Anyone else been sewing up a storm? Now that my home office/sewing studio is set up properly (thank you bed risers – you make my dining table into a cutting table that doesn’t murder my back) and the first wave of numbing, non-stop anxiety has abated into a more manageable low-level variety, I find myself in my sewing space nearly every day. As I mentioned last week, I’m more grateful than ever for a hobby that engages the haptic senses, that forces me to just be present and focused on something I can actually control. This Sienna Maker Jacket was basically an anti-depressant in fiber form, and sewing it up last week made me feel so damn good that I currently have three projects cut out and ready to go.
I have wanted to make a shearling-lined Sienna since I saw a great Levi’s version last fall. While it may seem like a weird time of year to make a cozy jacket, here in Montreal it’s still pretty cool most days, and I wanted a good dog walking coat given that it’s the only time I really go outside. I have fancy winter jackets and lots of light spring jackets, but not much in the middle in terms of warmth, so this little lady was just the ticket.
I made a few fun hacks to View C of Sienna, namely adding welt pockets (borrowed from our Clare Coat) and a quilted back. I finally, FINALLY finished my linen half square triangle quilt (now ready to be professionally quilted on someone’s long arm) and had a few blocks left over, so I figured I’d make a design feature out of them by creating a back yoke, something I also did for my embroidered Sienna. I quilted them directly to the denim, and I think it gives this jacket a fun “walk in the country” vibe, even if it’s more of a “walk through the yet to be cleaned post-winter streets of Montreal” situation.
I had to modify the pocket bag for the welt so it wouldn’t interfere with the hem, and they are placed a bit high so it’s slightly awkward to put my hands in. That said, I refuse to wear gloves in April so I’m happy to have nice cozy pockets I can stick my hands in while I wait for Harry to do his endless poopoo dance.
It is super warm and cozy with the shearling lining, which we were sent by Simplifi Fabric. They are a great Canadian fabric store with a focus on sustainable and eco fabrics, and this organic cotton sherpa is soooo soft and cozy! They only had white at the time which I felt was a bit too bright and high contrast with my denim, so I attempted to give it a light tea bath. It’s reading quite white in the photos, but in reality it’s a lovely creamy shade. Tea dyeing is such an easy, economic way to shift or mute a colour. I let it soak for just a few minutes and then ran it through a rinse cycle in the wash. To keep it nice and fluffy, I tumble dried it on low heat with a few wool dryer balls, and it came out good as new. While the shearling keeps my body warm, I switched to a flannel lined satin called Kasha for the sleeves – you should always have something smooth in sleeve linings so it’s easy to get on and off. I had some scraps of this particular lining leftover from another project and I was glad to put it to use.
I was a bit of a lining rebel with this make; most linings have ease built-in with “pleats” created at the hem, and sometimes at center back to help with mobility. I didn’t bother with this, although I was half scared the lining gods would strike me down, but it actually worked out fine. Instead, I trimmed the sleeve and hem of the lining at the hem fold, and simply wrapped the jacket hem up and over the lining to stitch it in place with topstitching. There is no weird pulling when I’m wearing it, which I am chalking up to the boxy fit; I’m not sure I would do the same thing with something more fitted. We created a tutorial explaining how to modify the pattern pieces to add a lining, and I followed that and added a 1/4″ extra at the armscye area so the sleeve and lining wouldn’t catch at the underarm seam.
For the body, I used some selvage denim I had bought in a panic the night before our Sienna shoot. I was going to bang out a new “jean jacket” sample before Amy talked me off the ledge, so here is my version of a Sienna jean jacket: dark denim, white contrasting thread and some pretty gold buttons from our jean notions kits. I also made to sure to add our sleeve pocket, since it’s perfect for storing an iPhone while I’m listening to podcasts, walking the dog and trying to envision a future where I can hug people again.
To construct the collar, I followed the same instructions in our booklet. I’ve seen some instructions for notched collars that have you insert the assembled collar into the neckline before attaching the facing, but I prefer our method. It ensures all the seams are pressed open which reduces bulk and gives a nice flat finish. I only wish I had remembered to insert a little jacket loop. By the time I remembered I had finished topstitching the hem, and readers, I could just not be bothered to rip everything out to add it.
Since the turn of cloth for this sherpa is so thick, I wish I had drafted the upper collar to be slightly bigger, that way I could have rolled the denim undercollar more while pressing so it wouldn’t be visible from the outside. Ahhh, live and learn! I skipped the topstitching on the collar since I didn’t want to squish the shearling, but I did topstitch the center front till the collar break, just to keep all those layers nicely anchored together.
Since I finished it I’ve been wearing it nearly every morning and evening, and it’s like a big squishy denim hug. Just what I need right now!
What are you comfort sewing these days?