Wardrobe Basic: Denim Jacket

The third installment of the Fit-Along series of Wardrobe Basics is the classic denim jacket.  If you missed the last two, you can read about the classic white shirt here and the sheath dress here

Originally, the denim jacket was designed to be a utilitarian work coat designed by -you guessed it- Levi Strauss in the early 1900’s. The broad back and wide sleeves made it easy for cowboys to move freely while working on the ranch.  It wasn’t until the early 1950’s that the blue jean jacket crossed over from work attire to a fashion statement.  Movie stars like James Dean and Marilyn Monroe made it look very cool to wear the denim jacket as everyday fashion.  Fast forward to today and the denim jacket is now a chic way to polish off a weekend glam look!

Fabric Selection

The name of this third fit-along/wardrobe basic series is self-explanatory that denim is the fabric of choice! Since denim jackets are not just for “working on the ranch” denims like non-stretch (Blue Jean Denim), slight stretch (Evening Blue Stretch Denim) or more stretch (Deep Navy Blue Stretch Denim) can be used.  If you decide to make only one denim jacket choose a dark wash. Dark washes have a dressier and more polished look.  Lighter washes tend to work best for very casual wear.  

Patterns and Figure Types

The general design of the denim 

jacket has changed very little over the years.  The five classic denim jacket patterns that I have listed are all very similar- Burda Style 02/2010 #109, Jalie 2320, Style Arc Stacie Jean Jacket, Islander’s Jacket Express and Burda 7018. There are a few design elements that you can change to any of these patterns to get the best look for your body type. 

If you already have this classic jacket in your wardrobe, consider an alternative denim jacket. This is a jacket that moves away from the classic silhouette but is still considered a denim jacket because denim fabric is used.  

As I stated in previous posts, I won’t be able to cover all of the many varied figure types.  And some patterns can work for more than one figure type.  But I hope this will help you to look at patterns more critically and analyze what will best work for you. Be sure to sign up for Sew Much Fabric’s mailing list (scroll to the bottom of the home page) for additional exclusive information including updates on videos by Sew-to-Fit on how to do pattern alterations for that perfect fit.  

Classic: Bypass the boxy denim jacket and follow the natural curves of this silhouette by slightly nipping in at the waistline.

The Alternative: Vogue 9037-The V-neckline nipped in waist and flared hip follow the hour glass shape.

Classic: A boxy shape that stops at the high hip can help to balance out a larger bust.  Avoid pocket flaps and limit contrast topstitching to the collar, front placket and lower band or try tone on tone topstitching. 

The Alternative: Burda Style 04/2015 #116-The rounded dolman sleeves soften the shoulder line of the inverted triangle shape and the stand collar frames the face.  The waistline seam gives a peplum effect and the lower pockets help balance the hipline. Leave off the upper pockets.  

Classic: Bring all the attention to the top of the jacket with pockets and flaps and stop the lower band at the high hip. 

The Alternative: Burda Style 12/2015 #108B-The shoulder detail helps to balance the hips and the waistline seam defines your small waist.

Classic: A boxy (not oversized) jacket is a great shape.  Stop the lower band across the middle of the tummy.  It visually cuts the tummy in half. 

The Alternative: Burda Style 09/2012 #135 is a rock and roll spin on the denim jacket.    

Classic: Well fitted shoulders and a nipped in waist or stopping the band at the waist can create curves.

The Alternative: Vogue 1439 as a lot of great seaming to highlight the waist.  The simple hook and eye nips the waistline in.  

The classic denim jacket is so versatile it has become a wardrobe basic.  Reach for it whenever you need a dressy outfit to feel more relaxed or add polish to your weekend attire!

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