Sunday, November 24, 2013

Simplicity 2153 - a "wearable muslin"

After the endless sewing of "The Couture Dress", I longed for a quick and easy project for me.  I really wanted a casual field jacket.  And lucky me -- Simplicity patterns were on sale.  I bought some cheap cotton/poly twill at Hancock to make a wearable muslin for myself.  I wasn't in the mood for any fussy fitting, I just cut a 14 and started sewing. According to the measurements, it may be a little on the small side for my waist and hips, but with the extra ease for a drawstring waist, I told myself that it should be fine as-is.
Simplicity 2153

What I had in mind for this project was a field jacket -- more safari, less M65 -- but I bought green fabric.  I have a hard time walking away from green.  It's not an olive drab, but it's still got a military vibe.  I tried to distress it with bleach, but I really don't think it changed a thing  -- it's still dark green.  Never mind that I already have a green rain coat and two green fleece jackets.
The look I was trying to achieve. [Who carries a purse in the jungle?]
As the jacket came together, it became more and more military to me.  Once the epaulettes were on, I started thinking "Colonel Klink", imagining myself shouting about the fuhrer or the luftwaffe and wearing a monocle.  I had a hard time getting that image out of my head.

It also seemed SO BAGGY.  It took me forever to finish sewing, partly because I was busy with other projects, but also because I wasn't too excited to see it finished.  I regretted not fitting the pattern better at all. When I looked at it hanging on the dress form, it reminded me of my dad's Marine uniform (in his size).  Not the look I was going for.
Not baggy, but almost exactly the same green of my jacket.
My daughter poked her head in a few times and told me how much she liked it.  "Ooooh, I like your jacket. I need one like it for my trip to Ireland.  Maybe in red."  "This is mine."  I snapped, although it did occur to me that the dark green would complement her coloring much better than mine.

Even though I called this a muslin, I flat-felled all the seams, added trim and flaps to the pockets - and added zippered pockets - and bought nice buttons and zippers for it.  Most of it was experimentation, so I suppose it can still be called a muslin.  However, I was disappointed that if I wanted to alter any of the seams, I would have to pick out part of those flat-felled seams.  Not impossible, just more work.
Zipper pocket & pocket flaps added

Convinced that I would probably not wear the jacket as-is, the next time my daughter stopped in to tell me how much she liked it, and lobby for a red one, I told her "It's too baggy for me.  You can have it."  "REALLY? I love it!" She was thrilled, and I was just happy someone would wear it.
The waist loosened
That was before the waist casing was in and I saw how darn cute it became when the waist was gathered.  And before the antique brass buttons were on, that complemented the green fabric and matched the zippers. It was very cute, and I'd given it away!  When I told Stephanie that I may want it after all, she got a bit defensive.  "No takesies-backsies."  And desperately tried to make me think it was too big for me:  "Besides, it looks dumpy on you."  I knew she was lying about the dumpy part.  It was really cute.
What a difference a waist makes!

But that's okay.  This was just a muslin.  Mine will be even better.  It will have:

  • higher armscyes, with narrower sleeves
  • a slightly wider waist casing
  • a narrower back or maybe an inverted back pleat
  • some length taken out of the upper back
  • lining, maybe...not sure yet
  • maybe cuffs for the sleeves

Besides, I already have three green jackets.  Maybe I need one in red.
She's worn it to school twice in one week -- I guess it's a winner.


  1. Thanks for writing about this jacket! It's great. I agree about the waist definition--such an improvement. Some months ago I struggled through an anorak project that was ultimately a flop because of the 1990s excessive design ease (and I had even removed ease when I made the muslin!). What I was looking for was something like you made. I might add a detachable hood. Nice work!

    1. Thanks Paula! I thought about a hood for my next version, too.

  2. Nice work! I like.

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you, Bunny. I did have to make it after seeing your award-winning version!

  4. That was a nice read :)

    Funny how daughters have a way of claiming things, isn't it?! :) I am about to embark on this jacket in a few weeks or so and was glad to read your review.

    1. Thanks Nakisha!

      Have fun with the pattern -- I really love the finished product and it was fun to make. So many ways to put your personal touch on it.

      Ooooh daughters! There are actually a few things in her closet I'd like to grab. ;)


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