New Lease On Life: Swing Jacket Refashion

My first weskit; my first swing coat’s second chance.

Years ago, after I had my daughter, I felt like I was drifting.  Uncertain of myself.  The winter after I had my Lila,  I was cold.  And kind of fat (for me).   None of my warm jackets fit.  Not being able to fit into “my” clothes upset me deeply.

I remember snapping one day and leaving my small baby at home with my husband, determined to scour the shops to find a decent little jacket.  When you move countries, its hard to know where to shop.  Back then, I wasn’t the sewist I am today.  This sang to me from the rack, I absolutely adored the fabric and felt pretty wearing it.  Thank you, jacket, for the moment of shangri-la.  Eventually  I outgrew (if that’s the right term) my lovely little swing jacket that skimmed the wobblies on my new-mommy body.  I dissected her a year and a day ago with the idea of fashioning the fabric into a weskit; she sat on my work table since then.

With the return of chilly weather, I cast around for weskit designs I could use to re-fashion her, settling on an early to mid-50’s (correct me if I’m wrong) weskit pattern:

I drafted the red one from my basic block, then tried to make my pattern pieces fit the jacket pieces.  They didn’t.  I improvised.

Front.  I made every part fit except the arm hole, but arm holes are fluid entities on a sleeveless garment.  I had a similar problem with the back.

I cut the back lining first, then had to sacrifice part of the back arm hole and sleeve seam on the exterior.  So I laid the exterior on top of the lining and trimmed.  Not elegant perhaps, but it got the job done.

I used 1/2″ sew-through boning on the side seams.  Note the rounded ends.

I thought next time I’d opt for a slightly longer weskit.

Persephone lives again, I can’t convince my Northern Hemisphere brain that it’s actually Autumn.  So this is the Persephone Weskit.  Photos at dusk create funny colors, but I rather like it.

I know I haven’t posted much lately.  I won’t lie- I felt flat.  Not depressed exactly, just flat.  My husband always tells me to write for myself, and I really didn’t want to create more chatter about sewing.  I teach sewing, I spend 20-30+ hours a week sewing, I write extensive notes for class, I read sewing blogs and I write a sewing blog.  I suppose it’s natural that every now and then I’d feel the urge to do nothing with my free time but sit around watching Period Dramas (Try Upstairs Downstairs, Daphne, South Riding and Cruel Beauty).  When I don’t post, that’s where I am.


  1. Love it! This is exactly what I always wish vests looked like on me (and they never quite do…) /sigh. Good job resurrecting your jacket, too.Do what you gotta do, blog- and life- and hobby-wise. Though I did miss you. :)

  2. I think it's awesome that you gave your jacket a new life! And it looks great! Love the short hair to, by the way. It's good to take a break sometimes too. We all do it. :)

  3. So inspiring. I have a jacket in my closet that makes me feel fat when I wear it! Why is it still in my closet? No idea…Your hubby is 100% right! Write for you, no matter what! I keep a journal with me and when I get an idea or see something beautiful/inspiring, I write it down and blog about it later. Oh, I just saw Cruel Beauty on Netflix a few weeks ago- loved it!! If you have Netflix, you should check out Downton Abbey and Charlotte Gray. I just watched both- fabulous costumes.

  4. Great re-fashion! It fits you beautifully and has a vintage-y/classic vibe which suits you as well. Just post when you want to. It's a hobby, not a job! :-)

  5. Love the way you´ve used that old jacket! Gorgeous piece! And I´ve learned a new word too, weskit. Nice! Always good to expand one´s vocabulary. :-)And I would get a bit flat if I were blogging about the same thing that is my work. Oh, I blow out from time to time anyhow, actually. Don´t we all? So take your time, enjoy your wine and your costume dramas! :-)

  6. Hands down you are my favorite new-to-me blog I've come across in the past six months. I enjoy your perspectives, your thoughtfulness, and your willingness to experiment. It's been very inspiring, to say the least.

  7. I love this post! It's good to have clothes that pick you up when you're feeling less-than-wonderful. You did an amazing job transforming your beloved jacket into the vest. Drinking wine and watching period dramas sounds like an excellent way to unwind to me!

  8. OMG Steph…I absolutely adore this weskit. What an amazing idea! I've been feeling a bit of the same this week…the red wine definitely helps :)

  9. The vest looks awesome. And, what does maks a weskit a weskit ?Sometimes we all need to turn inward a bit and I don't mind waiting the author out. I have to admit, I got really excited at first, when I saw "Period Dramas" because in my PMS state of mind, I imagined a whole genre of TV for that time of the month when we just want to drink wine and weep. Ha ha, I guess I should just be quiet myself.

  10. Sigrid, I almost coughed up my morning coffee through my nose, laughing. I think Period Dramas would work for those sorts of occasions, too.Can I get Netflix in Australia? I've been watching them on a pirated Youtube channel. I should look into it.Cruel Beauty was fun, and though it was based on a true story it wasn't in the same league as the other dramas listed…

  11. I find bloggers who post too often can be rather exhausting! I'd much prefer to wait for a worthwhile post. Whatcha writing? Have you mentioned the book before?

  12. I haven't mentioned it before, because this is my "fun-time sewing" blog, but it does take a considerable amount of time, focus and creative energy. It's a book on wearable, washable, every-day couture and wardrobing for the sewist.

  13. Great weskit. And thanks for teaching me a new word! Like others have said, blogging should be fun, and that means you gotta have a break every now and then.

  14. Good salvage – the fabric definitely looked worth keeping. Blogging does take a lot of time and energy, but you don't have to post every day, or stick to a schedule. Randomness is also good, and we all have other aspects of our lives to live. Err, this is starting to sound like me trying to explain why I haven't posted for a week!Good luck for the book!

  15. Well, I am very excited for you about the book! Washable – awesome. And wardrobing, probably something I should pay more attention to, rather than random 'hey how cool' patterns and fabrics. Have fun with the creation.

  16. That's a great story! A jacket that made you feel beautiful turned into something else that makes you feel beautiful :) It is lovely fabric.I agree with Jane on frequency of blog posts: quality over quantity. How exciting you're writing a book! I'll be excited to hear more about it.

  17. Pingback: Wins and Fails in Winter Sewing « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

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