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…
The front exterior pockets are actually just meant to be flaps, but I added slash pockets underneath them and made one of the four buttons functional so that the flap could stay closed. James was ecstatic to discover he could fit a bottle of beer in each pocket during the party…
The only fitting alteration I made was to lengthen the sleeves, which were more like 3/4 length as drafted. Inside one of the cuffs, I added (at his request) a small pocket to hold his Oyster card so he can just magically wave his arm over the readers. Yes, he actually wants to wear this out and about, not just for the party!
Here’s one side showing off just some of the internal slash pockets that hold his wallet, camera, PSP, Nokia N800, etc etc. I’m surprised he can stand considering the weight of all that velvet and brass plus the weight of the gadgets!
We had our pirate boatwarming party on Saturday night* (with about 100 people, 98 of which came in full pirate gear), and I actually managed to finish it on time, plus make white cotton peasant shirts for both of us, a leather corset and skirt for myself, and breeches (with more brass buttons) for him.
And as for that mistake? All the handstitched braid and buttons (plus the Oyster pocket) are facing inwards rather than out. I could’ve sewed more onto the (now) outward side, but didn’t have enough braid or buttons leftover to go around. Oh well, no one noticed at the party, and he’s utterly in love with the jacket. I’m just happy it’s FINISHED and I’ve got my sewing dummy freed up again!
* Yes, Saturday was a very busy day – up at 7am for the catwalk show, a quick change into old clothes to rip out and haul 5 more hotel walls to create a dancefloor, then vacuuming up plaster dust on my hands and knees, a quick nap, then pirating until 3:30am!