You guys! I made a jean jacket!!! You’ve probably seen it on Instagram already but still, I am so pumped about this one.
I am so, so excited to finally write about this jacket! I was so honored when Alina asked me if I would test the Hampton Jean Jacket pattern for her, I agreed right away. When I saw the technical drawings of the jacket I was squealing with excitement.
I have been wanting to make a jean jacket for years. I remember looking at jean jacket patterns back in 2010, but I didn’t want to attempt it yet. I have trouble finding jean jackets that fit me right. Actually just like any other jacket and coat. Ready to wear stuff looks off on me, so much so that I have given up on finding a good fitting jean jacket a while back.
I am not going to tell you that it is a fast and easy project, it is definitely more involved. But! It is very manageable and so rewarding in the end. I have no doubts that anyone can make a jean jacket using this pattern if they are willing to invest some time. I am always impressed by Alina’s drafting and instructions. This pattern is not an exception. It was clearly apparent to me that she spent a very long time thinking over the pattern and coming up with the best ways to put it together and write instructions. You can see and feel Alina’s dedication to her craft in this pattern. It’s quite amazing actually.
It will be an understatement to say that the instruction are very thorough. If the paper could hold my hand, these instructions would be giving me hugs every so often. And I love hugs. Some of the steps are really cool too! I love how both front pockets are assembled.
The amount of pattern pieces can seem a little overwhelming, but I tell ya, once you put together those front and back panels it becomes significantly less scary. And putting together the bodice pieces is very easy.
The instructions tell you to either use flat felt seams, for super clean finish on the inside, or faux felt seams to make it easier. I opted out for faux felt seams. I was on a tight schedule trying to finish the jacket before we left for the weekend and I was also feeling lazy and needed an excuse not to do the actual flat felt seam. It worked out perfectly!
May be on my next jacket I would do flat felt seams, but my topstitched and serger finished seams do not bother me at all. It also sped the whole thing up significantly.
For my denim I chose light wash cotton denim I bought from Blackbird fabrics a long time ago. I bought this denim in black for a pair of Morgan Jeans and I loved it so much I ended up buying it in every color way. I still have a very indigo piece in my stash, waiting for it’s moment.
I love my denim worn in and weathered, so I knew right away I will be distressing the jacket as I put it together. It does take longer to make the garment, but results in a nicer jacket in the end. I sanded every panel and every seam AFTER I stitched it together, but BEFORE topstitching it. This way my topstitching thread stayed intact.
For sanding I used a mixture of power sander and hand held sander. I find that I like having both on hand, but if I had to chose one I would go with hand held sander. It provides for a more accurate and nicer finish. I used 80 grit sandpaper on both. I started off sanding with power sander to soften the fabric, and would finish off with hand held sander. Then do my topstitching. It is definitely a slow process but it is so worth it for that worn in look.
After I put the jacket together I felt that I wanted it to be even more vintage-y looking. I tried bleaching denim samples but it was just lightening up the blue. What I was looking for instead was a greenish or brownish tint to my denim. I toyed around with the idea of throwing my jacket on the driveway and driving over it a few times with my car, but I felt awful doing that to something I just made with so much love!
I started thinking about potentially dyeing my jacket in some sort of low solution of dye to water, but I eventually stumbled upon tea dyeing. I heard about tea dyeing in lingerie making. The idea is to take out the brightness of the white and to give the fabrics and notions a nice off-white tint. This is exactly what I wanted for my jacket! And it was all natural and I could use one of my cooking pots without any issues.
I started off with boiling a water in my biggest pot. Then I added about 10-15 black tea bags to it and let it sit for a few minutes. While the tea was brewing, I made myself some tea as well. Nothing like tea dyeing while drinking tea if you ask me!
My pot was not big enough for my jacket, so I transferred all the water into a bigger plastic bucket. I discarded all the tea bags as I didn’t want them to settle anywhere on the jacket and stain parts of it more than the rest. I held my jacket under running water to make sure it was all wet and then submerged it into my steeped tea mixture.
Using tongs I flipped the jacket around every so often. I want to say every 15 minutes but in reality it was whenever I remembered. The jacket stayed in the tea for about an hour or a little longer. At this time I ran it through a quick wash and hung it to dry.
When the jacket dried I didn’t think much of it until I took a picture of it for comparison. When I put the pictures side by side I was very impressed with the results! This is the exact tint I was looking for.
I will definitely be tea dyeing denim in the future again. The idea here is the more tea bags you use the darker the garment will become. And the same with the length of time you keep it submerged. At the same time, tea dye is not a chemical dye, so I can’t imagine your garment turning full on brown quickly.
To wrap this post up, I am very happy with my Hampton Jean Jacket! It is a fantastic pattern and I definitely recommend it. Alina is doing a very thorough sew-along on her blog right now, and seriously I think it will be really hard to mess this one up. I am very excited to start seeing these jackets popping up on social media soon!
P.S. The pictures where I am wearing jeans were taken before tea dyeing the jacket. The pictures in pink skirt were taken after the jacket was dyed.