We have loved our sofa since the moment we bought it about 5 years ago, and the bones of it are in great condition, but the fabric the manufacturers used was not fit for every day wear and tear. It faded, took on stains, and the final straw was when the cushion fabric actually wore through (it didn’t rip, the fabric disintegrated).
I started as new office job back in May (I’m a product manager in the music/tech space when I’m not designing sewing patterns or writing books!) and since this company is significantly bigger than all the previous offices I’ve worked for in the past, I’ve spent the last few months getting excited about the prospect of the first big office Christmas party of my life. And of course, with that comes What To Wear.
Wow. After nearly two years, I finally finished my boyfriend’s black velvet pirate jacket. Lined with gold satin, with functional pockets, functional buttonholes, brass buttons, tons of interior pockets for his gadgets, and hidden pocket inside the cuff for his Oyster card. There was so much handstitching on this and velvet is such an jerk of a fabric that I seriously wasn’t sure I’d ever finish it. I had problems at pretty much every step of the way, the majority of which stemmed from the fact that you can’t iron velvet. At all. Made in a different fabric, with non-functioning costume parts as indicated on the pattern, this would be a fairly straightforward project.
But since he wanted silk velvet and satin and for everything to function, plus have pockets absolutely everywhere, combined with a hem a mile long, this turned into a complete nightmare of a jacket. The handstitching alone took more manhours than I actually want to think about without bursting into tears. I did manage to make one big mistake near the end, even though I was so careful to NOT do it in my planning. It would’ve been impossible to fix without a complete deconstruction (and stitching lines remain in velvet forever), so I just left it as is. See if you can tell what it is from the photos, and I’ll reveal all below…
Remember that velvet pirate jacket I was working on, ooh, two years ago? Well, as much as I hate that thing and all of the fabric choices associated with it, I have been slogging through and doing a few things to it here and there over the past few months.
One of the nice things about buying tons of lush, black velvet for your boyfriend’s pirate coat is that you get to have your way with the leftover fabric! And if you’re a bit cheeky and insist that you’re going to be left out in the cold very soon because none of your other jackets fit anymore, then sometimes, sometimes, you can get away with making use of the scraps before the intended recipient of the fabric.
I made Jacket 101B from the 08/2006 issue of Burda World of Fashion magazine, which, if you’re not familiar, contains about 50 patterns in each magazine, ranging from incredibly fashion-forward to designs to some real “who in god’s name would wear THAT?” shockers. But overall, there’s at least a few things you’d make in each issue if you had enough time. August’s was a particularly good issue, but seeing as how my need for a jacket was the greatest, I tackled this first.
My boyfriend and I are currently saving up for the mortgage deposit to buy a boat (a huge barge, not a tiny narrow canal boat) to live on starting this winter. We don’t want your average housewarmi- sorry, boatwarming party, so we’ve already decided it’s going to be a full pirate fancy dress theme. And if you’re throwing a fancy dress party, you’ve got to be the best dressed ones there!
For him, I bought Simplicity 4923 and have very slowly started to make the jacket portion out of a gorgeously thick, black silk velvet I scored at Walthamstow Market for £3/mt (by rights, it should’ve been at least £20/mt). He picked out some very nice hemispherical antique brass buttons from MacCulloch & Wallis plus some dark gold braid for the accents.