I know! Two posts in one week!! Craziness! And the excitement doesn't end here... hint hint...
So, do you guys remember your art teachers growing up? I was really lucky to have some wonderful art teachers (one of whom was my Mom - hi Mom!! I might be biased, but she was my favorite!) and while I may have found my way into a creative field all on my own, I definitely would not have had the amount of confidence and wherewithal to pursue my degrees in Painting without the support and encouragement of my art teachers. I mean... I certainly wasn't getting any encouragement to continue on with math or science... so, I'm glad someone saw something in me!
But this post isn't just a testimonial to the importance of arts education in public schools (although don't get me started...) It's about some of the other effects that art teachers had on me. I'm talking about style here. One of my style inspirations is always some kind of mish-mash of all my art teachers. There's just such an amazing, eclectic mix of professional/bohemian, practical/elegant, modern/vintage vibes going on with the art educator set! Not to mention a (typically) keen eye for color, proportion, and texture.
This jacket feels like something that one of my art teachers (or maybe just my Mom...this is a good thing) would have worn. There were lots of sneak peeks of this make in my last post because I literally wore it every. single. day while I was in NYC. I have to say - up to this date - this might be one of my favorite handmade additions to my closet. It's just seriously cool.
A few months ago, Colette from Tessuti contacted me to see if I'd like to review one of their patterns. Have you guys been keeping up on the patterns that have been coming out of there? Really great stuff. Basics with a twist - definitely my kind of thing. And also the sort of garments that would be flattering on a wide range of women, both age-wise and body-type. I chose to make the Tokyo Jacket - a loose, unstructured, kimono-inspired jacket that works well in lighter, drape-ier fabrics. I could just tell immediately from the line-drawings and the pictures on their site that this would be my kind of thing. I love clothing with a somewhat Japanese aesthetic, and a dramatic fit. I will also be ordering the Suzy Pant as soon as payday comes... hello favorite new fall pant!
It took me a little while to get around making this jacket - mainly because I couldn't quite wrap my head around making a jacket, no matter how lightweight, when the temperatures were over 100 degrees! But with the approach of fall I decided it was time to delve in, and boy am I glad I did! This seems to go with everything in my closet!
This was one of those times that I had a really clear idea about what kind of fabric I wanted to pair with the pattern. I knew as soon as I had the pattern in my hands that I wanted to make this out of some kind of shibori-dyed fabric, to highlight the kimono silhouette. I used some silk noil (the same stuff I used to make this dress) and tried a itajime-shibori technique. This basically means that the fabric was folded and then used some kind of shape-resist to prevent the dye from penetrating all the way through. I was dyeing about 2 1/2 yards... you guys... that was a lot of folding! I can't totally say if my process was legit-shibori (I'm an internet learner) but I loved the outcome!
I didn't use a traditional indigo dye bath, but instead just used my trusty Dharma procion dyes. Believe it or not, this dye color was supposed to black! That just goes to show you how unpredictable dye colors can be! It turned out more of a gray-ish blue with (though you can't see it in these pictures) an almost pink-ish haze around the blue.
My yardage of this silk noil was pretty narrow, so I had to fold it on the cross-grain in order to cut the pattern pieces. My one regret with this jacket is that I did not follow my gut and cut the back piece on the fold (the instructions were to cut two). There was just no way I was going to get the pattern to match up at that center back seam otherwise. But like many things, this felt like a bit of a bummer at the time, but after wearing it around for a whole weekend, it really doesn't bother me (we'll call it a 'design feature'). Next time...
So the pattern! I requested a paper pattern because I was feeling a bit burnt out on all the printing and taping of digital patterns, but these patterns are available both ways. They have a handmade look to them which is pleasant - like a pattern your friend drafted for you. Everything matched up perfectly and the fit was spot on. I made a size S based on my measurements. Obviously this jacket is very roomy so I probably could have made an XS, but when a garment like this is designed to have excessive ease I like to follow the designers size suggestions so it fits how they envision (interestingly enough, this is the total opposite to when I'm making a more fitted garment - then I base everything off of the finished garment measurements).
The instructions were impeccable! So, so thorough. I didn't run into any problems sewing this up! The pattern says it is for Intermediate to Super-Advanced sewers, but honestly, based on how descriptive the instructions are I think a beginner-intermediate sewer could handle this, no problem. The trickiest part (in my opinion) was the pockets, and this was simply because they come together in a way I have never quite seen before, but I just trusted Tessuti and followed the instructions and lo-and-behold! Perfect pockets!
I had the bare minimum of my yardage to make this jacket, so I opted to do the cuffs and pocket trim in a contrast fabric. This was one of the other reasons it took me a while to finally make this jacket - I was searching for the perfect trim fabric. You know, that mythical fabric that will just magically take this jacket from "awesome" to "amaze-balls"..? Well I found it, but it wasn't in any of my local stores.
You see, I really wanted to have this jacket ready for my trip to New York, so I ended up rooting around in my scraps until I found something that struck my fancy - leather! I had left-over cream lamb-skin from making this jacket, and leftover black pleather from making these pants, and after a brief consultation on Instagram I followed the overwhelming advice to go with cream and I was off and away! And, wow, you guys I am so glad I took your advice and went with the cream leather! It just looks, and feels (and smells) so luxe! I added a small ribbon of trim along the collar to separate the collar from the body of the jacket, and to balance the other leather accents. Those little bits of leather are really what makes this jacket extra-special to me. I just love the combined textures of the nubby silk-noil and buttery soft leather... mmmm.... Side note: this has totally renewed my love of sewing with leather... I am already scheming... many schemes...
So yeah! I'm super excited about this jacket!! A huge 'thank you' to Colette for sending me this pattern, and for always being such a huge supporter of this sewing-blog community!
And now... for something extra exciting!! Tessuti is giving away one Tokyo Jacket pattern to one of my readers!! If you're in the Northern hemisphere, this jacket will make a great layering piece for fall - and if you're about to enter spring, this is the perfect lightweight layer to throw on over a sleeveless shirt (or, in my case, jumpsuit!) Basically - transitional weather perfection!
Leave a comment with an email address where I can reach you - extra points if you make me laugh - and I'll choose a winner at random... oh... say... next Monday, September 30th at 8pm? Sounds like a great way to cap off September!