I love when projects that I planned for a long time turn out exactly how I envisioned them which is the case with this fun little jacket. When I started my job here in the UK I suddenly needed work appropriate clothes and that within a couple of weeks (which is why sewing was not an option). Having studied engineering for 6 years there were basically no business smart clothes in my closet. My student “uniform” consisted of skinny jeans and oversized jumpers, sometimes mixed up with a mini skirt, casual button ups and cardigans. All quite practical and nothing fancy. As my job required business smart clothes I needed a full set of new outfits. Not being a big shopper and also not very inspired by the average business apparel, the task became tedious. I was surprised how difficult it was to find a simple white blouse that was not completely see-through or trousers that weren’t so cropped that they showed half my calf. Without a decent budget either I ended up with a random selection of ok-ish clothes with not a lot of pieces that I loved. Since then I have slowly been expanding and replacing my wardrobe piece by piece, trying to create a work wardrobe that is stylish and consists of garments that I love wearing. It’s been a slow process. I still haven’t found/developed the perfect dressy trousers pattern or tackled a simple long-sleeved blouse. But I am getting there.
One thing that I found was that I was getting tired of cardigans. While they are comfortable and can look really cute I felt the need for something more structured. On the other hand, while I think that a classic blazer is an important staple, I find them too restricting for a whole day sitting at the computer. So I needed something in between and found I was gravitating either to slightly oversized and loose shapes or cropped little jackets. The one here falls in the latter category and I really like the silhouette. The fabric was an attempt to bring more colour and patterns into my wardrobe. I’ve been trying to find a patterned jacket or fabric for ages, but I found it incredibly difficult to settle on a pattern that I really like and won’t get sick off after a couple of wears. So when I found this pretty fabric online, I bought it right away. In real life the fabric has a slight polyester-y feel but nothing too terrible and the pattern and colours are just too fun to pass it up.
Taking advantage of having the flat to myself I finished the jacket in one weekend to wear it to work on Monday. For the pattern I used a BurdaStyle pattern that I had bookmarked as soon as I saw it in the 08/2015 magazine. The only changes I made to the pattern were to lengthen the body and the sleeves by 5 cm and to narrow the shoulders a little bit (a common problem I seem to have with Burda patterns). Coincidentally the pattern was the one pattern with detailed instructions in the magazine, however, midway through I completely forgot about the instructions as putting the jacket together was very straight forward. I did my best at pattern matching at the back seam and sleeves and realised that I had never had to pattern match set-in sleeves (definitely a sign that I don’t work enough with prints). I finished the seams with a zig zag stitch for the sleeve and shoulder seams and used a Hong-Kong finish for the rest. I got a little bias binding happy and used two different ones, a simple grey one and a black and white polka dot one. I like how they both look in combination with the wrong side of the fabric. I also finished the sleeve hem with bias binding. Originally I had planned to turn it under and hand stitch it in place but I like the contrast of the grey bias binding. I will admit that I used an iron-on tape to finish off the hem of the body, for some garments I like to use this as a quick and simple solution.
All in all putting it together was a really enjoyable process, the fabric didn’t fray as much as expected and pressed surprisingly well. As for the fit, I am quite happy with it. I should take out some width at the back of the shoulders next time as the fabric bunches up a little. Unfortunately I don’t have my dressform here in the UK and my boyfriend is of little help when it comes to sewing, so achieving a perfect fit is quite a challenge at the moment. For now I am not too bothered though. I can see myself wearing this a lot and it definitely fits the bill of smart but stylish at the same time. I styled it here with some old skinny jeans and a t-shirt for a more casual look. At work I have worn it with a cream pencil skirt and a silk top. The longer I work on this business wear wardrobe challenge the more I am actually enjoying it. And it just makes such a difference if you start your work day with a “meh” look or an outfit that you feel confident and stylish in.