Replacing an old fave- my new suede jacket

For this month’s Minerva blogging network project I decided to try something new.  This time I decided that I would embark upon a new adventure.    I was inspired to try to replace an old favourite – a suede jacket that I have to say was pretty cool. My original  suede jacket was from the 70s it had been custom made out of real suede for my Mum and in the late 80s it fell into my hands.  It was a classic. It had huge rounded lapels and it was double-breasted but snug fitting with an A line skirt.    When I took it over as a sixth former who wanted who wanted a cool suede jacket, I chopped it off and glued a new hem to make a bum covering jacket.  A successful transformation.   This jacket became my favourite companion to gigs, the pub, and was synonymous with my social life. It was my partner in crime of good times.  Imagine then my dismay when over 25 years later we became parted forever when it got lost (or stolen I think and sold on eBay).   But it occurred to me at the time that I could try to make myself a new one. It would probably never be as cool as the 70s suede jacket with big lapels but it might become my new companion of good times.

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And what better place to seek some kind of suitable suedette than Minerva?  I’d asked Vicki to send me some samples so that I could pick the ultimate suede jacket.  Even though I do not wear very much brown, I plumped for a chocolatey brown,  and found some awesome kind of tortoiseshell animal print kind of buttons that I thought would look pretty sharp against the brown.

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I have been wearing it- hence the slight creasing …

 

Choosing the pattern took me a few swipes. I sort of knew what I wanted-  it had to be semi-fitted single breasted with quite a low neckline.   And I encountered Kwik Sew 3334 which has options for sleeve length and jacket length and a notched collar or a shawl collar.   It is also princess seamed and designed to be unlined which I thought could be interesting with the kind of suede I would be using.  It has a nice finish on its reverse after all.

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So sewing suedette requires a reasonable amount of confidence as you do not want to have to unpick & resew seams- there will be needle holes.  I did use a regular machine needle, however, suedette is a fabric with a sueded right side, and almost a knit look wrong side- quite a silky feel, which is good for wearing as an unlined jacket – no friction getting arms in and out!  Pressing seams I found worked well with a hot iron through a silk organza press cloth.  I was far to scared to try anything directly on the suedette as I worried about leaving a possible shine.

suede jacket - finishing

It wasn’t until I started sewing, that I recognised a need for seam finishing.  Again, being an unlined jacket quickly led me to bias bind the seam edges (?Hong Kong finish?)- but I added the binding once I had pressed the seams out, as the bound edges would be lumpy & potentially show through to the right side.  How much binding?  I estimate at least 6m!  I had to go back to my local haberdashery for more.  But it’s cute, don’t you think?  Polka dots 🙂

suede jacket

 

Another finish I deployed due to the unlined jacket imperative,  turned out rather well I think.  You may have come across that trick to sew your fusible interfacing wrong sides together with the facing along the outside edge of the facing – the edge that doesn’t get caught in the neckline seam?  Well, this was one of those very welcome lightbulbs, since the edge of the facing didn’t need binding, overlocking, or anything else, once I had sewn it tis way.  Very tidy.

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Here it is from the back, undone.

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and from the side.

Now the issue I anticipated was how to hem the jacket when there would be no lining. I talked to Vicki about it  and she sent me some hemming tape to experiment with. I haven’t ever used this before but did some trials comparing iron-on hemming tape with instant hemming and also seeing what it would look like if I hand sewed really carefully.   Here are the samples.

suede jacket

I decided in the end that the hemming tape gave a better finish than the others mainly because it did not show up as much inside  and from the outside it seems seems to have less impact.

 

Jacket from the back buttons done up

I think I could have managed to sew a nice hem myself, but wanted to give the hemming tape a go, because it ‘was there’, and it was also a neat way to finish the hem edge at the same time.  I tested it to make sure it was not too rigid from the outside- it would have been rather awful if you could see the line of the hemming tape as a stiff edge.

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Whilst I am pleased with it, I think that needing to press it over the bias bound seam edges, has produced a couple of lumpy bits that do show if you are looking….

And finally, no photos to show, but I did not bother with bound buttonholes for once- I just sewed regular buttonholes on my machine.  Simple.

