Operation leather jacket // Stage 0: Prelude

I am both pleased and scared to admit that I am fed up with looking for my perfect leather jacket. I have tried to find it, believe me, but I never succeeded. Every now and again I would come across a gorgeous jacket online, but it cost an arm and a leg. Or jackets in real life that were made of fake leather, which I don’t like. I even found promising looking jackets in my size (or so the label said) that turned out to have sleeves that only the skinniest of supermodels would fit. Who even thinks of that? I owned a classic black biker jacket for a while, but it was so big on my that I didn’t feel good in it. So now I’m done. I’m making my own.

‘I have never tried that before, so I think I should definitely be able to do that’

pippi-langkous

I’m sometimes called Pippi Longstocking by my coworkers because of my optimistic, slightly naive attitude towards new things. Not that I mind: I’d rather be Pippi than a pessimist, because Pippi is awesome. But in this case, I kind of scare myself. I have never sewn clothing for myself. The closest I’ve come is sewing birthday dresses and a sweater for my girl, but never something adult-sized. Let alone for someone with curves, like me. And something entirely self-designed and patterned: never.

Before I started knitting sweaters, I was scared too, and now I can’t knit enough of them. But that is different. You see, when you accidentally knit your sweater too small, you simply frog it and reuse the yarn. But if you cut your clothes too small, there’s no do-over with those pieces. I know that that’s why people make muslins, and I will too, but it still scares me. After the jacket is finished I’ll probably look back at myself right now and laugh at my hesitance.

So I’m just going to do it. Scared or not, here I go!

The making of a leather jacket

The first step in my process was drawing up a design. It was a fun step to see the ideas in my head come together on paper, but it was also a what-the-heck-am-I-getting-myself-into kind of step. So, I decided to allow myself to work from a rough pattern towards a more and more refined one and to make adjustments along the way. It’s funny: at work I advocate this kind of working, but in my crafting life I am scared to follow my own advice. I am going to do it though. I have to practice what I preach! So here’s how it’s going to go down:

  • Stage 0 // Prelude: The planning and drawing stage, which I now declare done. I have to let go of what I don’t yet know and allow myself to discover these things as I come across them.
  • Stage 1 // The basics: I am going to make a basic pattern based off off a soft shell jacket that fits me well. I’ll make a muslin based on this pattern and make adjustments where necessary.
  • Stage 2 // Practice: Once I’ve got this basic pattern figured out, I’m going to add the aesthetic seams that I want in there. I will make a new muslin and repeat this process untill I’m happy with the pattern.
  • Stage 3 // Dress rehearsal: Based on this final pattern, I’m going to make a wearable muslin out of soft shell fabric. I’m in need of a new soft shell, and this is just killing two birds with one stone.
  • Stage 4 // The grand finale: By now, I should be so comfortable with my pattern that I can commit to making the final version out of leather. This, by the way, is going to happen entirely by hand. I really want to feel each stitch that goes into it and I want this to be the cherry on the cake that is all the work that will have gone into it up until that point.

The exciting part, apart from ending up with exactly the jacket I want, is that I am going to learn so much from this entire process! From making patterns and muslins to fitting them and making alterations, from working with soft shell fabric to hand stitching leather, and from adding pockets to a jacket to making the seams watertight (because if I go through all this effort to make myself a jacket, I want it to last forever!).

I am both looking forward to it and dreading making that first muslin. Better get to it, though!

What project are you looking forward to but dreading at the same time? Or have you made a project that you felt that way about before you started? What was it and how did it turn out? Comment below! I’d love to know if there are more people feeling this way!

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