Wednesday, January 24, 2018

McCalls 7481 - Hack'd

This was the second piece completed during my Christmas Sewcation and the first piece of my Crazy 8 Wardrobe Plan. Just to remind you the details of the plan are in this post.

It's McCalls 7481 ~


Inspiration ~
Earlier this spring, I made this jacket using an African print. I've worn that jacket twice ~ both times out to dinner with friends. I've never worn it to work and I don't know why?  I stumbled across the inspiration jacket during my Pinterest travels. 


I follow Blair from Atlantic Pacific on Instagram, Pinterest and her blog. I'm constantly inspired by her looks and copied a garment she featured years ago too. When I saw this pic I immediately thought of McCalls 7481 as the starting point.

What I most admired about the jacket is the floral print and how it extended into the gathered bottom. It looks like it's made from a silky type fabric. However, I immediately saw it in a denim and I KNEW I had the perfect fabric in the collection to make it work.


This lightweight denim fabric is from Fabrixx in San Francisco.  Shams was shopping there and sent me a note asking if I wanted some. People seriously I have the best sewing friends! Definitely wanted some - it was just a matter of determining how much to buy...I ended up with 2 panels though later I wished I'd bought 3.

Anyhoo, when I added this jacket to my Crazy 8 Wardrobe plan I knew it would be a project. I was hacking a pattern and I was using a fabric that I hoped would work for the design. Also this style is a little out of my comfort zone. It has more of an artistic/art teacher flair to it. Clothing that I love on others but rarely make for myself.

Materials Used:
Ltwt denim border fabric from Fabrixx
Black midweight denim from Smuggler's Daughter
Ltwt fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply
Large Snaps from Pacific Trims

Pattern Alterations/Construction Techniques ~
This a great pattern to start with because it comes ready to color block.  Since I've already used the pattern all of the pattern alterations have been made to it. 


Now while the pattern has separate pieces to use in color blocking, I still traced and adjusted my already altered pieces because I didn't want to fiddle with new pattern pieces. 

My pattern changes:
1. Cut the front and back pieces adding 2" below the waistline.
2. Omit the lining since it's a denim jacket.
3. Used the front & back facing pieces I'd made for the previous jacket.
4. Omitted the pockets again ~ honestly I regret omitting now that I've worn the finished jacket.

Construction techniques:
a. Since the goal was to have a fully gathered skirt on the jacket, I used the lower front panel piece from the pattern. I cut it on the fold for the back but I used the entire length of the border print. 
b. Then I cut two front pieces from the border print using the same pattern piece.
c.  The gathering was accomplished using the dental floss technique that's worked so well for me in the past.


d. I cut the collar using a darker piece of the border print to bring some of the border print to the top of the jacket.


Sleeves ~
Let's be honest I have fat upper arms and I almost always need to make adjustments to the sleeve pattern pieces.  This pattern was no exception. Although I'd already made alterations to the sleeve pattern piece when I originally made the jacket, the sleeve didn't work as cut. I don't know if it's because my fabric is an unforgiving denim or what but they just didn't work.

Thank goodness I had enough fabric left over to recut new sleeves. I decided to add a seam down the center of the sleeve so that I could get the extra space I needed where I needed it.


By adding a center seam I solved most of my problems with how the sleeves fit and hung.  I also made the armholes a little larger when I put the sleeves in to take up some space in the jacket front that was pulling in a funny direction. 

I could tell something was wrong not only by how the jacket felt when I put it on but also how it looked. See I've started to take quick pics on my iPad when fitting. It helps me get a better idea of how a garment hangs and looks, as well as how it feels.

Now my upper arms are considerably fatter than my lower arms and wrists. So to insure that my wrists don't look like they are floating in a too big sleeve, I added ties from the border print to the bottom of the sleeve.  This way I can tie the sleeve, giving it a better fit at the wristbone.


A few construction shots ~

Pinning the gathered skirt onto the jacket 


The jacket without the sleeves after 
the bottom has been added

There was a lot of thought and care given to the interior of this jacket since it wasn't lined. I hand stitched the jacket hem as well as the sleeve hems. The front plackets were hand stitched down after I sewed the fabric covered snaps to the front bands.


A few pictures of the jacket in action ~

Wearing the jacket with a RTW pin at the neckline

Jacket front opened so you can see the covered snaps


View of the back gathered skirt

A gust of wind showing the jacket's flow

Conclusion ~
I thoroughly enjoyed making this jacket probably because I had the time to think through the challenges and execute them. I'm also thrilled that while it's not an exact replica of the inspiration jacket, it works for me.

