Ta daa! The end result of a month-long sewing project that looks nothing like what I had originally planned.
About 18 months ago Denis (salesperson with the silver long braid in our NYC store) pulled me aside and said I had to buy some of this beautiful black rayon jersey we had just gotten in. Now when Denis tells you to buy a fabric, take his advice because he has the most exquisite taste. And this was no ordinary rayon jersey. This fabric was lustrous, thick, heavy and expensive-looking.
But it sat in my stash for months while I thought about what to make with it. Last month I saw a simple collarless jacket with a tie belt, from designer Ralph Rucci, that I thought I’d use as inspiration. But that first attempt ended up looking like a bulky mess.
Long story short and I’m not even sure how I got here, I ended up with this rayon jersey and leather jacket.
Guess which material was easier to work with, rayon jersey or the leather? The latter by far. This rayon jersey is so heavy that a scrap practically makes a thud when it falls on the floor. And it scorches when ironed. So I had to do a lot of stabilizing around the neckline (combination of fusible interfacing and organza) and at the shoulder seams (petersham ribbon on the seam’s wrong side to prevent stretching), plus very careful pressing.
But even though the rayon jersey was challenging to sew, I’m really happy with the results. The jacket feels sleek and contemporary. I love how adding a touch of leather can make a garment look more polished and less loving-hands-at-home. Plus, leather is so easy to sew and pleasant to work with; it’s fast becoming my favorite “fabric.”
Other construction tidbits:
• The leather section of the coat is lined with black ponte, which I used as a lightweight alternative to the rayon jersey, fearing the rayon jersey would be too heavy.
• The two-way zipper is by Lampo and I bought it from and had it custom-cut at Botani Buttons and Trim on W. 36th Street in NYC.
• The inside zipper area is faced with some lightweight silk taffeta I had in my stash.
• The seams were pressed open and the edges serged. (Serging two layers together resulted in a too-bulky seam.)
• I’ll probably store this jacket flat rather than hang it, just to prevent stretching.
• Before I even began to sew this jacket, I spend a couple of hours testing seams and finishes. I highly recommend test-driving first any fabrics that are new to you before you cut your first pattern piece.
• I wish I could tell you what pattern I used, but I ended up diverging so much that this barely resembles the original starting point.
Next up: a wrap vest made from menswear suiting. Until then!