The Bandito Jacket

the bandito jacketVoila my bandito jacket . My first fall piece this year! the bandito jacketSince this jacket is such a statement piece, I’m wearing all solids everywhere else.the bandito jacketThis is me expressing my inner Native American. My mom is almost half Native American. My great, great, grandfather was a pretty bad ass Metis activist in Manitoba, Canada. Apparently he started a rebellion up at the Red River. His name was Charles Nolin. The Metis were a separate group, mixed of French and indigenous Native American or Canadian and they kept to themselves . His son, my great grandfather,married a full blooded Native American, a Cree. Anyway, that’s what my aunt learned on ancestry. com. Back to my jacket, now.the bandito jacketInspired by the American Southwest. That’s pretty obvious.

Song inspiration : Black Keys, Howlin’ for you.

the bandito jacketThis is the end result of taking apart that thrifted H& M jacket to create a pattern. while the jacket still has a rather shrunken look, it fits , even though it looks kinda small.

Here is my summary of making it from my Pattern Review post:

1. What pattern did you use?
I used a jacket from my costume collection. It didn’t fit anyway, so I cut it apart and used it for a base pattern. Then I added length and width to the bodice and drafted a lining pattern. I added the buttoned panel and changed the sleeves to 3/4. It has a peplum and a half welt pocket with a flap covering. And a mandarin collar.

2. What fabric did you use for the jacket exterior and lining.
I used some really fun Mexican style fabric I bought at the thrift shop for a dollar fifty. For the lining, i used some synthetic burgundy lining fabric from my stash. I also used up a lot of interfacing from my stash. I did buy the buttons, which were quite pricey, but I had to have those buffalo heads and Indian heads since this was the perfect choice for my fabric.

3. Are you experienced at sewing jackets or was this a terrifying first?
I’ve made jackets and coats for the theater where I worked, but haven’t lined them. I made a tailored blazer for my five year old and hand stitched the lining in. This was the first time I tried bagging a lining and I was totally freaked out, but it isn’t too bad! I found a great tutorial on Emma One Sock.

4. Describe your sewing journey with this jacket.
This took a lot longer then I expected! I didn’t have any instructions but the taken apart jacket taught me more about jacket construction than any pattern sheet could as I’m a hands on learner. I hand basted all the pieces together on the outsides to make sure the lines all matched up. I used fusible interfacing on the whole body to give it more structure, then added thicker interfacing at the shoulders. I made sleeve heads and shoulder pads from batting. I sewed three different cuffs for the jacket and none looked right, one looked like a swashbuckling pirate and made my jacket look like a Halloween costume.

So I ended up cutting the sleeves to 3/4 length and hemming. I used a bit of interfacing at the hems to give a crisper line at the sleeve hem. I had to under stitch all the seam allowances to the facings but they still wouldn’t lie flat, so i hand pick stitched them as well.

AND then I cut out a sleeve UPSIDE down, but had no more fabric for another. It would have to do!

I was planning on using an exposed zipper as a closure and bought a really pretty one but I broke the darned thing yesterday and was not going to make another trip to the store a half hour away so I decided on using hooks and eyes. I don’t really plan on wearing the jacket closed, so I’m going to remove the hooks and eyes, because I don’t like using them and they won’t stay closed very securely.

5. Did you use any interesting techniques?
I really enjoy taking apart clothes to discover how they are made and learn a lot from it. The jacket I used for a pattern was from H&M, and I was impressed by the amount of work that went into this little piece.

As I mentioned in the post above, I found this tutorial from Emma One sock explained machine sewing a lining very well.

And since I was using fusible interfacings instead of classic tailoring canvas, this tutorial about using fusibles on jackets from Threads was also helpful.IMG_2025Having a dress form is invaluable for hand sewing .

I set the sleeves in by hand, to match up the stripes, then machine stitched them. Then I went and ruined everything because I decided to take in the sleeves a little, and thus messed up all my matching. I’m getting a little better at planning with age, but not much!IMG_2021I used fusible fleece to make easy sleeve heads. It works great. You just iron it on.


I think the thing I’m most proud of is I finally figured out how to do a self lined welt pocket and bag a lining. I wanted to do bound buttonholes on the lapels, but was afraid they might look too clunky.

This was the original jacket.1 More on creating a pattern from ready to wear in this post. I added the front panel and changed the sleeves. Added 2 inches to the too short bodice and made the front princess panel a little bigger. I think I’ll be doing this more often. It’s cheaper than buying most most patterns, and my thrift shop has some cute stuff.

And copying thrifted pieces  takes less time than figuring out how to draft my own. I like easy.frontfullNot that this was easy. Those stripes took me forever to match and still i messed up in few spots! I want to add a button extension to my new pattern and make a little black jacket, something I could use. The weather has cooled down and we actually had a bit of rain this week. But it’s expected to be back up in the 90’s again by this weekend. Those hooks and eyes are really annoying i just can’t get them to work right. See that one is popping off up above. I really wished I had not broken that lime green zipper. But maybe it would have been too much.IMG_2027

Before lining.

liningbackWith lining.

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  1. Shannon P says

    This jacket is fabulous! It looks way more awesome in the fabric you picked too.

  2. says

    Wow, Justine, this is amazing! and from your words it sounds like you enjoyed the process 🙂

  3. says

    Dear Justine: hats off to you!!! This is not only gorgeus, but the most inspiring post I’ve read lately. LOVE it!

  4. Michelle Martini says

    This is fabulous Justine! It’s so flattering and beautiful. It suits you perfectly!