Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Simplicity 8845 Denim Jacket

Alternative titles explored by the author:

"The One That Nearly Did Me In"
"Almost Consigned to the Dumpster Fire that is 2020"
"Never Again, Never Forget: The Home Sewn Jean Jacket Story"

I'm being slightly dramatic, since this jacket turned out pretty great in the end, but this was just one of those frustrating projects that goes wrong in a new, special way at each step.

I had started the project way back in February during Sewcialists Denim Month, then made a little bit of progress in early March, trying to get it finished for Tim's late March birthday. But I had to set it down when things got crazy with the pandemic, I was working a ton of overtime, and my brain just couldn't handle this complicated sewing project. I picked it up again last weekend and powered through it, cursing it every step of the way.

Tim had been eyeing my Hampton jean jacket for years; he really wanted one of his own. I liked the look of Simplicity 8845, a Mimi G unisex denim jacket pattern, so I went with that.

The pattern has a video sewalong, which is nice, although the fabric used in the video is hard to tell wrong from right sides and you can't see the topstitching, so it was of limited utility for me. I mostly used the instructions, which were fine/as expected.

I cut a size L, which worked well for Tim, but, FYI, did NOT fit me even though we have similar measurements. It definitely seems designed for more of a masculine fit: wide shoulders, long sleeves, narrow hips.

For fabric, I used some stretch Cone Mills denim from my stash. I can't remember the weight, color or where I got it, but it's been in my stash for years! Heavy-ish weight? Dark blue?

Construction-wise, I skipped welt pockets because I hate them with a fiery passion. I didn't do flat felled seams because I'm lazy. I just serged my seam allowances and topstitched.

I ran into some issues with the chest pockets. I don't know if I was doing something wrong, if it was just a turn-of-cloth issue, or if it's because the upper pocket pieces and pocket flaps were not graded for each size (I suspect it's the latter), but I just couldn't get the pocket flaps to fit and I had some issues with the topstitching of the pocket not extending past the center front panel's topstitching.

I ended up having to widen the pocket flaps, although I was ok with that because they weren't graded for the different sizes and seemed disproportionately small in size L. I also just serged the edges of the pockets rather than folding them under, and that way the topstitching was wide enough to clear the topstitching on the panels.

Another issue I faced: I had to ease the bottom of the sleeves into the cuffs and the bottom of the bodice into the hem band. Again, not sure if this is inaccurate sewing on my part, or a pattern issue, but t's not an issue I typically have... you can see in the photo below some slightly waviness at the bottom of the back where it attaches to the hem band:

And finally, my last woes: I struggled with topstitching throughout, both in terms of my own crooked stitching as well as skipped stitches. I had to unpick so much topstitching! And I broke several needles. And I struggled with buttonholes, both making them and cutting them. Just not my project!

Anyway, enough whinging... the final jacket looks pretty great, methinks! The denim's still a bit stiff, but I'm sure will break in nicely over time with wear and washing.

Tim really seems to like it and that's what matters. Hopefully I can erase my feelings of ill will towards this project and move on!


  1. Looks great! Don't you hate projects that seem like they're out to get you from beginning to end?

  2. Wow-----your trials & tribulations are not apparent in the finished product. The jacket looks great!! I'm so glad you detailed your challenges---I've been trying to get psyched up to make a jean jacket for myself with this pattern & it's so helpful to know S8845 skews toward a men's fit. I've also been holding back because of the topstitching----haven't figured out how to get my Viking to handle topstitching thread. (and, ugh, one squiggle and the whole garment screams "HOMEMADE") Thanks!!!

  3. Looks great. Sorry you had troubles. I’m super impressed at your perseverance. I would have definitely quit!

  4. Looks Fab, you can be proud that you powered through this.

  5. It looks great! I like how it turns out but I would say this is an average pattern, not terrible but not great either. In one of my classes I teach we use both that pattern or the Seamwork pattern. both have tricky bits which I guess is why people take a class :) If you want to make another jean jacket for yourself I recommend the Islander Sewing Jacket Express. The pattern envelope is HIDEOUS but I think this is the best sewing pattern instructions I have ever seen. EVER! I can't emphasize how good they are and I wish all pattern instructions would copy their format. But I can never get anyone to sew it, I think because it is so goofy looking on the pattern packaging. I've made two and I wear them all the time.

    1. Agree about Islander patterns, they are so well drafted and fabulous instructions. Connie Crawford is/was associated with them and her Butterick patterns are great too.

    2. Ooooohhh.....good to know!! Thanks Beth :)

  6. Oh, goodness! Those same topstitching woes have kept me from finishing my Hampton for over a year! Maybe I'll steel myself up and finally finish it before the quarantine is over.

  7. Well you certainly worked out every issue! I absolutely love your husband's denim jacket! He looks amazing in it, and all the stress you had making it will be worth the years he has it and wears it.

  8. Looks like you overcame all those issues to produce a fabulous garment! He'll be wearing it for years to come, so you'll have plenty of time to forget the pain along the way.

  9. wow, this really looks great! All the work and frustration , but the result is awesome !!

  10. The jacket looks really great even with all the struggles. I started making one for my husband about 4 years ago. Now reading and seeing your struggles and finishing I am encouraged to pull out my unfinished work and finish it. Thanks.

  11. The jacket looks really great even with all the struggles. I started making one for my husband about 4 years ago. Now reading and seeing your struggles and finishing I am encouraged to pull out my unfinished work and finish it. Thanks.

  12. Projects like this just get me questioning my own sanity;the sewing seeming like self-flagellation rather than self-care! Perhaps just give it a good bashing; call it 'distressing the fabric' to others, to vent your feelings!!! Haha. Well done, despite the headaches; you mastered it!

  13. I had to laugh i just showed my daughter this beautiful Jean jacket you made your husband and then I saw the tag that said you almost threw it out. Glad you didn't. It makes me feel better that others get frustrated sometimes too.