Me-Made Monthly // Alina Sewing + Design Co. Hampton Jean Jacket Review



“You can’t have a million dollar dream with a minimum wage work ethic.”  - Stephen C. Hogan




I’ve always found great value in and admire most the ordinary, everyday, diligent, hard worker (making them quietly extraordinary).  They are most often humble, full of integrity, and know the value of putting their heads down and getting to work.  They are problem solvers and knowledge seekers.  I grew up with them, I married one of them, we are striving to raise them, and I continually try to make small changes myself that bring me closer to becoming this person.    

Alina, of Alina Sewing + Design Company, has manifest with her first two pattern releases, and now with the Hampton Jean Jacket Pattern, that she indeed has a million dollar dream, and a work ethic to boot!  It is apparent in her complex, detail oriented patterns, written for the professional and novice alike, that she doesn’t fear or shrink from hard work.  She knows that a quality pattern, when applied correctly, will result in a quality piece.  The Hampton Jean Jacket is a very high quality piece that I am beyond pleased to add to my closet. 





Alina describes her pattern as “an ode to the classic jean jacket… cut to be close fitting, yet roomy enough to wear over a couple of light layers or a thin sweater.”  Her pattern assembly instructions are so thorough that although I have never attempted anything as intimidating and expansive as this, my enthusiasm for all things sewing coupled with Alina’s attention to detail (and a great group of pattern testers!) brought me to the finish line. 

**I think it is significant to note I am no professional.  I have never taken a sewing lesson or class in my life. I have sewn many ill-fitting garments and home décor for years before things finally started making sense in my head (when I finally starting following patterns instead of making everything up).  I learned that I do love learning new skills and will pick a pattern based on a skill I want to learn.  This skill base I’m learning allows me to be more creative, which I really love.  I still make so sooo many mistakes though.  I share this hoping it is encouraging and offers hope… you will never know if you are capable of making something like this unless you try!  



The Hampton Jean Jacket Pattern includes instructions for how to sew bar-tacks, how to apply contrasting topstitching, how to sew flat fell seams (a first for me!), details on installing sleeves and metal buttons, and how to sew a collar.  Her pattern also includes details for how to lengthen and shorten the pattern, fitting guidelines to help you achieve the perfect fit, a link to her sew along and a glossary!  Like I said, this is an advanced pattern written so even the basic sewist can produce professional results.

I chose a bottom-weight, Kelly green twill from JoAnn’s.  While Alina suggests a 10.5oz non-stretch denim for this pattern, she also notes that medium weight woven fabrics, such as twill, may be used.  I currently own a perfectly fitted denim jacket, maybe just like several of you, so I opted to do something a little different than what I already own (I will admit though, after seeing how much fun working with denim can be I think I might need a second denim jean jacket after all!).  I am really so excited, I feel like the sky is the limit my friends!  What would this jacket look like in leather or a floral twill with tiny white pom-poms?  My heart skips a beat just thinking about it!  I can’t wait to see what becomes of this pattern! 

Having one Hampton Jean Jacket under my belt, I do have a few gems to share – mostly uncovered from my own mistakes…

JILL’S GEMS:
1).  Leave yourself ample time to complete this pattern.  Plan ahead.  Read through the instruction booklet before you start so you know what to expect and get an idea of how many steps are included in this project.  While parts of this pattern (maybe flat fell seams or welt pockets) may challenge you, it is not an overly hard pattern.  There are however, many many steps (read soo much topstitching!).  In the future I will give myself at least two weeks, expecting to work on the jacket as much as possible during this time, to complete the jacket.  I can guarantee every step feels 100% worth it in the end.     

2).  Do not use Dritz No-Sew Bachelor Buttons (purchased from JoAnn’s but I’m sure you could also buy them in different stores on-line)!  I had seven break, SEVEN, in the process of trying to insert buttons.  I also found a mini anvil worked best for holding the button steady (found in a jean rivet tool kit) while hammering it in.  One more note relating to buttons, interfacing all non-denim fabrics where buttons will be inserted will make insertion so much easier.        

3.  Think twice about the quality of fabric you use!  I am a busy, money pinching, short on spare time mother of four.  This is a labor-intensive project that you will be very proud of when you have finished.  For the amount of time you will put into this jacket, you will wish you had used the best of what is out there to make it.  As Alina said in her original description, it is a classic piece.  I am sure mine will hang in my closet for many years.  Build it to last my friends.   

And having said that, Alina has paired up with Threadbare Fabrics to make choosing quality fabric and buttons easy! Threadbare Fabrics uses American Made Cone Mills Denim, all of which I’ve only heard rave reviews about!



That’s it!  Do you feel ready to tackle this beauty now yourself?  I promise to cheer you on along the way!  The feeling of accomplishment as you’re cutting that last thread and standing in the mirror with a stupefied look on your face that you did actually just make a jean jacket out of a pile of fabric is so satisfying and worthwhile!  Promise! 

Very last thing to note, I did make a few small changes.  In before I took these photos, I forgot to bar tack my pockets, ooppss!  I did triple topstitching instead of the usual double (!!!) and I left off the tabs on the bottom to give the jacket a little crisper look (I thought the fabric choice demanded it, ha!).




Now get to it!  You can do it, I know you can!  Now I’m just crossing my fingers that California weather doesn’t heat up too fast, moving my green jacket to the back of my closet for a season.    

Comments

  1. Jill, this green jacket is so much fun! I feel like I need to find a fun color and make another one. It looks so sharp with your black pants and white shirt!

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  2. So, would you recommend the twill from JoAnn's again? Or are you saying we should look for a better quality?

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    1. Kathy, the twill from JoAnn's is fine and for the sake of fun colors i would use it again. It is of course on the thinner side and probably won't last as long as a denim would. It also relaxes a bit. No pilling or anything that I've noticed thus far. I would not use the buttons from JoAnn's though as previously mentioned.

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