Introduction: Amber's Cropped Jacket

About: Rainy city makes me want to craft a rainbow. ;)

I loved designing and creating this cropped jacket that was inspired by the character Amber in the movie "Sucker Punch". It is an intriguing style with kimono sleeves and a band collar. This design fits the body beautifully and I love the way the drawstring details also play an important role in the design.

You can wear this jacket with or without the drawstring detail, it depends on your mood. With the drawstring, it gives a elaborate fantasy look, and without them you get a more casual look. Either way the skinny lace highlights the jacket with very flattering style lines that are suitable for most occasions.

This jacket requires intermediate sewing skill due to stretchy fabric and lots of zipper details. But If you are a beginner sewer who loves a challenge, then this style is perfect for you! Let me know if you have any questions, I will try my best to answer them.

Step 1: Research

Research: For my research I used a lot of reference photos of the actual movie costume. After finding the photos that showed all the necessary views and angles, I printed them as clear and high contrast as I could. Using these photo printouts, I was able to draw the seam lines and detail lines. This method allows me to draft a pattern that doesn't miss any important information, but it also gives me a sense for which details may have to be omitted due to limitations.

Step 2: Tools and Materials

1 pair of good fabric scissors (never use it to cut paper!)
1 pair of good Paper scissors (never use it to cut fabric!)
Seam ripper
Lots of straight pins
Tape measure
Sewing machine w/ zipper foot and regular foot
Overlock machine (optional) or Anti Fraying spray
L shape ruler
Straight ruler
Hip curve Ruler
French Curve
Large Ream of Paper for pattern
Pencil, eraser, clear tape
Iron & ironing board

Main Fabric: Because this style is fitted so tightly around the body I chose a one way stretch fabric in olive green (about 2 yard), this allows room for movement and still achieve the skin tight fit. This fabric is made of 50% Nylon, and 50% spandex.

Contrast Fabric: For the contrast fabric, I chose a lighter green fabric with a shinier finish (about 1 yard). I couldn't find a light green fabric with same stretch as the main fabric, so I picked a similar thickness, but in a NON-stretch fabric. For me color was the most important.

Hardware and trim:

Zippers: there are 5 zippers in this jacket, 4 - 7 on shoulders and sleeves, 1 - 12" or 13 separating zipper on center front. For all of the zippers I used antiqued brass teeth with black zipper tape.

Drawstring and Eyelets: the photos of the costume show a tonal colored lace trim that matches the fabric and a rat-tail styled cord for the lacing detail. I decided to use a black eyelet lace (10 yard), and black 1mm leather cords (30 Yard).

Flat binding trims: This trim detail is required for the center back, on the front and back sleeve, and on the back. You can either use 1/2 twill tape matching the main fabric or create your own trim. If you pick the second option as I did, it will be explained in later steps.

Black fusible interfacing: about 1 yard used for the collar, front and back facings

Thread: 2 large spools black heavy top stitching nylon thread

Step 3: Drafting the Pattern

If you are not comfortable drafting patterns from scratch you can buy a pattern with a band collar with kimono style sleeves. Butterick and Vogue should have similar styles. From there you can modify the pattern to look like the costume. It took me a while to figure out that this project required a 3 piece Kimono sleeve style and not raglan sleeve. ;)

There are only 6 pattern pieces and you can draft it on your own! ;) You can see photos of all the pattern pieces above with measurements for a size 6 person. All seam allowances are 5/8". For your reference the ruler in the picture is 18".

  1. (cut 2) Front Panel w/ front Kimono sleeve- this panel is body plus front sleeve
  2. (cut 2) Back panel with Back Kimono sleeve panel
  3. (cut 2) Side front panel
  4. (cut 2) Side back with under Kimono sleeve panel
  5. (cut 2 on fold) Back collar- Add fusible to stiffen these
  6. (cut 4) Front collars- Add fusible to stiffen these

All the pattern pieces shown are pretty self explanatory. There are some important details regarding the side front panel and the side back/sleeve panel that need some further explanation. As you can see the Side front panel is longer than usual. This was done on purpose. Also the side back and under sleeve panel is combined into one piece. This process took me a while to figure out. When sewing the two parts together, there are a lot of reverse curve lines, so you have to manipulate the fabric in order to sew smoothly. The advantage of using this pattern design is that it eliminates the excessive underarm bunching that comes with a traditional Kimono sleeve. This pattern however, will still give the same clean look on the front and back that you come to expect from Kimono sleeves.

Tips: To mark the placement of the lace details, I punched holes in the pattern with a pencil tip. Make sure to label all the pattern pieces with where they go ( front, back, sleeve, side panel, etc).

Tips: I also added notches to line up the pieces when I sew.

