“Au Naturel”

As much as I absolutely love to be dressed up and nicely put together, I am finding myself more and more comfortable in an every day, no-fuss, modern casual style with vintage references.  That has been a process in itself, recently.  The last time I had a signature casual style was as a teen in the 90’s – I was either wearing tight, printed tees and hip-hugging pants or oversized shirts and jean shorts, but I was never happy with my body or self-confident in such a get-up…neither would I be now.  However, I was mostly always dressed up then, and for years afterwards, though – between working, church-related activities, and trying to be professional and taken seriously growing up.

Now, I find myself not needing as many fancy clothes as I used to wear in the last 10 years, as I mostly work from home, as society is so grubby, and as our town is sorely lacking in dressy events.  Taking up sports that I never had the chance to enjoy as a teen has helped me finalize an everyday style that makes me feel together, but is unassuming and totally, comfortably me.  Rest assured my penchant for vintage is not going anywhere, as you can pinpoint in subtle references of my outfit details.  Yet, I need something much more darkly punkish and rough-and-tumble worthy to practice my new pastime exercise of skateboarding!  Welcome to the new me for 2020!

I really don’t want to risk much of my own makes when I go out with my board (learning to be a better rider necessarily involves falling), but I am working on filling that gap.  After all, being a “ska8er” girl has a definite air about it…that frequently consists of a specific style involving Converse sneakers (mine are pink, by the way) and the color black (why I have on 1940’s inspired Hell Bunny brand dark jeans)!  Yet, I do always need something me-made or a part of me feels missing, incomplete.  The most practical and immediate need in my casual wardrobe was a good jacket.  Taking up an outdoor sport in winter where I live can be challenging in many ways but I’ll start with the one I can address.  I currently have only one casual coat amongst a closet of dressy ones, and that one was bought RTW in my late teen years and is slightly tighter in fit now than I remember.  That is now amended with my sewing of this versatile wool blend, fully lined, mid-weight jacket!  I used a relatively new Burda Style pattern and modern scuba knit for an updated jacket that is a blend of two classics – a blazer and a bomber.

The open front reminds me of a suiting blazer, especially the way the original Burda version was completed.  The no-closure front gives me just enough fresh air to keep from being overheated when I am skateboarding.  It really is a tough full body exercise, people!  With the cozy lining, this jacket is much warmer than it might appear.  The loose, straight sleeves and raglan shoulder seams are so comfy and provide plenty of room to move in while still looking tailored.  There is the classic bomber jacket waistband with welt pockets.  Yet, a fine woolen sweater knit tweed helps combine dressy and sporty together in a way I absolutely love!  The sweater knit was opaque black on the “wrong” side so it was reversible and would have been quite appropriate to use on its own.  However, I find anything rabbit hair blended to be incredibly itchy to my skin, but I know it lends a lofty warmth so it was perfectly suited for outerwear.  The design calls for a jacquard or something with body, but this sweater knit is anything but that – it’s very loose and drapes well.  I like the unfussy look a softer material lends to the Burda Style jacket.  Dressy yet sporty, as I said, soft yet warm…which is pretty much 100% me!


FABRIC:  The black and white tweed is a wool, angora, acrylic blend, and it is fully lined in a flannel back satin, with poly scuba knit as accents

PATTERN:  Burda Style “Open Jacket” #106 from the February 2018 magazine

NOTIONS:  All I needed was thread and interfacing.

TIME TO COMPLETE:  This took about 7 hours to make and was finished on December 11, 2019.

THE INSIDES:  …completely covered by the full lining!

TOTAL COST:  I found the tweed as a 1 ½ yard remnant so I got a good deal…$10.  The flannel backed satin was bought on discount but not as good as a deal…about $14. The scuba knit was remnants leftover from a skirt I have made but not yet blogged about.

This was so much easier to make than it looks, but maybe that’s because the instructions were good on this pattern.  Besides, I have more practice on creating welt pockets by now so they’re not as stressful or confusing as used to be!  In lieu of traditional ribbed knit “sweatshirt” trim for the traditional bomber jacket waist hem, I merely used the same scuba knit around the neck.  Doing so provided a continuity to the jacket and worked out just as nice as a rib knit.  The center front extension tab at the waist hem was a bit tricky to accomplish, and I took a few experiments to understand just what the instructions were telling me to do, but once I ‘got it’ everything turned out great.  I chose the Burda Style size I always use and the fit seems to right on, as well.

The sleeves were drafted to be quite long, and so I adapted them slightly.  I left out the separate sew-on cuffs for more of a casual option and to make it simpler to sew, but really – it was merely an easy way to leave off a few inches in the total length.  I did cut just one cuff in half and sew each of the two parts into the sleeve bottoms like it was a facing to finish the inside.  The sleeves end at my knuckles if I do not fold them over, but if I want the look of a cuff (or just to get them out of the way of my hands), adding the facing inside gives me the option of doing so.  This was the only adaptation to the pattern.  The rest says true to the original design.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the whole thing – the part which really brings this up to a level above – is the bagged lining.  You leave an opening in one side seam to the lining body and sew it, right sides together, along the neck and front edges.  Then, you sew the lining to the seam which connects the scuba knit waist band to the jacket body, stretching as you go just like when it was first sewn in.  The trickiest part to the whole jacket is trying to connect the corner seam points to the bottom front of the jacket.  After that is accomplished, the whole jacket is turned right sides out through that lining seam opening.  I love this part!  It’s so satisfying to cover up all the stitching and raw edges in such a cleanly professional manner with one step!  I ironed and top-stitched the edges down and hand stitched together the lining opening and the sleeve-to-facing seams.  Sewing is literally magic.

No matter what the original motivation to sew this jacket was, this is literally more than just an item for my skateboarding escapades.  It is just a practical and useful piece to make to fill in for those times in my life that are not as glamorous as I would like to daydream about.  It is for real living.  Many of my vintage me-made items do also fall into that category – such as this movie inspired 40’s outfit for one of my most frequently worn examples – but it’s nice on occasion to find a style for myself apart from it which appreciates what designs we have to enjoy today.  Just sharing this post in itself helps me break some sort of comfort boundary about publicly embracing my less than opulent side…the plain old me, just doing my “thing”.  In the French, it’s an “an unpretentious state” of an “au naturel” Kelly!

3 thoughts on ““Au Naturel”

  1. Skateboarding! My brothers were sk8ters, and I may have followed them had we not moved to a rural area with no sidewalks or parks… I still have a few memories of trying to get that board going though ; )
    Your jacket is too cute, in a perfect casual way and from the side and back is a bit reminiscent of a bomber jacket. I think it is the band and angled pockets.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is cool that you can relate to my skateboarding! Yes, a lack of flat, man-made surfaces is a challenge. In the city where we live, our sidewalks are so bumpy and unkempt, I have to resort to parking lots (which can make some people irate) or the street. As an adult doing skateboarding, I am too aware that to some people it is still regarded as such a rebellious thing to do. For me, it’s great exercise and my teenage dream come true. It really is always a learning process every time on the board, isn’t it?

    Thanks for commenting! I appreciate your compliments on my jacket because it did not turn out how I envisioned it, but it seemed to turn out just as well after all!


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