Sunday, November 18, 2012

May I Introduce: the Hitchhiker's Jacket

Got my towel, babelfish, and cool jacket. Lunch at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe anyone?
Why is it called the Hitchhiker's Jacket, I hear you ask?  Well, remember back when I was complaining about having to trace this pattern from the Burda Magazine nightmare of a magic-eye pattern sheet?  I also went and whined all over PR contest discussion board too, and someone (probably in a bid to shut me up) suggested putting on an audio-book for less distracting entertainment.  The only audio book I had was the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio play, and lo! it worked!  I managed to finish tracing the whole thing without wandering off in boredom or dicking around on the internet.

And then I basically put the movie on loop whenever I was sewing the jacket, and it became sort of a thing. 

Sorry about my blinding white skin (use your towel to sheild your eyes). Flash does horrible things to my complexion. Great things to falling snow though.
 DON'T PANIC

This has been my mantra throughout the last days of finishing off this jacket.  It was a mad race to finish this ontime for the PR Refashion Contest, and I literally had minutes to spare once I submitted!  But I did it!  I was so worn out after finishing it, I sort of put off writing this blog post.  Sorry for the delay.



Recap of Details: 
Pattern: Burda Style Magazine 09-2012 #135 Blouson Jacket (plus sized)
Size: 46 from shoulders to bust, graded to 48 below the waist
Fabric: Thrifted Nygard wool jacket (XL) and Garage Sale Danier leather jacket (L?), and a poly lining from the crappy local fabric shop.
Alterations: Grading size, changed the shoulder yokes from wool to leather

In the end, I'm glad I didn't add leather to the back panels, like I thought of doing while working on the toile.  Despite the size of the jacket, there just wasn't enough leather to cut out the pieces, especially once I cut the last facing the wrong way and had to seam together the last piece.  I did, in the end, change the triangular shoulder yokes from wool (as the pattern suggests) to leather, mostly because I was out of wool fabric.  I even had to patch together the wool waistband piece because I was down to scraps of wool.  (Although looking at the pictures, I really wish I could've done the waistband in leather.  Ah well, such is the way of refashioning - sometimes you have to make compromises.)

Here's the front panel facing I had to patch together. Turned out alright!
 
As you can see, the jacket is fully lined.  Yes, I know the bottom hem looks kind of wonky, my sewing machine rebelled from sewing that (nearly) last seam.  It kept chewing up the bobbin thread, and I had to pull the machine apart and clean it all out, and then add the leather needle I found after I finished sewing all of the leather (I used a size 12 needle with barely any trouble) before it'd finally plow it's way (slowly) through that seam.  Did I mention that this was at 5 pm, when the entry had to be finished by 8 pm my time?  Yeah, there were a lot of curse words and that DON'T PANIC mantra going on in my head.

The very last seams I had to do were the sleeve hems, and I admit, I cheated a bit.  Because neither the leather nor the wool frays at all, I chose to simply fold them over once, tuck the lining underneather them, and stitch.  While this may not look all that professional, the seam line doesn't bother me at all, and the hem isn't bulky, and I've been doing everything I can to reduce bulk in throughout this jacket.  Plus it let me finish up quickly, and that was urgently needed at the time.

One of the things I was super pleased with was how the pockets turned out.  They're set in the seam between the leather front panel and the wool side panel, and I worked hard to get them in properly.  What isn't clear from the Burda instructions is how small these pockets turn out in the end, because you actually sew the zipper right through the pocket, reducing the size by a third.  I can still mash my keys and my cell phone in them (although not in the same pocket), but it was disappointing.

Actually, the instructions were entirely disappointing.  I wound up mostly making it up as I went along, they were so convoluted and confusing.

Zipper, snap at the waistband, and look! Chest welt pocket!
The zipper itself was relatively easy to attach.  All I did was mark where the edge of the zipper teeth should go, glued the whole thing down using stick glue, and then stitched it down.  The only thing I don't like about it is that I was stuck using a plastic zipper because that's all that was available at my crappy local fabric store.  I would've much prefered a metal zipper, but this works in the end.

And then I embroidered a Babel fish to the collar. I'm all set for translating any aliens that comes along.
"The Babel fish," said The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy quietly, "is small, yellow and leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own carrier but from those around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the conscious thought frequencies with nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain which has supplied them. The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish. 
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
Yeah, I'm a geek.

I'm suprised at how warm this jacket is.  The night I finished it, I wore it to go pick up my roommate from the airport, and despite it being -16C (3.2F) and only wearing a t-shirt underneath, I was more than warm enough.  YEAH WIN!


