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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Here it is from the back, undone.
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.
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.
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.