I am on an outerwear kick. There is a whole pile of these types of garments in my queue that always gets shoved to the side for pretty dresses or simpler patterns. No more! I love outerwear and can't currently make fitted things anyway. Might as well stitch them up. This particular pattern is an Anne Klein design that came out in 2010. I purchased it right when it was released, decided on the fabric, and placed them both in my "winter planned garments" bin. As far as I know nobody ever made the jacket and blogged or wrote a review about it, and the pattern went out of print. Which is really too bad because it is a great design with some lovely details.
The design details I liked include the over-sized collar, bias sleeve and hem bands, bias sides (although I ended up changing those), two-piece sleeves, snap closures and topstitching. I decided to change the sides and undersleeves to leather for an on-trend look. In the end I had barely enough houndstooth for what you see, so that decision saved me from wasting my fabric.
The fabric is a woven houndstooth of mystery content purchased locally, most likely from Hancock fabrics. It is really thick but has a loose weave, so that it shed like crazy and had some drape. It did iron well, though, so there must be some cotton or rayon in it. It does not feel like polyester. I am not sure how insulated from low temps I am going to be wearing this jacket. However, because I live in southern Texas, I still think it will get plenty of wear.
Cutting this jacket out was almost the death of me. There are 19 pattern pieces, most of which are cut twice. Then, because the jacket is almost fully interfaced, you cut them all again in interfacing. I matched the houndstooth print across the fronts and made sure each side mirrored the other. This all had to be done on a single layer of fabric, and I used my triangle to make sure everything was square before I cut into it. I spent 4 days cutting it all out and really sweated those last few pieces fearing I wouldn't have enough fabric.
I was a little fearful this big collar would obliterate the shape of my shoulders, but it sort of curves up at the edges. I'm not sure if this is by intention on the part of the pattern designer or is caused by using a really thick fabric, but I really love the playfulness of it. Besides changing the sides to leather, the only two other deviations I made were to leave off the interfacing on the undercollar and omit the shoulderpads. With a collar covering a good bit of the shoulders, I didn't feel them necessary.
The lining is black Ambiance bought from JoAnne's. A nice thing about this pattern is the facing and lining to not meet up over a bust apex. Lots of big 4 patterns do and you end up with a seam right over the bust, which isn't too flattering. I also appreciate having a back facing.
You may notice something a bit different going on at the bottom of the lining. It is actually finished with a piece of grosgrain ribbon as per the instructions. This was my first time doing anything like this, and it really gave it a nice finish without the need to handstitch the bottom lining to the jacket.
I used large brass snaps from my stash for the closures. These use to come in black as well, but I thought the brass a nice change from all the black and white already present on the jacket. I went to replenish these the other day and they were no longer carried at Hancock fabrics. Hopefully JoAnne's still has them or I will have to find an online source instead. Sewing on these snaps really takes some time since I like to make sure all the snap holes are consistently the same along the entire edge.
The leather I used was purchased years ago from Fabricmartfabrics.com. They use to carry leather skins every fall and have a half off sale around Thanksgiving each year. I have a nice collection of colors and weights now that I'm slowly working my way through. I did interface the leather on the body to give it the same weight as the houndstooth body fabric. The sleeves were left un-interfaced, also per the instructions, so that they can bend easily and not look stiff.
Topstitching through two layers of thick fabric and two layers of interfacing was a bear. I had to stuff everything under my machine foot and the thread broke over any seams. I also broke at least 4 needles before wising up and using a more substantial leather needle.
This project took at least 2 weeks to complete because of all the steps involved, but I had a lot of fun making it. The fabric behaved itself nicely and once I saw how flippy the collar was I got really excited. I'm extremely happy with the fit. I did not muslin since this jacket is suppose to be somewhat loose fitting, and I love how it skims the body without being overly boxy.