So that is my treatise on making my replacement suede jacket.  Will it become my partner of good times?  It’s such a cute shape, I really like it, and it comes into its own as Spring arrives.  It doesn’t have pockets though- my original suede jacket was equipped in this requirement which is useful if you like going out without handbags.   But I do love a good brown suede- it is a warmer kinder colour than black & I think goes with all sorts of colour combos, black included.  It has so far been worn into town & also into work on some more casual days….it really makes me realise why I love jackets & why I could do with more – maybe even like this.

35 thoughts on “Replacing an old fave- my new suede jacket

  1. patsijean

    I too had a brown leather jacket in the 1970’s during my long-haired hippy days. Except for the heat of summer, I wore it all the time and pretty much exhausted it. I honestly do not know what happened to it, but I imagine I donated it to the St. Vincent De Paul charity store (just down the block from my apartment) , where I spent no small amount of time and money The waterbed I purchased there ended up right back there when my landlords who owned the Barbershop below my apartment got anxious after one of my fish tanks broke. I also found a somewhat ratty fur coat at St. Vincent’s that i wore of a while. My mother hated it, mentioning diseases. It was eventually returned so some else could purchase it. Were not the mid to late sixties and the seventies a confusing, scary, exciting, musically marvelous, creative timer? Mine was in crochet, sewing, a knitting machine, and gardening, with my own Troy Built Rototiller. My POW bracelet, which we were not supposed to remove until ‘our’ prisoner came home was taken off in the emergency room to help a nurse repair a slit running right along the artery from my wrist and up the inside of my arm. It was a fish tank accident. I never saw that POW bracelet again but I do know that that bracelet stopped the scissor blade from traveling no further than two inches up that little artery. I can show you my scar some day.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Wow! Patisjean you have such memories of the 70s that all started with your brown leather jacket! It sounds like a very special character building time & also reminds me how our charity shopping adventures and purchases, had huge barriers to overcome with parents who could not get their heads around it at all. I love that you purchased a waterbed from a charity shop!! Excellent !!

      Reply
  2. Jane

    Oh it’s turned out wonderfully Winnie, you’ve done a really great job! I also had a brown suede jacket in the late eighties. I got it from a vintage shop so I think it may have been an original sixties number. I wore it till it fell apart – the lining went first so I ripped it out and carried on wearing it until the suede looked terrible and scuffed. I LOVED it! Your jacket is really tempting me to sew a replacement, even though I never ever wear brown. Gorgeous! x

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Sigh. I am loving all of the memories of brown suede jackets. We must have been so cool. This jacket can never replace my original, but at least it helps me remember it & how I loved wearing it. And I will wear it with that in mind.

      Reply
  3. Kim Hood

    It looks great Winnie. Does everyone steal/inherit a coat or jacket from their mum? Mine was Persian lamb and so heavy I could barely stand up straight in it. I wore it with a passion until it fell apart. You have made a great jacket that I am sure will become as popular to wear as your old one. Wear it with pride!

    Reply
    1. Anne

      I think you’re right! I also inherited a fur jacket, car coat length, from my mother and it too was so heavy my shoulders got sore wearing it! I wore it regularly during my early uni days and I have no idea what happened to it. My youngest daughter inherited another jacket from my mother much more recently. I do have a brown suede jacket which I bought in the US – I love it (though it is also heavy) but the dry cleaning bills are horrendous. Perhaps I should goo the faux suede route. Yours looks great. Well done.

      Reply
      1. scruffybadgertime Post author

        Anne, what a heritage jacket! Fur! Wow! I bet you looked so cool & were so warm! Just imagine the extra strength you must have developed to wear it! This faux suede is very light, in fact, it is definitely not an all weather fabric if unlined, which makes it a great spring/ summer jacket. However if I was to try to be more faithful to the original I would line it too- it would be a bit warmer then- bringing more opportunities to wear it all times of the year…

        Reply
    2. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Hi Kim- I am thinking the same thing! Is it happening nowadays? If so which types of jackets are teenage daughters coveting from our past fashions? I’d love to know, but as I have only sons ….

      Reply
  4. Shelly

    You’ve done a great job with your jacket. I’m sure it will make a much loved replacement for your 70’s version. I’ve used a suedette fabric to make a skirt and love it. I iron it from the wrong side to avoid seam show through so you might find this is an option for your jacket too.

    PS: Love the fun seam finish!

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Hi Shelley- thankyou for the pressing tips- great idea- I think it will need the odd iron. I bet your suedette skirt looks awesome and is probably quite a lovely cosy thing to wear as well as looking foxy!

