A denim jacket and a shirt dress

After a long blog hiatus, I’m back!


My interest in making a denim jacket/dress started with wardrobe planning for an upcoming trip. I saw this Steven Alan dress/jacket (is it a dress? Is it a jacket?!) and was smitten.

I quickly set about making my own version. After scouring the internet for a shirt dress pattern with a two-piece sleeve I settled on the Mara pattern from Style Arc. As well as the ideal sleeve situation I really liked the relaxed lines of this pattern. For once – gasp – I made a toile! From there I made the following changes:

  • Straightened the side seams and CB seam (ultimately cutting the back on the fold)
  • Adjusted the CF to remove the hidden button placket
  • Replaced the pleated pockets with oversized patch pockets
  • Omitted the side seam pockets
  • Added a back yoke
  • Slashed and spread the front and back pieces for slightly more swing
  • Shortened and straightened the sleeve pieces
  • Made allowances for vents at the hem (side seams)
  • Added extra depth to the collar pieces and allowed for turn-of-the-cloth on the under collar (learned this the hard way)
  • Added a welt pocket on the back (used the Tamarack instructions).

Basically, I tried to copy the inspiration garment as faithfully as I could. Here are some pics of my sneaky back welt pocket in action:

I used some very yummy Cone Mills stretch denim that I received in a Ginger Jeans kit a couple of years ago. I have since learned that I have quite the aversion to making jeans, at least for now, so a jacket it has become! I am so grateful for the stretch in this denim. It makes what could otherwise be a somewhat restrictive garment very comfortable. I am a bit fussy when it comes to shoulder range of motion and I have no trouble here.


I used navy blue topstitching thread throughout and chose horn buttons. These are particularly good as they came in a small and a large size: large down the front and on the cuffs, with small ones at the CF neck and back collar. All of the seams are flat felled.


And now, a quick mention about the dress on underneath. I made this at the end of last summer. This time I was inspired by this dress from NZ designer Juliette Hogan:

For my version I started with the Grainline Archer pattern, cropping it somewhere around the waist and adding a gathered skirt with inseam pockets. I also cut the sleeves to elbow length and added a hidden button placket, which I think gives a really nice polished look.



All in all I’m really pleased with both of these items. I take extra pleasure in being able to make something just like a garment I covet in the shops. Sewing is so fun!


Are you excited to sew for the new season? Do you ever try to replicate something you’ve seen in the shops or online? I’d love to hear about it!



  1. Ahh both turned out so well! I would never think to make a long denim jacket like that but its wonderful. Also, great idea with the archer conversion. I am working on a hack right now but I just extended the archer length and a-lined it a bit. Nice work!

    1. I’m planning on making some a-line Archer dresses too, it’s such a versatile pattern isn’t it? And yeah, I had never in a million years thought to make a long denim jacket. Just goes to show the power of a picture!

    1. I have to say, I amazed myself with the toile, too. It was fun to really follow through on a project. Now I feel the need for a palate cleanser so some Genoa making could be just the ticket!

    1. Thank you so much! I would recommend the jacket dress as a project as it had so many fun details to sew. Denim is such a dreamy fabric to work with, too. So well behaved, and you can unpick as many times as you like!

  2. This whole outfit is to die for! I am a great fan of trying to replicate RTW garments, never as successfully as this though.

    1. Thank you 🙂 I haven’t done a whole lot of replicating in the past but I had so much fun with these two projects. Figuring out how to get the exact same look was a really fun challenge.

  3. These are both so good! My grandmother always talks about how her mother used to go into Marks & Spencer and turn things inside out to see how they were made, and then go home and copy them! I have the Archer pattern and might have to steal your brilliant dress idea…

    1. Yes it’s a great spring dress! Very good for days at work where I want to look presentable. I had so much fun copying these RTW things, I might try to do it more often.

  4. Totally agree, sewing is fun 🙂 These are both amazing and remarkably similar to their inspiration garments! I’m heavily influenced by what I see online and in the street but I’m not that confident to make a whole lot of changes to patterns. What you’ve done is really impressive!

  5. Wow, both garments are stunning replicas of the originals with your own creativity included for good measure. These are classics that you’ll wear for years.

    1. Thanks Sheryll! Yes I hope to wear it lots although I need some more dresses to wear under it now. Something tells me I won’t be wearing it over my jeans…

  6. Both garments are so stylish and true to your inspiration, I made once a trench coat insipired by Burberry but It didn’t turn out as I imagined it.
    also love your shoes, go perfectly with the outfit!

  7. As a rule, I don’t like to make exact copies – I sew because I want unique clothes. having said that, I can see why you were drawn to these garments…and you’ve done a darn good job!

  8. Pingback: Helen's Closet
  9. I am in love with your outfit! … you are lucky you live nowhere near me I would most definitely commit crimes to get it because my sewing list is already too long!

  10. I have found you just now through another blog, and I just can say than I love what you do! The denim jacket is amazing but I really love the dress!. Congratulations!

    From now, I am one of your followers!!!

  11. I have just found your blog this morning and I can just say that I love it!

    This look it is super cool ! The jacket is amazing! It fits on you perfect! And the shirt dress is simple but lovely! Congratulations!

    Now I am one of your followers

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