Saturday, June 24, 2017

Jacket Express!

I confess. I am a late night Craftsy shopper. Some sewists, when wide awake at 3:00am, will turn to online fabric sites. I get sucked into Craftsy. And Craftsy knows it too, darn them. They keep sending me those seductive $20-a-class deals. The upside is that I can now make a passable naan and I have a new jacket.

Front view with welt pockets
This is the Jacket Express, the class pattern for Craftys's "Sew Better Sew Faster, Industry Secrets." The class is delivered by Janet Pray of Islander Sewing Systems. She uses this pattern to spoon-feed you tips on sewing without pins and improving your sewing accuracy. She also teaches you a few nifty techniques that make for some nice finishing.

Back view
The class pattern is the Jacket Express #218, which is billed as a grown-up version of the blue jean jacket. I wasn't too sure about the pattern at first, but since it came along with the price of admission I decided to give it a whirl. I ended up liking it a lot more than I thought I would!

Side view with dog, anxiously awaiting her morning walk
I used a blue-grey cotton twill that I think is a good weight for a jean jacket. However, it has a touch of lycra, which Janey Pray does not recommend for this project. I'm guessing that any stretch to the fabric complicates working with her "no pins" and topstitching techniques. It also made the seams a PITA to press. I had planned to just omit all topstitching, but I ended up doing one topstitching pass on all the seams just to get those devils to lie down.

Dress form view

I also left the pocket flaps off the breast pockets. I toyed with the idea of omitting those pockets altogether, but a breast pocket sure is handy for carrying a phone along. Only, in order to fit my ginormous phone I had to deepen the pocket quite a bit. I also made up a pocket bag instead of topstitching the pocket to the jacket front (cleverly avoiding another chunk of topstitching).

Breast pocket without pocket flap
I actually like the way the squared-off mouth of the pocket looks without the flap hiding it. I think I'll call it a "design feature."

Welt pockets, prior to removing placement marks
These aren't my first welt pockets, but I was still nervous about installing them. OK, they were my second welt pockets, so that's why. I think they turned out OK though, and Ms. Pray totally walked me through them.

Most of the techniques in the class were not totally new to me. The two that were are:

  • sewing without pins
  • the burrito method for sleeve cuffs

I'm not a total convert to pinless sewing, but I'm halfway there. I do believe that pinless sewing works best when you have a narrow seam allowance. The Jacket Express uses either 3/8 or 1/4 inch. That was, frankly, terrifying to me. Most especially when I was attaching the cuffs. Given the heft of my fabric and the 11 layers (7 fabric and 4 interfacing) at this juncture, there was a lot of bulk to work through, and not a lot of wiggle room to play with. Still, Ms. Pray's method gave me one of the cleanest finishes I've ever gotten.

Far from perfect, but my finish is loads better using the burrito method!
So, I like the jacket and I liked the class. As a Craftsy junkie I've learned that not all instructors are created equal. Some are so stiff on camera they're a bit painful to watch. Some are disorganized in their presentation; thank God for the 30 second repeat button!

Janet Pray was organized and easy to follow, and she had a natural, engaging style. My Craftsy library includes Janet Pray's Sew Better Sew Faster, Shirtmaking class. The Man has been wanting a flannel shirt; I'm thinking Janet Pray may be my best bet for making him happy.

So, I like the jacket and I like the class. If you haven't played around with Craftsy, give them a look-see.

My pattern review is on here.


  1. Nancy, I enjoy your reviews and your blog. If She were still in CA I am sure we would be sewing buddies going back and forth over the hill fand on San Jose to Santa Cruz. I left the Golden State in 2000 long before PR was born.
    Love to read what you write.
    Nice jacket!

  2. Nice review of pattern and craftsy the jacket and your version of top pocket.

  3. Oh dear, I have also succumbed to those deals as well! I now have two unwatched classes in my profile.

  4. Nice jacket, and I love your funky pocket!

  5. What a great jacket! I love these pockets too. Thank you for the details.