Week Four Project Run and Play "Outerwear"

so please come on over and learn how to make your own letter!

So how fun was last week in Project Run and Play? I loved seeing all the great historically inspired clothes! This week’s theme is “Outerwear” and as a confession, I actually started this piece *as* my “sewing through the decades” entry, but decided to use it for outerwear instead, and so I have had this one finished for almost 2 weeks. (Which is good since I am back at school again!) I really loved the challenge of making outerwear, since my goal was to make a really good and REAL looking coat. I think making coats is deceptively difficult, as you end up working with a lot of bulk, and we all know what a coat looks like, so if it is scrunchy and bunchy or lumpy and bumpy, we can all tell it looks wrong! I was inspired by 50’s style Letterman’s Jackets, (although they have honestly changed very little through the decades so it’s also fairly modern too,) like the one seen here on the left…….

I feel like the most distinctive features of a Letterman’s Jacket are the wool body, the leather/pleather sleeves and pocket welts, the snaps down the front, the striped ribbing, and the “chenille” loop pile letters with a felt border as seen in the picture bellow,

I love being able to make things that “look right” and I hope you think I was able to manage it!
Anyway, without further ado I present my  “Little Letterman” 
This Jacket has a soft wool body, with buttery soft pebbled pleather sleeves and custom made striped ribbing.
It’s fully lined in a soft plaid cotton flannel.
I closed the front using bronze colored snaps, and the pockets are double welted  in the olive pleather. I made the striped ribbing by dyeing tan colored ribbing olive, and then stitching strips of cream colored ribbing down to the olive fabric.  I’m sure it’s possible to find ribbing that is already striped, but my color palette was a little specific, and I couldn’t even find the right olive green let alone a stripe!
I used top stitching on the body, and machine embroidery on cream wool felt to add more authentic Letterman’s Jacket style detailing.  Working with the pleather is particularly challenging since it really doesn’t ease, is sticky when being sewn to itself and slick when being sewn to anything else. Presser feet don’t really like to slide over the top of pleather either so a quick tip for someone who doesn’t have a Teflon presser foot (which I don’t have) is to put a piece of sticky tape on the bottom of your presser foot (with a little hole where your needle comes down so you don’t gum up your needle by going through tape,) and your pleather should slide more easily. Also, you want to increase your stitch length a little so you aren’t perforating the pleather so many times you weaken it. 
I am still trying to decide if/what decoration to add to the back – usually there would be a basketball or  football on the back under the name, but my son is sort of more of a “Math-lete” then an Athlete! He thought a piece of Lego would be cool, (since he loves Lego NXT robots) but I am still on the fence about that one!  I thought about a 4 leaf clover since it would go with all the green, and we are part Irish, but I don’t know, maybe it should be something more fun?
I added my son’s name to the front, but that is only because he is an older child, and wouldn’t go with a stranger just because they knew his name (We have actually had a family password since they were little, so he actually wouldn’t even go with someone he knew unless they could tell him the password since many people are kidnapped by people they know – sorry, didn’t mean to get heavy, I just thought I would put that safety tip out there!) The embroidered crown was just one I added because I thought it was a cute vintage-esque little extra detail.
The “I” is actually one of the bits I am most proud of! I made this chenille “I” using needle punch embroidery and  regular cotton embroidery floss. I actually found discovering the exact right technique for this quite challenging,  but once I did it came out just perfectly I think! (I am actually going to be doing a tutorial on this, and giving away a punch needle tool kit and some floss to one lucky follower this week! I’m so excited for my first giveaway, so don’t forget to follow me! )
The jacket pattern is my own, and was mostly made on the fly as I needed pieces, the body is made off of an upper body sloper I have for Isaac. (A sloper is essentially a pattern blank you make from a person’s measurements or from a scrap fabric fitting you do directly to their body.) I just added the ease I wanted, seam allowances, etc. When it came time to add extra bits like the wool rectangles on the hem closure by the ribbing, I just sort of eyeballed them to fit.
He’s wearing his favorite hat that his dad brought him back from deployment, because there is seriously no sports memorabilia in this child’s life! (There really isn’t a piece of green missing from the hem, I just didn’t notice it was tucked up when I took the picture!)
Isaac Pretty much loves this jacket, he was soooo excited that I made HIM something new for the challenge rather than making another thing for Emmie (Poor child feels like the red headed step child sometimes when it comes to sewing since girl clothes can be more fun to make.) He wants to wear it everywhere now, and he is the first person to tell people his mom MADE it! (My husband has also told me that this is his favorite thing I have ever made because it is just so cool and real looking. I might actually end up making one for my Hunny, because he LOVES all things vintage, and even has letters from high school that he never got a jacket for!) 