Step 4: Mock Up

Once the patterns are completed, I cut out HALF of the garment using muslin/scrap fabric. I sew it into a quick mock up to check proportions.  I make sure the seams all matched correctly and nothing was funky. :)

If you chose a stretch fabric as I did, make sure to fit the mock up to the dress form or yourself skin tight. Pin away extra fabric. After fitting the mock up on the dress form or yourself (with the help of a friend), you may need to adjust your paper pattern pieces accordingly.

Mine was too long in the back, and the shoulder was too funky (see pictures above). I pinned away the extras fabric on the mock up. And then I took off the mock up, lined it up to the paper pattern and trimmed away the portion that was pinned off.

Step 5: Laying Out the Pattern and Cutting

The next step is to go ahead and cut the real fabric!

Laying out the fabric:
Since my fabric is a one way stretch, I choose to have the stretch be across the body (horizontal), and the non-stretch grain will be vertical. This way all the seams are more stable, and each panel can stretch to fit the body as you moves. I have marked the stretch side on the picture above.

Here are my paper patterns all laid out on the main fabric. I laid the fabric out in double layers. In the photos, you can see there are also a few pieces for the pants in the mix as well. (I will write an Instructable for the pants later). Make sure you follow the grain line of the fabric to the grain line of your pattern pieces. Pin your paper pattern to the fabric, mark the placements for the lacing detail, and cut carefully around. Turn the cut pieces around and mark the mirrored lace details placements on the underside.

Flat Binding trim:
You can create your own trim by using the main fabric. Cut out 1" wide strips and then fold in the edges to make the 1/2" trim. You can either use a bias tape maker, or just pin and iron to create the crease. you will need about 4 yards of this trim.

After you are done with the main fabric, you can proceed to cut out the side back/under sleeve panel using contrast fabric.

Step 6: Sewing

After all pieces are cut, carefully pin the lace in place according to the marked spots and sew.
Then place the binding around the lace accordingly, pin and sew. This is a very critical detail, so try to practice on scrap fabric first. :) See above for detailed step by step pictures on how the lace/bindings are sewn.

For the front, there are 4 lace locations (2 on each side).  2 flat binding locations running from the front neck seam to the sleeve opening. Pin the lace and binding in place and sew. See reference picture above for how it should look when finished.

For the back , there are 4 lace locations (2 on each sleeve and shoulder blade) and 2 flat bindings as well. The binding is located above the lace and around the shoulder blade to the bottom hem. The center back binding gets sewn on later. See reference picture above for how it should look when finished.

After all the detail parts are sewn, the next steps will be to assemble the main garment.
Here is the order of operation from the center back to center front, steps are also tagged in the photos:

1) Sew center back pieces together by stitching center back seam, iron the seam allowances open

2) Pin flat binding over the center back seam, stitch 1/8" on each side of binding edge

3) Sew back collars together and attach to the back neckline only.

4) Sew back side/underarm panel to back body and sleeve seam, repeat on this step on the other side

5) Sew the back side panel to the front side panel, repeat this step on the other side

6) Sew the center front panel to the side front panel and sleeve seam, repeat this step on the other side

7) Sew the front collars together and attach to the left and right necklines. Do not sew the front and back collar together yet.

8) At this point, you should have the whole shell of the jacket sewn, other than the outside shoulder/arm/neck seam. It should still be open. For this seam, there are two zippers on each end. Mark 7” from the top of the neck, and 8” from the sleeve opening. Sew the distance in between.

9) Sew zipper to the sleeve opening end. And also sew zipper to the shoulder/neck end. The wider seam allowance will allow the zipper teeth to be exposed without buckling the fabric. Repeat this step on the other side.

10) Almost there! Now pin and sew separating zipper at center front edge. Repeat this step on the other side.

After all the seams are in place, put on the jacket to check the fit.  Take in and let out as needed.

Step 7: Finishing Touches!

Adding finishing touches:

1) Finishing seam allowance: If you have an over lock machine, over lock all the raw edges inside the jacket to prevent fraying. Or spray anti fray solutions on all of the seam allowances.

2) Top stitches: There are a few top stitching details in this jacket, see below for a list of the locations

a. Center front zipper
b. Collar - Multiple rows of top stitches
c, Shoulder/neck zipper
d, Sleeve opening zipper

3) Hemming: Over lock raw edges at bottom hem and sleeve opening, turn up the edge and sew to finish accordingly.

4) Adding leather cords: Zigzag the leather cords back and forth between the laces to finish the look!

I hope you enjoy the directions I have given you, and let me know if you have any questions. I had a blast making this jacket, and I hope you will too!

BurdaStyle Fashion Challenge

Runner Up in the
BurdaStyle Fashion Challenge

Halloween Epic Costumes Challenge

Participated in the
Halloween Epic Costumes Challenge