Casual sweet denim jacket with braided detail


I planned to make four things for #sewjapaneseinjanuary this year, but as is often the case, my plans and my life didn’t quite match.  I think I’m just going to have to keep sewing Japanese patterns into February, March, and let’s face it… all year!




For those who follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve been working on Pattern N – Denim Jacket with Braided Detail from Casual Sweet Clothes by Noriko Sasahara.  I used the English translated version of the book.


I sewed up a calico version of the pattern to test fit and, like always, I was very glad I did.  With the help of Kim M at the Cloth Shop (I was lucky to attend one of their January day classes) I discovered four issues:

  1. My standard 3/8″ (1cm) forward shoulder was not required.  I ended up keeping the extra length on the back shoulder, but reverting the front shoulder to the original draft.
  2. After adding length to the back shoulder, the sleeve cap was quite flat, which in a jacket like this, limits sleeve movement.  I slashed the pattern next to the grainline from the top to near the bottom to open up a gap of 3/8″ (1cm) at the sleeve head.
  3. The bust dart was too high, which is a common issue for me, so I lowered it by 3/5″ (2cm).
  4. The jacket length was in a real no mans land.  It either required cropping or lengthening and I opted to add 1″ (2.5cm) to the length.


With my pattern all ready, I naively believed that this jacket would sew up without incident.  That of course, wasn’t the case.  This project certainly had it’s moments!


The fabric is a light-weight denim from deep in the stash.  So deep in the stash, that it actually had some fade marks on it.  I avoided them as best could, but with only 2m of fabric and lots of pattern pieces, I accidentally placed a fade line on one of the fronts.  Can you see the fade line in the photo above?  Without enough fabric to re-cut the piece, I pushed my annoying perfectionist tendencies to one side and forged ahead without a tantrum.


The next challenging came with setting in the two piece sleeves.  I clearly need more practice as even though I had notches to align, the easing was noticeably different on each sleeve.  It was the first sleeve that needed adjusting… the one that I’d already overlocked the seam allowances on!  I thought I would ignore it, and I did for a while, but after hemming the jacket it was still bugging me, so I unpicked and I redid it not once, but twice.  I like to tell myself that practice doesn’t make perfect…. it in fact, makes improvement.


Now I think you have to agree that the braid on this jacket is something special.  It was the first pattern piece I cut and I couldn’t get started on plaiting it fast enough.  It was much harder than I anticipated… both dealing with the length of the strips (they were around 80″ or 2m long) and trying to keep an even tension.


The finished braid was as long as my fabric allowed, but in and ideal world it would have been 1″ (2.5cm) longer.  The pattern pieces are accurate, but of course I lengthened the jacket, which upset the balance of things.  You can see the braid is pulling slightly in the photo above, but I’m okay with it.


The braid was supposed to be blind stitched to the jacket, but as I thought it was too short, I basted it in place with a long running stitch and I think that’s how it’s going to stay!  The finishing of the braid on the inside isn’t up to my usual standard (just keeping things real) but it was the best I could do when I was trying to ensure I created the longest braid possible with my limited fabric strips.


This jacket is a new type of garment for me, that I’m still trying to work into my wardrobe.  I think it looks great with my orange linen dress, or with a more fitted top or tee, but I’m still experimenting.  I’m going to try my hardest to make this jacket work for me as I just love the idea of it.


A big thank-you to everyone who used the #sewjapaneseinjanuary hashtag this year.  I certainly was inspired all month by your fabulous makes and hopefully you were too.  Shall we do it again next year?


Pattern:  Pattern N – Denim Jacket with Braided Detail from Casual Sweet Clothes by Noriko Sasahara
Size:  M
Fabric:  Light-weight denim from deep deep deep in the stash (most likely purchased from Tessuti)
Alterations:  Added 3/8″ of length to the back shoulder (half a forward shoulder adjustment), slashed and spread to added 3/8″ (1cm) to the sleeve cap, dropped bust dart by (3/5″(2cm) and lengthened jacket by 1″ (2.5cm)
Outfit:  Me-made orange linen dress, Sophie Digard scarf (a gift) and as-new second-hand Funkis shoes
Photo Location:  Former Government Printing Office, Brisbance CBD


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