Completed: The Hampton Jean Jacket

27 Mar

I actually finished this project months ago – like, as in, 2017. Took the photos in mid-November, and then started this blog draft at the end of that month. I have no idea why I never finished writing it up, but… better late than never, I suppose?

Hampto Jean Jacket

At any rate, despite my apparent reluctance to post this project, I am actually pretty happy and excited about it! I love me a good denim jacket, and have always considered it a wardrobe staple for the way I dress. My style has changed a lot over the years – in my teens I was ~punk rock~ (insert hysterical laughter in hindsight yere), in my 20s I was really into vintage, and now I tend to dress just pretty boring overall (I like to think I look “classic,” but let’s be real – it’s boring AF, whatever, don’t care). With all those style changes, the humble denim jacket has always held a special place in my heart and a leading role in my wardrobe.

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

I think it’s safe to say that there are lots of people who feel the same way as I do about the versatility of a denim jacket, however, it’s been hard to find a sewing pattern that includes all the features you see in one (such as the welt pockets, or a sleeve placket). I have made the Staci Jean jacket in the past, but it wasn’t quite up to par – the fit was more generous than what I prefer, and it really bothered me that it didn’t have actual pockets. I ended up not getting a lot of wear out of that jacket and later donating it.

The Hampton Jean Jacket is a great pattern that includes all the features I like in a jean jacket – those welt pockets, functional in-panel pockets with a top flap, a two-piece sleeve with a placket and cuff, and front and back yokes. Sewn up in a denim fabric with contrast topstitching and metal jeans buttons, it’s almost indistinguishable from the RTW versions you see in stores (almost, but just a little bit better – because it’s handmade by meeeee 🙂 haha). I love that someone took the time to create this pattern, and y’all, it’s a good one. Not that the Style Arc Staci jacket is a bad one, but it’s very basic and lacking compared to this one. This was exactly the type of pattern I have been looking for to fill this hole in my wardrobe.

I bought my denim at Mood Fabrics when I was in NYC last year – specifically for this jacket (sometimes I buy for specific projects, sometimes I just stash… but in this case, it was indeed for this pattern). I wanted something that was a good weight for a jacket, although not too heavy, and with little to no stretch. I found this piece in the denim section of Mood (on the bottom floor) and I just love the dark indigo wash. I originally thought about distressing and bleaching the fabric, but ended up just sticking with what you see here (apparently you are supposed to distress before topstitching… so yeah, that wasn’t happening). As with all denims, this fabric should soften and fade as it is washed and worn, which I’m looking forward to seeing. In the meantime, I do like the way it looks now, too!

The pattern looks complicated, but it’s pretty easy to follow. Sewing a jean jacket is pretty similar to sewing jeans – minus the obvious difference between the two articles of clothing (like, you don’t sew a fly front in the jacket and you don’t set a sleeve in jeans.. or maybe you do, I ain’t here to judge your life), just a lot of flat felled seams and topstitching. Y’all know I fucking LOVE making jeans, but I also have way too many pairs as it is, so this was a nice way to get that jeans-making experience without adding yet another pair to my wardrobe. Instead, I managed to fill a gap at the same time! I love it when that happens!

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

I waffled for a bit on what size to cut – my measurements are closer to a 2, but I ended up making the size 0 after comparing the finished measurements to an existing RTW denim jacket I own and like the fit of. I wanted this one to be a slim fit that looks great both opened and closed (I rarely ever wear my denim jacket buttoned unless I’m like, actually cold or something, however, I needed to make sure there was enough space to close it if it came down to it!). My only complaint about the sizing is how the sleeve length is measured – for whatever reason, it’s measured from the top of the shoulder to the bottom, instead of at the underarm. This led me to originally believe that the sleeve was something crazy like 5″ too long, and I actually altered the pattern and nearly cut it before I thought to actually compare the pattern piece to a different sleeve pattern piece. I was under the impression that the standard is to measure from the underarm to wrist (like what is basically your arm inseam), but now I’m second-guessing myself and thinking maybe I’m the nutty one? Thoughts?

Anyway, like I said – this pattern is really easy to follow. It’s obvious that a lot of thought when into the instructions; they are clear, easy to understand and follow, and the diagrams are beautifully done. There is also a sewalong on the blog if you do happen to get stuck, although it seems like it’s basically a photographed copy of the instructions (i.e., no additional information or tips, just the exact same instructions except with photographs to guide you). I found the sizing to be accurate and the pieces fit well together. I don’t know much about Alina Design Company, however, this was a very pleasant first experience so I am happy about that!

