#Sewcialists Grease Theme: Tell Me More
Last month’s Sewcialist theme was inspired by the movie “Grease”. What an awesome reason to finally finish up that UFO that I started about 2 years ago. That’s right, my pink jean jacket didn’t start out as an intentionally Grease-themed “Pink Ladies” jacket. I just happen to really, really like pink which leads me to believe that a pink jean jacket can and should be worn on a variety of occasions when I might otherwise wear a traditional blue one. Actually, I have a blue RTW jean jacket, and while I do wear it quite a bit, it has one major flaw that drives me up the wall. The sleeves are really tight around the bicep. It’s a combination of my own body shape along with the current trend for jean jackets to be cut very slim. It’s a pretty stretchy denim, else I wouldn’t be able to wear it, but I’ve wanted to have another option for quite a while. When I found this pink “satin” stretch denim at Fashionfabricsclub.com, (long-since sold out) I knew I wanted to turn it into a jacket. Unfortunately, the options for jean jacket patterns are few and far between. It gave me the perfect opportunity to try out an indie pattern company that’s been around for a few years, but that I almost never hear about, Petite Plus Patterns.
Their name pretty much describes their pattern block/philosophy. Patterns for the short, curvy, plus-size woman. Yup, that’s me alright. Most of their shapes are fairly basic, and not necessarily my style, but the dream of a jean jacket that I could make up straight out of the envelope made their jean jacket pattern nearly the Holy Grail of patterns. I cut out a size 18, then put the pieces neatly in a bag while I got distracted by project after project. It sat patiently, waiting for just the right combination of weather that would make me want to wear a lightweight jacket, white or pink thread on the serger, and no other projects in the queue that absolutely had to be finished first. I realized as I was cutting it out that jean jackets have a lot (a lot, a lot) of pieces, most of which need to be topstitched. This was not a quick and easy sew, and that really made me delay getting started on the sewing. Once I got into a groove, though, it wasn’t really that bad. The pattern is well drafted, all the pieces fit together like they should. The instructions are well thought out. They aren’t so detailed that I couldn’t find pertinent information, but they included enough information about construction order and when/where to do the top-stitching that my frustration level was pretty low for a project with this many construction steps. It helps that the designer seems to share my philosophy on stitching techniques (serge when possible, even if topstitching) There is a brief intro where alternatives to serging are discussed, but the rest of the instructions include serging as part of the process, so if you’re someone who doesn’t have a serger, you might be annoyed by the assumption made in the instructions that you do.
The only thing I really changed about the pattern is that I didn’t do the back tabs. They don’t serve a function other than decor, and I could see myself catching them on things and ripping my jacket.
The fit of the pattern is a little bit old-school. For wearing over other clothes comfortably, it’s perfect. I didn’t have to adjust the sleeves and I can still fit other sleeves underneath. If you’re ok with the retro look, this might be the perfect jean jacket pattern for you. If you’re looking for a more modern cut, then you’ll be annoyed with how this one turns out. Personally, I love it; so much so that I may end up making a basic blue one to replace my RTW one. The only thing I might change in another version is the sleeve length. I’m petite, but my arms are long for a petite, so an extra 1/2 to 1 inch of sleeve length would make me happy. The pattern does have information on the pattern sheet for making bust adjustments, since the shape of the pattern would make it a little bit harder to follow a standard tutorial. Another love is the pockets. They are sewn into the waistband, so they don’t flop around, and they fit a Galaxy S4 phone w/ a bulky holder (because I tend to drop my phone a lot) plus car keys without making me feel like they will fall out at any moment.
Moving on to the rest of my outfit. The 1950’s were all about circle skirts. According to my Grandma, wool circle skirts, especially reversible ones from Pendleton Woolen Mills, were “must-haves” for all cheerleaders in the late 1950’s. If I was really going to hold to the Pink Lady theme, I probably should have made a wiggle skirt, but I really wanted to make a circle skirt from this thrifted wool fabric. I made a Pavlova skirt, including the pocket, but gave it a self-drafted wide waistband for a high-waisted look. I interfaced the waistband with fusible hair canvas (since the wool means the skirt isn’t machine washable anyway). No lining, I’ll wear a slip anyway since circle skirts tend to be caught by the wind and I like having something a little closer cut between the wind and my skivvies. I didn’t even try to match the plaids for the pocket, we’ll say I was going for a “casual” vibe.
The top is Jalie 2794 in a jersey knit of unknown content. I received it as part of a mystery bundle from Fabric Mart. The dots are 3-dimensional, rather like the puffy-paints of the 1980’s, but with better adhesion to the fabric. I was scared to iron the fabric, for fear of melting gooey silver dots onto my iron, but otherwise it wasn’t difficult to work with. I feel like I’m a bit on display with as low as this top ended up. I guess that’s true to the Pink Ladies, but when I make this again, I’ll be doing some pre-cutting adjustments to raise that neckline. As I sorted through pictures, there were an awful lot of them showing me looking down, pursing my lips, and adjusting my top to a more comfortable level.
Will I wear this outfit all together again like this? Maybe not so much. The skirt is really begging for a warm aqua sweater or a black or grey twin-sweater-set. The top really wants to be paired with a pair of Ginger jeans. The jacket will, of course, be worn with everything I own until I wear it out.
All three of the pieces in my outfit are made out of stashed fabrics (yes, I’m counting the one that was cut out–it was stashed in pieces). Stash-busting stats: 47/50 projects. 100 1/2 yards.