You guys have been awesomely supportive through this entire thing, and I guess I only have one more thing to say:

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

25 comments:

  1. Brilliant in every way!! :) You truly are a hoopy frude who really knows where her towel is!

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    1. You are awesome. So glad to see so many HHGttG fans on here! Thanks so much. :)

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  2. I like the little details. Have a pangalacticgargleblaster on me to celebrate.
    Its a trillion jacket isn't it? ;)

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    1. Ooo, those are hard to get around these parts!

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  3. Wow, great job! It looks amazing.

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  4. Great looking jacket -lovely pockets- & a wonderful idea to cannibalize some old stock. (Thrifty, too). I was thinking of making a handbag, maybe I'll follow your lead. A lurker.

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    1. Thanks Lurker! You have to be thrifty if you're an impoverished hitchhiker trying to see the marvels of the Galaxy for less than thirty Altairian dollars a day!

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  5. Wow! What an undertaking but how incredible it turned out!! Well done. (I love the geeky touches too!)

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    1. Thanks! Oh man, there was times I wanted to throw this jacket into the corner and stomp on it a while. And right near the end, my sewing machine almost went instead. But I got it done, and it's pretty well done too. :D

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  6. Great job! I am amazed that you could do this with only 2 jackets. I found out making my entry just how small those pieces are. You get my vote!

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    1. It's remarkable, eh? You'd think there would be more than enough fabric, but you lose so much fabric to the jacket cut, pockets, button holes, and weird facings and collars.

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  7. It looks amazing on you! The fit is perfect and I love, love, love the mix of leather and wool!

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    1. Thanks! I admit, it's a bit tight across the chest. I mean, there's more than enough room and it doesn't really hamper movement at all, but it pulls across the top of the chest. I definitely need more space in there, which an FBA would've taken care of. I need to figure out how to deal with an FBA when the measurements technically match mine. Maybe all I need to do is add width at the armhole? I don't know, I'm sort of...thinking out loud in your reply. :D

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  8. Really FAB jacket!! What a fantastic job you did, it looks terric. I was great to watch you make this jacket, it's certainly made me think about doing something like this in the future.

    Love the references to Hitchhikers, haven't heard it in years! Read all the books eons ago too.

    Next time you need an audio book, check out BBC4 online, they have some awesome stuff and you can listen in realtime. They also keep most shows/series online for 7 days in case you miss some. There are books/dramas/mysteries/comedies and shows, some that are broadcast on consecutive days. And with Goldwave software, or something similar, you can even record them on your computer in mp3 format.

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    1. Thanks for the wonderful comment, and the BBC4 suggestion! I'll definitely check that out. I'm always looking for non-viewing entertainment for when I need something to keep me entertained while doing something I have to keep an eye on (pattern tracing, sewing, knitting, etc.)

      I really need to re-read the books. They were my favourite when I was younger, and listening to the radio play and watching the movie has just made me want to read them even more!

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  9. The jacket looks great (I have voted for you already!) and I love the babel fish!

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    1. Thank you so much! The babel fish is one of my favourite parts of this jacket. :)

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  10. Your jacket turned out amazing! I can't believe how professional it looks considering it was an upcycle and presented so many challenges. Fantastic work!

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    1. Aw thanks! I was a little surprised, by the end, just how good it turned out. I thought it would look a little bit more hodge podge, but the fit turned out great and the patchy pieces actually looks deliberate. It was definitely worth the effort and time.

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  11. WAHOO! It looks great! Podcasts are my audio-anaesthesia of choice, and I agree that something is definitely necessary for boring bits like tracing. My problem is putting them on when I actually need to concentrate...

    Did I mention it looks awesome? Totally, totally professional. WIN. Also, great snow pics. :)

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    1. I love listening to Quirks and Quarks (I'm such a science geek) but I agree, they tend to distract when you need to concentrate. Still, it's better than watching TV, since they tend to suck me into the visuals and that's it, no more sewing for me. I sometime get lost enough in the sewing that I have to rewind certain parts of the audio books. :)

      And thanks! I can't believe how well this turned out. The jacket is so comfortable and fun to wear, but I don't feel like I'm wearing something home-made. Which is often a problem with refashioned garments, in my experience.

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  12. What a fabulous jacket. I wãnt one!

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  13. This jacket is awesome!!! Fits you like a glove, and it's way cooler than anything I've seen in stores this season. So many interesting details. And what a great combo, that wool and leather. Congrats on a job well done!!

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  14. That jacket is such an AWESOME achievement! It turned out so well. You must be so proud of yourself!!!

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