 As a side note, Isaac has also worn his jeans every time they have come out of the laundry. He has even worn them to school two days in a row, and was apparently asked “Aren’t those the jeans you wore yesterday?” to which he casually replied “Yup.” A teenager already! He doesn’t mind people knowing he’s in dirty clothes!

Anyway, tune in tomorrow to see my needle punch embroidered letter tutorial, and for a chance to win your own needle punch embroidery tool set with embroidery floss so you can make your own Letterman’s Jacket! (Or whatever you want to make!) (Open now for entry!)


 Sew Woodsy Photobucket 

  17 comments for “Week Four Project Run and Play "Outerwear"

  1. January 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Holy cow!!!! This jacket is seriously amazing. Seriously. Amazing.

    • January 24, 2012 at 1:03 am

      Thank You very much! I think it’s a little too quiet to do well in PR&P, but I enjoyed creating all the details!

  2. January 24, 2012 at 3:38 am

    nice job ! it’s a very wearable jacket, your sewing skills are amazing !

    • January 24, 2012 at 5:50 am

      Thank you very much! (I appreciate the feedback!)

  3. January 24, 2012 at 5:14 am

    Great jacket … I really love all the details.

  4. Joy
    January 24, 2012 at 11:40 am

    WOW! Catherine, you are really amazing. I feel honored that I know you. Love the jacket & all the amazing details.

    • January 24, 2012 at 10:41 pm

      Ha, ha, I don’t know about you needing to feel honored, but thank you very much for the compliment!

  5. January 25, 2012 at 6:12 am

    You have those double felted pockets down to a fine art!! Will you do a tutorial on those for me some day?? Please – I would love it. I still just don’t get it quite right. Thanks!!

    • January 31, 2012 at 2:53 am

      Thanks, I will try to do a tutorial on the welted pockets for you soon!

  6. January 28, 2012 at 3:42 am

    This jacket is amazing! The craftsmanship is wonderful.

  7. Becca
    February 21, 2012 at 5:56 am

    Love it, Cat! I want to get together at some point to make some clothes for my boys…my skills seem to lie more in the costuming arena than functional children’s wear!

    It’s fun getting to follow your projects this way, keep up the excellent work 😀 Love you!

    • February 22, 2012 at 11:55 am

      I would love it if we could get together and sew some time, I bought the cutest veggi/farmer fabric a few weeks ago to make shorts for Finny, I just need to get his measurements off of you and find the time to make them!

  8. October 21, 2013 at 10:29 am

    I LOVE this jacket!!! I am trying to make one for my daughter, not sure if I’ll be able to pull it off without a pattern lol

  9. November 5, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    i love everything!!.. i love the dresses they are all so nice.. we never have jumble sales were i live ever so im v je!nosl!..luviog the outfit.. like the trousers that have be re-worked into shorts.. charlx

  10. March 24, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    Have you guys seen the ESPN commercial with Mariah Carey singing “All I Want for Christmas is You?” I love the part when Kobe kisses the wrapped gift and looks at the camera seductively. I couldn’t stop laughing.

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