08 december 2017

Exhibitionist Denim Jacket

I bet that title got your attention!

A week or two ago a friend at Kop vzw got in touch about an exhibition they were organizing, and asked me if I wanted to join in. It would be an art show about jean jackets, where different artists create pieces on the back of a jacket. This had my name all over it, the only problem was that the deadline was... A bit tight. Like, I only had two weeks. And of course I was going to make a jacket from scratch, I mean, was there any other option?

I panicked at some sewing friends who all told me to suck it up and just do it. A trip to the fabric store behind the corner got me some 100% cotton non-stretch denim (yay!) and I knew I was going to use the Hampton Jean Jacket since it looked closest to the shape of my own favourite jacket. The only problem was that the denim looked so... New. And a bit too dark. At first I tried to tell myself that I could fix this by distressing whilst sewing, but deep down inside I knew there would have to be an extra step. So this conversation with my mother followed:

"Mom, can I fill your bathtub with bleach?"

"Yeah sure, what are you making?"

I can be a clumsy idiot at times and I have really bad airways, so my denim-bleaching outfit ended up looking like this:

I'm happy to say that I managed to bleach two and a half meters of fabric without completely ruining my clothes, lungs or eyes. It was very much worth it in the end, since it gave the fabric a way more worn-in feel. So how did the jacket turn out?

Well enough, I'd say! I was really impressed by the finishing techniques used in this pattern, it resulted in a very professional look, including some of the cleanest welt pockets I've ever seen on an unlined jacket. (the pocket openings seem weirdly tiny though, I forgot to check them but as you can see I can't really fit my hands inside) I was sewing on a deadline but still tried to take my time to get things right, especially since the jacket will be up for sale. I used sandpaper to distress every seam before topstitching, but decided not to overdo it, since the back of the jacket was going to be the real showstopper. This is also why I chose to go for a matching thread colour for the topstitching.

But what about that backpiece?

I don't know if the linguistic subtleties can translate to a different language, but you might be able to deduce that this says 'Fuck Everything'. To be honest, I was incredibly excited about creating a piece for this exhibition, but I didn't really have an idea about what exactly I was going to do. Until I woke the boyfriend one morning saying "what if I just make all these pretty and happy flowers with felt and embroidery and then just add a banner that says 'fuck everything'?"

"Yes. Do it." was the answer.

This took longer that making the jacket itself. I traced the back on pattern paper for size and sketched my flowers and banner, then decided on a colour scheme. After this I traced the drawing onto the back of the jacket (to have a reference for placement) and cut all individual pieces out of felt. At first I wanted to cut the letters out of felt as well but thought the tiny details would get too messy and inaccurate, so I used a satin stitch to embroider them on. All other felt pieces had details added and were then sewn onto the jacket. I finished by adding the stems of the flowers and breathed a sigh of relief!

If you look closely you can see my blood, sweat and tears.
Seriously, I'm really happy this worked out. It's pretty much exactly what I had imagined, and it's a rare and happy occasion when projects just turn out the way you want them to!

If you want to see this jacket in real life: the exhibition opens on Friday the 15th of December! You can find more information here.