cute coat’
    i didn’t see anything wrong with it
    stretchy fabric is hard.
    i really love the plaid

  2. Lise says:

    This looks like one of those projects that will always look horrible to the person who made it and suffered through all the mistakes and still sees each one glaring out; but to anyone else, it looks great! I love it, and wish I had the skills to do half as well!

  3. Christina says:

    Plaid is hard – I just had my first dose of reality with it too – who knew matching up would be so finicky? Of course I also just bought some more that I could not resist. Ah well, it is really cute on little girls especially in teal.
    I like your pop of orange lining.

  4. Margaret says:

    I agree with Emily: why not use some snaps on the front instead of the velcro? I know the jacket isn’t perfect, and you’ll always be able to see the aspects that could be better, but it IS really cute — even just sitting on the hanger. Learn the lessons you need to from it, but enjoy seeing Phoebe in it in the meantime.

  5. Janelle says:

    It’s sweet! It reminds me of a coat my mom sewed for me when I was kindergarten age–and of all the other dresses and tops she sewed for me, too. That is something Phoebe will always treasure, even when the plaid coat is long gone!

  6. Susan says:

    I think it’s quite cute. I say now you’re back in your right mind put some buttons on it and call it good – with snaps on the inside so you don’t have to deal with the buttonhole business. but I’ve also been to the “Just kill me and make it quick” point with a sewing project where you never want to see it again. So…go with whatever groove you’re in. but it is really cute.

  7. susanintexas says:

    “you know they move so much you can never really tell about the wonkiness” (my sewing instructor’s comments to me about a *slightly* off easter dress I made) and she was (and is) right!

  8. mamie says:

    puuuu-leeeese. that is the cutest thing ever, near or far. and the thought of velcro ripping away at a playgroup sounds like it would be a hit. i love it. and i had a feeling it was your own pattern. you are my sewing idol

  9. LittleA says:

    Awww, I’d be pretty darn pleased with myself if a jacket I made came out looking that much like a jacket! I think it’s sweet and retro, and I love the color combo.

  10. Becky C. says:

    I was wondering what the plaid fabric from Labor Day weekend would become. I love it! I second the recommendations to replace the velcro with snaps – washing will be less hazardous that way.
    It looks great to me, but another way to hide some wonkiness could be to turn it into a “puffer”.
    And if you don’t want it, it looks like there are quite a few of us that would love to take it off your hands… heh heh heh.

  11. Kristena says:

    This is hilarious! I am just about to sew a jacket for my almost-3 year old, and I think I’ll learn from your mistakes. 😉 But I gotta tell ya that the jacket is super-cute in the pictures. I wouldn’t have realized anything went wrong if I hadn’t just read all about it. 🙂
    I commend you for your courage… Making up a jacket pattern from a shirt pattern IN JAPANESE is quite ambitious!!!

  12. Rayna says:

    It’s lovely! Only you will notice all the imperfections- to those of us who didn’t agonize every stitch and decision it looks perfect! Plaid is great for fall!

  13. Holly says:

    Well, I certainly know about sewing clothes and frustration but the coat looks great from here. And for some of us, you can certainly do no wrong! By the way, when do you think the first part of your new sew a long will be? I’m waiting and so excited to start! (And if you do answer here, know that I will definitely look. THanks.)

  14. Amber says:

    Yer killin me with the adorable. Really. It’s reminding me that I should be in the craft room instead of in front of the computer because ya just need a cutie fabric and away you roll…

  15. tantehilde says:

    it is cute indeed! But i know how you feel, when i make up my own pattern, or when i think i can adapt a pattern, in the end i’m always thinking: “it would be sooo much easier to sew with an existing pattern and not think but just do”

  16. Kym says:

    The coat is great! If she’s anything like my girls Phoebe will be loving the loud velcro noise. And what’s wrong with looking handmade? It’s a proud moment when someone guesses your handmade piece is shop-bought, but I love the obviously-handmade look more. So very unique.

  17. jen says:

    i LOVE the colors! and plaid is so cute, reminds me of a plaid jacket i had when i was little (it was brown and orange-y, of course; i mean, it was the 70s). i’m sorry it didn’t turn out how you had hoped.

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