Pattern: Vogue 8600


Pattern $3.99

Thread $1.75

Fabric $17.50

Snaps $1.99

Buttons $4.94

Total $30.17

Hours: 14

This jacket is lovely and I’m excited to wear it. The fabric has a lovely hand (feel and texture) and drapes beautifully. It’s a bonded woven rather than a typical vinyl rain coat fabric. It did present several challenges. I couldn’t pin the fabric because it would have ruined the waterproof quality of the fabric. To cut out the pattern, I had to weigh down the pattern tissue with soup cans from the pantry and use a chalk pencil to trace the pattern onto the fabric. I also couldn’t iron any of the seams. I chose my top stitching carefully, only placing it where I absolutely had to in order to get the sharp, clean lines I needed without ironing. I had to lengthen my stitching to near basting to avoid tearing the fabric. Bulky spots were tricky- even with heavy weight needles I often had to hand crank the machine to get it through. The buttons I added over the snaps weren’t really necessary, however they cover the hand stitching for the snaps and give the coat a more polished, professionally made look.

Now compare the jacket I made to a similar one from Saks Fifth Avenue’s Salon Z (plus sizes) which sells for $598 retail and is $357 on sale. Both jackets have asymmetrical fronts, but where mine has snaps, theirs has a zipper. Also their jacket has a mandarin collar and mine has a dramatic draped cowl neckline. There are a few other minor differences, but I believe them to be comparable items. I can assure you, that purchasing a $600 jacket is so far out of my price range that I don’t think I’d ever consider it. When I consider a large purchase, I often ask myself “Is this item worth X hours of work” (divide the price by my hourly wage to put a value on it). Is one jacket work about 1-1.5 weeks of full time work? Not to me. But it’s totally worth the 14 hours of time I put into my jacket, plus I like the color of mine better.

I spent much of my weekend working on the jacket when I wasn’t amusing Grandma. I normally have Mondays and Tuesdays off from work, and by Tuesday afternoon I was feeling very content, happy and purposeful for the first time in a long time. Just as I sewed on the last snap, the phone rang. In a moment, my world fell apart. My Aunt’s house burned to the ground in less than two hours. With it, all of my belongings except my clothes and sewing supplies. My Aunt lost everything. When I started coming out of shock later that night, I looked at my newly completed jacket on the dress form. At first, I thought “I wonder how much I could sell that jacket for. We’re really going to need the money.” I thought about it most of the night, I couldn’t sleep anyway. I had nearly decided to just sell the coat and give up on the idea of a trousseau or this blog. But then I really evaluated the things I had on my to do list for the next six months and year. The fire allowed me to cross off “sort stuff in storage” and “have a yard sale” off my list six months early. It also prompted me to purchase a new computer now rather than in six months. In reality, this tragedy propelled me further along in my plan rather than discouraging me from continuing. Working on my trousseau also gives me something positive to focus on during this emotionally difficult time. Call me crazy, but I’m not going to let this experience cause me to give up on my dreams and plans.