So somehow during a surfing session, I clicked on a link, which led to the amazing Craftsy site, which led to creating an account, which led to an inbox message, which led to the impulsive purchase of the online course Sew Better Sew Faster. I have been wanting to make a red canvas jacket forever, there it was, sitting in my email, a better, faster one. Proceed to check out.
The course included a "free" paper pattern for Jacket Express which comes via mail, and 8 online lessons with the lovely Janet Pray and promised to reveal sewing industry secrets for streamlined construction methods and eliminating pins.
I definitely came away with a few new tricks, but primarily I came away with a bad case of equipment envy because Janet has one tricked out sewing room. Starting with a fabulous straight stitch machine with a large flat bed. And I believe she could bend wood with her iron.
Janet recommended a jacket weight cotton, and most of her samples appeared to be made out of duck. Janet herself used 8 oz. denim to teach the class. My canvas, prewashed and dried, was super heavy and stiff, and required a size 18 needle.
The pattern has a million pieces, which is why the finished product looks so professional. Janet calmly leads you through the unconventional steps that have you breaking the different jobs like sewing, serging and top stitching into batches to save time. My poor serger is an aging diva and flat out refused to deal with more than two layers of the canvas and forced me to bind some of my seams and edges.
I'm not gonna lie, this jacket took me over a week, working in chunks of 1-3 hours in the evening and a goodly number of swear words were uttered. This had nothing to do with the pattern or Janet's skillful instruction, and everything to do with my determination to make this jacket out of such a heavy material. In the end, I can say unequivocally that it was worth it. This is a garment that I will wear and enjoy for years.