Did I possibly make up the term "Jacket January"? Yes. Do I wish it were a real thing? Absolutely!
I've said it before, but January is my favorite month for a detailed sewing project. Fresh off the new year, you're filled with inspiration and motivation, and you can channel all that energy into an amazing sewing experience. Plus, with the cold weather and shorter days, it's an ideal time to spend time indoors in your sewing space feeling warm and productive.
Chore coats have been on our radar for a little while, and they fit perfectly with the mood for January and slow sewing. While they can be intimidating at the outset, when broken into manageable parts, they are quite accessible, even for beginner sewists. It's all about taking your time, following the steps, and at the end, you get an amazing coat to wear for the rest of the winter!
The chore coat itself is a workwear style that embraces a utilitarian look and feel. Usually made of simple and durable cloth, this style led me to seek out sturdy fabric options such as canvas, twill, and corduroy. I kept the colors simple and natural - earth tones, deep blues, and classic neutrals - with a little bit of pattern thrown in for good measure.
So, without further ado, let's dig into the boxes!
Sew Essential Box: Wrap Jacket from The Assembly Line
If you're trepidatious about sewing a coat, the Wrap Jacket from The Assembly Line is the place to start. The crossover closure and slightly oversized shape are forgiving for sewists worried about fitting, and the simple style feels at home in most wardrobes.
Designed for heavyweight fabrics, the jacket combines the structure of a chore coat with the easy look of a robe. You can wear it as outerwear on temperate days or as a house jacket when you want another layer of warmth or protection. Large front pockets add utility to the look, as well as a secret place to stash a measuring tape, seam ripper, or, better yet, candy.
To play with the relaxed yet workwear look of the pattern, I wanted to choose fabrics that are sturdy but also soft. Because of the robe influence on the style, a little bit of drape in the fabric was ideal too. I'm so excited about what we picked. So here they are!
- Classic Wash Cotton Tencel 4.5 oz Denim - This tencel has the look of a dark wash denim, but a nice, medium weight and soft drape, like if you took your favorite denim and washed it a thousand times until it felt like your favorite bed sheets. And who wouldn't want that in a jacket? The lightest of the three options, this fabric will sew up into a cross between a jacket and a robe that you can wear anywhere you want. A gorgeous option!
- Gray on White Tartan Flannel - Shackets are all the rage right now, so it was clear from the planning stages that we should incorporate that into our boxes. Then when we found this snuggly flannel, we knew we had to use it! While most tartans tend to be on the darker side, this plaid is bright and light, combining icy gray and creamy white, for an effect that is soft and serene. It evokes snowy winter days when you can stay inside, warm and cozy, while everything sparkles outside. And, honestly, who wouldn't want that in a fabric?
- Red Clay Organic Cotton Canvas - The most structured of our three choices, this fabric will transform into a work coat of your dreams. The cotton is soft and flexible, and at 7 oz, just the right weight to be durable without stiff. The red clay color is earthy and rich, and I can't stop imagining how amazing it will look over a pair of jeans. Add warmth to your outerwear wardrobe with this stunning canvas fabric!
Sew Select Box: The Foreman from Merchant & Mills
Merchant and Mills has built its reputation on classic styling and fine construction and the Foreman is no exception. Originally designed for men, the oversized fit and boxy shape make it just as flattering on women and a great choice if you want a traditional workman's jacket.
The midcentury style of the jacket, from the square collar to the wide button band and rounded patch pockets, gives the coat a vintage feel. And the topstitching and two-part sleeve give it tailoring elements that make it feel modern and bespoke. Paired with some unexpected colors and nontraditional fabrics, and you have a jacket that is truly unique!
So here are the fabric options:
- Honey Gold Recycled Poly Cotton Flannel - Look quickly, and you'd be absolutely certain this heavyweight flannel was a wool coating. With the look of melton wool, but the feel of a brushed, cotton flannel, this fabric has everything you want for this pattern. Plus, the color is stunning. An earthy yellow, it's the color of acorn squash or toasted wheat, and it's an unexpected burst of brightness for a utilitarian coat. For a jacket that feels as amazing as it looks, this is the fabric for you!
- Auburn Cotton Linen Abstract Jacquard - Combining a rusty, workwear color with an unexpected jacquard weave, this fabric is a sight to behold. And it's reversible! The texture and color of the fabric are created by an abstract pattern of tightly woven shapes set on a looser, looped background. And it's gorgeous! Combined with the practical and angular shape of the jacket and you have an interplay of style and fabric that is making me swoon!
