The “Double UFO”-Outfit

 

The Facts

Fabric: Pants: dark brown cotton with a suede finish; Jacket: Beautiful Polartec fleece that feels like teddy bear material on the inside and looks/feels like velvet on the outside (I LOVE this fabric! Wish I could upload a swatch for you.)


Patterns: The pants pattern is THE pattern I use when I make pants for myself. It’s some old pattern from “Neue Mode und Stil” (German company). The pattern for the jacket is self-drafted.
Year: contemporary (pants pattern from 1998 – that was the time when bell bottom pants became fashionable again)
Notions: 1 zipper for pants, 1 two-way-zipper for jacket, machine embroidery yarn
Time to complete: Good question. I didn’t time it – probably at least 20 hours.
First worn: 5th of February 2012
Wear again? Yes, definitely. (It’s freezing here.)

Total price: The fabrics were about 35 Euros, zippers cost around 10 Euros; 45 Euros in total.

The Story

I believe in extraterrestrial life. I totally do. What I don’t believe in: UFOs in my sewing cabinet. No kidding, I never used to have UFOs which has to do with the way I sew. I just don’t give up until I am actually through with the project. Oh yes, I might be working on several projects at the same time but when is a UFO a UFO? I started working on this jacket last December and has thought it would be a quick project because I had already made a similar fleece jacket with the same pattern. For some reason though this jacket turned out to be much tighther than the first one – so tight that I couldn’t insert the zipper without totally stretching the fabric (and that would have looked stupid). Originally, I had planned to embellish the jacket with black cording (had even bought 12 yards for 15 Euros!) but since the jacket was too tight the fit was more important than the embellishment. The jacket has princess lines so I ended up ripping the middle seams in the front and back and I inserted a 2 inch wide strip out of self-fabric between the panels. This did the trick:

But now the problem was that the zipper bulged in weird ways and made me look as if I was 4th month pregnant…it took me quite a while to figure out the problem. In the end I ripped out the zipper again and took away a bit of fabric where the zipper had stuck out so much. The jacket looked ok then but the cording didn’t fit anymore because the strips I inserted between the princess panels actually make a subtle embellishment that I actually like quite a lot. It’s also good that I didn’t put any trim on the jacket because now it perfectly fits to my embroidered brown pants.

 

The pants were no headache at all but it took me forever to get the notions together. I didn’t have any zippers and no jeans buttons at home. It took me weeks to get this together. Otherwise the pants were a piece of cake. I have been using this pattern since I have been 19. I used them to sew my first pair of pants and  the patterns fits so perfectly that I have used it ever since. I like to embroider my pants with the decorative stitches that my sewing machine offers. I used to have brown pants with golden stitching before but they fell apart last year (they were 10 years old) and I definitely needed a new pair.

I think I never truly stopped working on this outfit – I made other things in between – but I encountered so many problems that it took months to complete these two garments so I guess they kinda qualify as UFOs.


The photos are a bit weird but you must know that it’s terribly cold here. The jacket is perfect for wearing it over a light sweater inside the house – in this cold, our apartment is quite drafty so I am totally in love with this jacket. It’s hard to get good shots indoors and the window was the only place that was not cluttered with my son’s toys and that offered acceptable lighting conditions. (Please note the little candle x-mas ornament that my little son made in preschool. ;) He’s very proud of it)

AND: Don’t you agree that in the window shot it looks as though there was a yellow lighted UFO hovering right behind me?

Author

Djamila

Djamila is a German translator living in Berlin, Germany. She is married to an American and has a 3-year-old son who never sleeps. She used to sew A LOT before her son was born. After 3 years of wearing practical sandbox-clothes she finally wants to get her original fashion style back and sew a lot more again.

13 Comments

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  1. That fabric sounds great! Anyone know what it might be called?

  2. (Nice work, btw! Sorry, I was too carried away by the fabric to say so above.)

    • I don’t blame you for getting excited. The fabric is great indeed. ;) All I know is that it’s Polartec fleece. You can order it directly at Malden Mills in the US although I got my batch from a German seller (totally overpriced). I don’t know what this fleece type is called exactly – they have different types of fleece in their online store and I have a hard time figuring out what I acutally bought in the German store…My fabric is the Classic 300 fleece (very thick and warm) and I figure it must be something from the Velour/shearling line. One can order swatches if one wants to be sure. Btw, that fabric is great for blankets, too. Don’t want to advertise for Malden Mills but ever since I have discovered their fleece I don’t want to use any other fleece anymore.

  3. Djamila, I think the pants a re so cool with the a duded stitchery and aw y to go with thinking on our feet to get the jacket fitted just right. Stay warm!

  4. That looks so cozy. I’ve conquered fear of zips and buttons since I started Sew Weekly but I’ve yet to get the nerve to tackle trousers. I’m moving closer to trying though seeing yours and others successes. Those look awesome and I love the embroidery stitching. What needle did you use on the polar fleece? Do you use a heavyweight needle? (And yes, if I take my glasses off and squint that definitely looks like a UFO outside the window ;))

    • Thank you for noticing that UFO. I already thought that it’s just me… ;)
      I used a relatively heavy stretch needle for the Polartec fleece (size 90 – it really is very thick fabric) although I have heard that one should use the smallest size possible and supposedly needles for microfibers should work, too. I have had good results with the stretch needle though so I’ll just keep using this one. Normal needles don’t work because the machine skips stitches then.
      After I have read through SewWeekly a bit I noticed with some surprise that people seem to be terrified by making pants…I love making pants – one of the easiest garments I know. I have to say though that this pattern works out incredibly well for me. I had to make a minor adjustment at the waist (my waist and hip are about 2-3 sizes apart) but that was it. I was probably lucky to find this ideal pattern for myself early in my sewing career – there’s a reason why I have been using it for the last 13 years. ;)

  5. Great job! I like your photos, I’m not a photographer either. You did a good job with your creations and made do with what you had on the photos bravo!

  6. I want a jacket that feels like a teddy bear, too! Nice work.

  7. Gorgeous – I have some (not-quite-so-lovely) fleece in my stash and it has sat there for so long because I dread the time to put a zip in. Any time I’ve tried sewing a zip into knit or fleece fabric it bulges and grows!. Any tips or suggested tute sites?

    I love the idea of the embroidery on your pants too. Such a simple way of making a very individual piece.

    • Jen, I am really not sure how to solve the zipper problem. I have made three fleece jackets so far – all of them with zippers and all of them in the same style as this red one here. Only the red one gave me so much trouble though and I think that’s because it was quite tight. I used the same pattern for all the jackets but the red fabric seemed to be less stretchy than the other two. My theory is that it gets difficult when the jacket is quite tight…when you think about it: zippers are often used on very tight garments (dresses, corset like tops etc.) but then they are usually inserted in the back or the side where there are no curves – thet the zipper can lie very close to the body and everything’s fine. If you insert it in the front of a rather tight garments, this probably goes against the zipper’s nature. It has to follow the curves of the front but it can’t do it perfectly…and we end up looking weird. I think I’ll stay away from tight jackets with front zippers in future. I managed to save this one here but I was close to giving up and trying an alternative closure.
      If you do find a solution, let me know. I’d be love to see my theory defeated. :)

  8. You look so cozy and stylish! Love the machine stitching on the pants. I’d like to have an ideal pants pattern that fit me so well year after year. You’re so lucky!

  9. Thanks for all the nice comments. :)