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

For sewing, not much different than sewing jeans. I used a 90/14 denim needle, navy all purpose polyester thread to construct, and a lightweight topstitching thread for all the topstitching – Mara 70 from Wawak, which Jennifer introduced me to a couple years ago during one of our jeans workshops. It’s heavier than regular all-purpose thread – which is 100wt – but not as heavy as traditional topstitching thread – which is typically around 30wt. It still looks nice and thick so your stitches really stand out, but it’s not so thick that it causes your machine to jam or nest, and it is very easy to thread through a standard needle. If you’ve been having issues with topstitching thread, I really recommend trying this weight!

I tried to finish most of my seams with flat-felled seams, but a few (such as the front yoke seam and the armscye seam) had to be serged and topstitched for a mock flat-fell. My RTW denim jacket is like this – a combination of flat-felled and mock flat-felled, and this is all explained in the instructions as well. I washed and dried the denim on the hottest setting a few times before cutting, and have washed it more than necessary since finishing to get it to soften up a little bit more. I know it’ll fade with time, I just want to speed that time up 🙂

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

My only complaint with the pattern is that I think it is lacking some necessary interfacing. There is interfacing at the button placket, sleeve cuff, and bottom band – and that’s it. No interfacing at the in-panel pockets or flaps (which have buttons and button holes, so they *should* be interfaced – at least with a little square where the aforementioned buttons and button holes are), or on the back tabs where, again, there are button holes. I was able to add these in before closing up those areas, but I am a little surprised that they were included with the instructions, especially considering how in-depth the entire pattern is as a whole. One thing I did like was that the collar is not interfaced – you might need to do that if you are using a lighter weight fabric, but for this denim, the weight of the 2 layers of fabric was plenty. I love the way the collar sits!

Hampto Jean Jacket
Anyway, the jacket turned out pretty fucking awesome – if I do say so myself. I think the sleeves could stand to be shortened about 1″, but I usually wear my jacket sleeves rolled up anyway so I’m not terribly concerned about it. The length is perfect for wearing with pants, not so much dresses and skirts (perhaps with something that has a lower waist, but I think the long length paired with a high waist looks unbalanced and a little sloppy – at least on me!). That being said, I already made a second version that is cropped – specifically to wear with dresses and skirts – so watch this space for that!

*Note: The fabrics used in this project were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. 


35 Responses to “Completed: The Hampton Jean Jacket”

  1. bethnegrey March 27, 2018 at 12:03 pm #

    Well…this is more than a little bit better than RTW. It’s awesome — love it! And I agree with you re measuring for sleeves. Whenever I knit a pullover or cardi I always measure from underarm seam to wrist or wherever sleeve will be ending. So, at least there’s two of us :-). As I read your blog posts, I keep wondering….have you ever thought about designing patterns? Or, maybe just “Tweaked by Lladybird.” ❤

    • LLADYBIRD March 27, 2018 at 12:20 pm #

      Thank you! I don’t want to say I’ll never do something (things change!), however, I definitely do not have any plans or intentions for producing or designing sewing patterns. That is not my forte; I’d rather just sew them 🙂

  2. Kit March 27, 2018 at 12:15 pm #


  3. Rhonda March 27, 2018 at 2:02 pm #

    Your top stitching is stupendous!!

  4. Deborah March 27, 2018 at 2:19 pm #

    Love this jacket. I will say that my experience with Style Arc patterns has been that they have far too much ease and are just too large, even when I have sized down. Wanted to love a blouse and a dress made from Style Arc patterns but they just were not for my fine-boned frame.This Hampton jacket looks to be a keeper on fit.

    • LLADYBIRD March 28, 2018 at 11:08 am #

      I haven’t made many Style Arc patterns so I can’t really comment on the fit of those, but I do agree that the Hampton has a great fit + amount of ease!

  5. karen March 27, 2018 at 2:28 pm #

    Super perfect amount of slouch and shape! Love the classic Levis vintage fit. It’ll probably fade and naturally distress really well. A keeper for sure!

  6. Leslie March 27, 2018 at 3:18 pm #

    As an architect and sewist I can really appreciate the detailing on that jacket.

    • LLADYBIRD March 28, 2018 at 11:08 am #

      Thank you!! What a compliment 🙂

  7. Becky Thompson March 27, 2018 at 4:35 pm #

    Sweet jacket! Looks totally RTW. I think I’ll put this in the queue. What’s the thread color you used for the top stitching? Sleeve measurements are from the dent on top of your shoulder where the upper arm and shoulder bone meet, to the wrist. Or at least that’s what all the fitting classes I’ve taken say.