This isn't a silhouette I usually wear and I'm even happy about that. Also, some would think this should be an outerwear jacket but it's cold here on the East Coast. It also looks like it's gonna be a very cold winter, so warm layering pieces are on my creative horizon right now.

This was my second garment of my sewcation and took the longest to complete but so worth every minute I spent working on it.

...as always more later!






45 comments:

  1. Wonderful jacket! So nice to read the description of your alterations to the pattern. That sleeve-thing is just what I need to my fat arms! Thank you!

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    1. My fat arms are always a challenge so I've developed a number of "tricks" to make sleeves work. I hope it works for you too.

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  2. This is so fabulous! I love Fabrixx, I've only been twice, but their fabric is such a bargain. It's always a bit of a hunt, but I've found some great things there. I was actually so excited by this jacket I had to show my mom... Now she wants one! I doubt I'll be able to find such a great denim print, but I'm certainly inspired to look for something suitable for some gift sewing.

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    1. When I visited San Francisco, Fabrixx was the place that filled my suitcase. I would go again in a heartbeat.

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  3. I freakin' love this jacket on you - love the whole outfit in fact. You are such an inspiration to me.

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    1. Thanks Rebecca - I love this jacket too. It turned out so much better than I thought it would.

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  4. This is an inspiring garment. Congratulations

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    1. Thanks Cindy! I started with a good original inspiration garment.

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  5. I agree with Cindy - such an inspiration jacket! Karen

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  6. What an absolutely gorgeous jacket!!! Looks great on you!!!

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  7. Fun fabric, fabulous jacket.

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  8. So beautiful! A work of art! I've been wanting a denim coat/jacket for ages and have the fabric but have just not got there in my head yet - reading your process and seeing the final result has been an inspiration. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks Kathleen! I have a couple of denim jacket ideas floating around in my head. I just have to be in the right frame of mind and have enough time to work on them. I'm finding I really like working with denim now especially since I didn't sew much with it before.

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  9. Love the jacket and the fabric! How nice of Shams to find it for you.

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    1. I know Shams is pretty awesome! Thanks for liking the jacket!

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  10. Love, love, LOVE this jacket! Looks really fabulous on you. And it’s given me an idea for a large floral print fabric that I love but have been unable to figure out what to do with. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. LWS - thank you! I love large floral prints too and try to limit how many I buy because you have to be really creative to make them work...which means they sit in the collection for years before being used.

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  11. I love this. Drooling over the fabric!

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    1. Thanks Heidi and I agree that border print denim is AMAZING!

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  12. Love this jacket! As a fellow lady with large biceps and slim wrists I like your idea to add tie straps. I plan on using this idea - thanks! Karen

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    1. Karen - please feel free to use any idea I post and I hope it works for you too! Thanks for loving the jacket.

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  13. Replies
    1. Thanks Faye - can't wait to see what you come up with in the Day/Night Challenge!

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  14. That is one amazing jacket! I'm envious of your fabric. Absolutely gorgeous stuff!

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    1. Irene - thank you! The fabric was awesome and since I'm trying really hard to sew from the collection this year - there will be more of these amazing pieces seeing the light of day!

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  15. Very beautiful! It suits you so well.

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    1. Thank you! It's been a journey to come to a style that works for me now so I appreciate your comment.

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  16. This coat is great! I bet you get to use it well into the spring and early summer. I think I need to collect denim too.

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    1. Rita - I went on a real denim collecting tear and now I have some amazing pieces to use...so there will be more pieces like this in the future. Good luck with the denim collecting.

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  17. This is stunning! I love how you used that beautiful piece of fabric and made it sing. I think you'll get a lot of wear out of this jacket. Enjoy. g

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    1. G - since I had to sew this one mostly without help from you since you went on vacation, I really appreciate the love! ;)

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  18. Love this coat! So very much like the inspiration one. Great fabric!

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    1. Thanks Linda - sometimes I try to get as close to the inspirational garment as possible and sometimes it's just a jumping off point. This time I really wanted the inspiration garment just out of denim.

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  19. FUN! I think the collar is my favorite part <3

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    1. N - really the collar? Interesting...cause I love the skirt portion the best.

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  20. I love how you take an inspiration and make it work for your lifestyle. Absolutely gorgeous Carolyn

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    1. ACraftyScrivener - thanks! I wish I could get more of the things that inspire me made into actual garments. I have a very thick inspiration file and not enough time!

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  21. Gorgeous! Absolutely love it!

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  22. I love, love, love this jacket! And what cool fabric - perfect pairing.

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  23. This is so edgy, I love it, the hair, the leggings all of it, great job!

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  24. This is a beautiful jacket! It looks great on you! I also appreciate you taking the time to explain your sewing process in this blog post.

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Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! It is so appreciated.

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