Patchwork Denim Whale Jacket

Long time no update! But I have a few old makes to share and lots of plans for new makes so hopefully I’ll be around a bit more this year than last year!

A while ago, at the beginning of the pandemic when I was furloughed, I sewed a bunch of pairs of jeans (have a look at my archive page for deets). This means I ended up with lots of denim scraps. I decided I wanted to make a patchwork denim jacket from these scraps. I was mostly inspired by Raph on the Sewing Bee when they did the reduce, reuse, recycle week and he made a patchwork denim dress with a whale on it.

The jacket went through a couple of iterations – at one point I was going to try to make a picture from the denim, but my skills are not good enough for ‘painting’ with fabric! But then like a lot of the world I watched the first series (and there has since been a second) of Young Royals on Netflix and became a little obsessed with this jacket that Edvin wore a good few times. And it was like destiny! I did buy a pair of white jeans from a charity shop to help break up the blues.

I decided to use the Friday Pattern Company’s Ilford Jacket pattern (which I made once before for my brother in law) and I made the chunks of patchwork according to the size of each pattern piece, so I didn’t waste as much fabric by making one massive sheet of patchwork! The below is the back. I cut random pieces and just tried to assemble them in a way which meant no 2 pieces of the same colour were next to each other. I did have 2 quite dark blue denims but they look a tiny bit different.

I actually finished this jacket at the end of 2021 and never got around to photographing it. Oops. Anyhoo. This is how it turned out. And I LOVE IT!

I did the patch pockets and chose fabrics based on what would contrast in each section they belonged in.

I did both sleeve plackets in white, but the cuffs in different colours, again based on which colour would contrast best on each sleeve. I did the basic construction and then cut out the cuffs and pockets. I also underlined the whole things because there were SO MANY SEAMS on the inside!

At this point you may be thinking ‘where is the whale I was promised?’. Weeellll…..

I didn’t necessarily intend to copy the whale from Raph’s dress but I’ve always loved whales, ever since I did a project on them since I was in the Brownies! I especially love blue whales. Because they’re the biggest! So my whale is based on a blue whale. Seems fitting colour-wise too!

As you can hopefully tell, I also cut the collar in 2 different colours and added seam allowance so that it would be super contrasty and I actually really like it as a design feature.

This was a stash only make, which seemed in keeping with the idea to use up my scraps. The buttons were in my stash – I feel like I took them off a rtw garment at some point but I don’t now remember when or from what. The fabric I used for the underlining was the leftover fabric I used to line my By Hand London Victoria coat hack.

I have worn this jacket a good few times (when it’s not quite as freezing as it is this week in Britain, brr!). I even got a compliment when I went to the Shakespeare Birthplace museum in Stratford Upon Avon – one of the tour guides told me she loved my style and my jacket specifically. I love getting random compliments from people – I want to try to do that more myself, because who doesn’t want to be told something nice?!

I don’t know if you can really see (I forgot to take a close up photo, sorry) but the whale has a little eye. I used a tiny bit of the black denim and zig-zag stitched all around the edge. It might be my favourite detail. And now I’m just going to spam you with loads of photos. Sorry not sorry.

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