    Hey, did you figure out how to lock the top threads on your coverstitch? Loosen some slack in the top threads, raise the presser foot, lift the toe of the foot and pull the needle threads toward you from under the foot a couple of inches pretty tightly while holding the fabric in place with your left hand. That locks the top threads. Cut the two threads you have pulled forward and then tug the fabric to the back. That locks the back thread.

    • LLADYBIRD March 28, 2018 at 11:09 am #

      The thread color I use is 448. Not sure how that translates to the Gutterman you buy in a shop, though (I get mine from Wawak in the big spools). I’ve never heard that about sleeve measurements, but I guess that makes sense. I also measured from the underarm, like how knitting patterns do.

      Yep, got the thread locking squared away! Thank you!

  8. Anonymous March 27, 2018 at 6:19 pm #

    great looking jacket – great job – better than RTW!

  9. mertxelasierra March 28, 2018 at 3:41 am #

    Wow, Lauren! It’s perfect! The construction is awsome! Flawless! I take my hat off! You totally know how to handle your denim, girl! those pockets, corners, seams… besides style and fitting! Congrats!

    • LLADYBIRD March 28, 2018 at 11:10 am #

      Wow, thank you so much!! What a nice comment!! 🙂

  10. Fiona March 28, 2018 at 6:13 am #

    This jacket looks amazing. Also, every time you post a photo of your mannequin wearing only a top, I kinda want to get “Collapsible Shoulder” tattooed across my lower abdomen.

    • LLADYBIRD March 28, 2018 at 11:10 am #

      LOL that would be amazing!!! Haha I’d be tempted to do that too, except I’d hate having to explain it to people all the time 😛

  11. Teresa March 28, 2018 at 8:49 am #

    Love the jacket! I’ve been considering buying the Chi Town Chinos pattern from Alina Design Company to make pants for work. We’re not supposed to wear jeans but are still pretty casual so I think they might be perfect. I’d love to see your take on that pattern if you’re looking to make some casualish pants in that style

    • LLADYBIRD March 28, 2018 at 11:11 am #

      I don’t wear chinos so I doubt I’ll ever get around to making that pattern. Sorry! It looks nice, just not my style at all.

  12. Jane March 28, 2018 at 11:50 am #

    Jacket is fab of course…but YOUR HAIR. Like a badass version of Anne of Green Gables. (Looks at my own mouse brown hair and starts to cry)

    • LLADYBIRD March 28, 2018 at 12:51 pm #

      Haha thank you! Don’t get too jealous – my hair is this color because I pay for it to be! It’s naturally mouse brown too 🙂

  13. Sharon March 28, 2018 at 12:40 pm #

    Wow, I love your jacket! And thanks for your informative review. This is going in the queue for sure. I’ve bought a few rtw jean jackets in my life, but none of them ever fit me . . .
    So glad you’re planning a cropped version too!

    • LLADYBIRD March 28, 2018 at 12:51 pm #

      Thank you! It’s a great pattern, I’m so happy I made it!

  14. Jill March 29, 2018 at 8:28 am #

    I bought this pattern a while ago – but have yet to try it….your version is so perfect! Makes me really look forward to giving it a go…such a classic. Makes me reminisce about the worn out jeans jacket I “borrowed” from my first love back in high school about 40 years ago…!

    • LLADYBIRD March 29, 2018 at 9:05 am #

      Oh, those are the best kind of jackets for sure!!

  15. Kate MacLeod March 30, 2018 at 7:31 am #

    Looks great! I attempted a McCall’s Jean jacket and was disappointed. This one looks worth a try.

    Measuring under the arm could produce varying results depending on how closely fitted the armscye is.

  16. Let’s Get Sewing April 2, 2018 at 3:17 am #

    This looks amazing! I love the classsic blue denim but would be tempted to make one of these in every colour!

  17. Emily April 18, 2018 at 8:42 am #

    Love your jacket! I made one last year in an unconventional color (kelly green!) but would love to do another in a classic denim. I love the dark color of yours!

  18. eeeunice May 22, 2018 at 4:27 am #

    yay, thanks for the comparison to the Stacie! Was wondering which of the two to make and your blog post has just made the decision for me!

  19. Anonymous June 1, 2018 at 3:40 pm #

    Wow, pretty damn incredible! Jean jacket haute couture!!!


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