- Navy 14 Wale Corduroy - Corduroy is such a common workwear fabric that it was almost required to use it in this box. We chose a medium wale, somewhere between the wide grooves of 70s style cord and the velvety smoothness of a pincord, so it has good texture without behind too distinct. Combined with a classic navy color, this fabric is destined to become a new family heirloom in your closet. An amazing choice!
Sew Curvy Box: Thayer Jacket from Grainline Studio
One of the first patterns Grainline Studio released in their extended size range, the Thayer Jacket was always in the back of my mind to use one day. I think it really all came down to the lined collar, where you have a chance to use snuggly fleece, flannel, or sherpa. I'm all about having softness against my neck, especially for winter coats.
There's so much to love about this jacket, it's hard to pin down just one detail. Similar to a jean jacket, but with the added lining, the coat feels classic yet unique. And we wanted to represent this with our fabrics, all three of which will come with an ivory fleece lining. So let's take a look at them!
- Black Wash 8 oz Denim - A classic denim to play up the jean jacket look of this coat. The black wash will lighten over time to a nice grayish hue, and the medium weight is structured yet soft and flexible. Contrasting topstitching will make the details of the jacket shine. If you're looking for a traditional worker's jacket, look no further!
- Earth Magic Dark Green Floral Canvas - While this fabric may be a bold choice for this jacket, I couldn't get the print out of my mind. The floral, a medium scale with the large blooms about 2-3" across, is reminiscent of vintage wallpaper, yet feels modern and new. The nontraditional print contrasts with the classic styling of the jacket, and the soft canvas keeps the coat flexible and wearable. For a one of a kind jacket, this is the fabric for you!
- Ash Gray Ventana Twill - There's something so calming and serene about this bluish-gray. It's just the perfect neutral for a chore coat, dark enough to hide any dirt, yet light enough to escape the basic black and blue you usually get for workwear. The twill itself is heavily ribbed and sturdy, but not rigid, and will last you for years and years no matter what you throw at it. A coat in this fabric is destined to be a longtime friend in your wardrobe.
Sew Indulgent Box: Sienna Maker Jacket from Closet Core Patterns
There's always one pattern each month that is the genesis for the theme. This month, it's the Sienna Maker Jacket by Closet Core Patterns. I must admit that when I first saw this pattern, I liked it but didn't think about it much more. However, as makes have appeared on social media, I have fallen deeper and deeper in love with the pattern.
Perhaps it is the French inspiration for the jacket, or the unique, off-center closure, or maybe it's how each variation feels distinct, yet cohesive. Whatever it is, the pattern feels classic yet altogether new at the same time.
For fabrics, I wanted to emphasize this feeling by choosing options that are one of a kind and rich in detail and texture. Let's see if you find them as astonishing as I do!
- Off Black Cotton Linen Wavy Stripe Jacquard - With the look of a wide wale corduroy, but without any nap, this fabric is unique and textured. the lines are a bit wobbly, adding to the visual interest of the fabric, and the cotton-linen blend keeps it breathable and flexible. Almost like a workwear pinstripe, these lines will lengthen and accentuate the sweep of the coat, and the black-on-black color will be as classic as can be!
- Woodlands Patchwork Black/Gray Brushed Coating - All the look of a patchwork coat without all the piecing, this yarn-dyed coating is soft and brushed and oh so comfy. The closest we get to a blanket coat for this month, the coating will become a warm and snuggly coat with just the right amount of heaviness. And the gray-on-gray color feels chic and stylish. A stunning fabric!
- Caramel Heavyweight Linen Twill - We couldn't go this month without a nod to the famous Carhart work coat. The part of nearly every workwear wardrobe, the caramel yellow jacket is practically part of American history. Rather than recreate it in whole cloth, though, I decided to mix it up with a heavyweight linen instead of canvas. The linen is sturdy yet soft and will only improve with age as you wear this coat for years and years!
Whew, I can't believe we're already announcing boxes for 2022. The time seems to be flying by! And I know that because of the time warp of the holiday season, it will be here before we know it. All the more reason to savor the time the next few weeks, right?
If coats aren't your thing, or if you're using January's slow sewing for your blazer boxes from October, we've got some easier projects in our Tried and True series. This month we're bringing back our statement sleeve boxes, featuring some amazing workwear tops (if you're back in person) or zoom-ready outfit makers (if you're still virtual). Either way, you'll be dressed in style with these fabulous boxes.
Oh, and one more thing! We're going all out for the holidays and beyond, so make sure you check back for gift ideas, fun new products, and some favorite kits from the past year. All announcing next week!
Until next time. . .