The Incredible Shrinking Jacket

Sometimes things don't turn out like you envsion when you are sewing for yourself.  You can either pitch it (which I've done plenty), or like Tim Gunn likes to say, you can "make it work"!

I bought 3 yards of this beautiful Vera Wang Ribbon Faille fabric, and thought it would be the perfect overcoat for Spring.  I couldn't wait to make it, even though Spring is weeks away, so I chose the simplest pattern that I could, and made it in an evening.  It looked good to me that night, but like a drunken sailor, the next day, it just looked awful.  I don't blame the pattern- the pattern is just fine.  And the fabric is just fine too.  Just not that pattern and this fabric together.

The fabric is really, really light- it weighs virtually nothing, so it doesn't drape like this particular pattern needed.  It just kind of sticks out.  Imagine the styrofoam packing fabric that you get wrapped around dishes, and you'll get close to what this fabric weighs and how it would behave wrapped around a body.

So, it was a bad marriage between fabric and pattern to begin with.  But, I thought, this marriage can be saved!  All I need to do is make it shorter- so I chopped off 6 inches, and rehemmed it.  It just made the bad marriage even worse- it added 20 years and 20 pounds.  Uggh!  So, I literally ripped it apart.  No careful stitch by stitch ripping- just big rips at all the seams.

I gave up on the idea of an overcoat for Spring- I mean, what was I thinking?  This fabric couldn't keep out the Midwestern winds and rain.  I looked to my trusty Burda magazine for inspiration and found this short little Chanel like jacket pattern in the February 2010 issue.

Luckily, I could fit all of the Burda pattern pieces on my ripped out pieces.  I liked my pockets with the ball and trim fringe, and just reduced them 2 inches in both directions. I ditched the buttons, and added 4 yards of blue braid around the perimeter of the jacket to give it some more weight.  For the lining, I just used a lightweight ivory satin.

SO,  this jacket took me WAY longer than it should have, but I'm pretty happy with the end results.  Good thing, as the only other thing I could do to shrink it is to make it a vest!


  1. The incredible shrinking jacket became a shorter jacket that is BIG on style! Wonderful save!

  2. What a great transformation. Makes us wonder at times what we're doing. Lovely jacket now.

  3. Great save!. The shorter jacket looks so nice on you.

  4. You did a great job saving this! I really like the fabric, color and style of this on you.

  5. Third time's a charm. I really like that third version.


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