      Reply
  5. Lynda Adlington

    That looks great. If I had a waist i would go for this pattern – Your right about the colour, from a person who only wears black you nearly tempting me away from the dark side 🙂

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Thank you Lynda ! Yes, there is something a bit more retro about brown too – and judging by everyone’s retro suede jacket memories, they were all brown suede jackets too. So be tempted!

      Reply
  6. Sylkotwist

    Ooh you’ve brought back memories of my brown suede jacket circa 1987. A charity shop find (definitely 60s) that my dad helped me shorten and hem with Copydex! I LOVED that jacket and often look for it on ebay, to no avail. I was wearing it the day I purchased a LYNX anti fur campaign t shirt in Covent Garden and realised that everyone in the shop was staring at me… I wore it no more and always regretted it’s demise! Yours by the way is brilliant and could offend no one!

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Hahaha! A brilliant late 80s memory of cool, protest & suede. I love it. I think I used copydex to shorten mine too! ANd it was lined & so the lining got attached with glue as well. Funny times.

      Reply
  7. LinB

    1. My mother bought me a pigskin suede trenchcoat, in a bright cinnamon brown, to wear when I was in middle school (early 70s). It was too long to hang in our half-lockers, so it lasted a long time only being worn on weekends. I had it through college, at which time it was deemed hopelessly out of fashion. Kept it for the leather, but cannot now remember what ever happened to that coat … it may be hanging in my walk-out basement. I should look it out, as there was plenty of leather in the skirts to eke out a jacket, even if the bodice no longer fits.

    2. I’ll e-mail you instructions for an easy way to make your own bias binding. It is fun to do, as well as allowing you to customize fabrics and widths of that very useful notion.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      I am really enjoying hearing about everyone’s heritage coats & jackets! The variety ! the styles! But many of them seem to be brown too. Very interesting. The amount of leather in a coat that size must create opportunities for reusing, but could you bear to cut it up (if you can find it?!)
      And a big thanks for the instructions – they are brilliant. Will def give it a try

      Reply
  8. Philippa

    Ooh! Your new jacket looks lovely, but I am so gutted (on your behalf!) about the loss of your previous one. I really enjoyed reading about you making this – it was something a bit different, and not something I have seen on any blog before xx

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Hi Philippa, thank you for the feedback! It’s nice to feel like I bring something different even if every now and then. It felt like a bit of a different kind of thing to make as well, so deserves a proper write up!

      Reply
  9. Lynn

    Wowsers! Your jacket is gorgeous. I love the bias tape innards, and I’ve used that trick on interfacing and facings too. I love the neat finish that it gives.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Thank you Lynn! It’s good to focus on the finish when you know it could be on view, so it certainly got me thinking differently about how I was going to sew it. I was really pleased to remember that interfacing trick just in time!

      Reply
  10. R

    very nice. If you’re missing pockets do you have enough suede left for a couple of patch ones or would that spoil the line?

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      It’s something I have been thinking as I wear it…to add patch pockets or not? I am so not sure … !! Thank you for the idea though. It means I will give it more thought 🙂

      Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Thank you Allison- in fact it might be OK for a summer evening as it is quite thin, being unlined. It is however not overly fitted & can easily accommodate cardigans underneath, so yes, I think it has opportunities for being worn a lot!

      Reply
  11. Debbie

    The fit of the jacket looks great. I can see it being a wardrobe staple. Like other commentators I had a suede jacket…dark brown soft and falling apart….I can’t remember where from or what happened to it ! I also had a fitted seventies coat of my mum’s black, double breasted and fur collared, inspired by Dr Zhivago film. X

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      I had no idea that this would being all those suede (& other finds from the 60s and 70s) to the fore! I love hearing about everyone’s precious heritage jackets. And there is no way that this can replace all the history of my lost suede 70s jacket….but at least it’s trying!

      Reply
  12. Amanda

    I love this little number! i’m sure it will become your new favourite 🙂 It’s got such a great shape and that collar is just perfect! I had a terrible orangey-brown leather jacket I found in an op shop as a teenager, probably from the 70’s and probably a man’s jacket, and I seriously wore that thing to DEATH. I wouldn’t re-create it but my love for jackets was borne from that one, and I’ll always remember it fondly ^__^

    Reply

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