Finished Object: Lady Safari Jacket in Hemp Silk

I started sewing this unlined jacket in a hemp-silk crepe satin for the vintage pattern sewalong last January.  I carefully altered the pattern using another pattern that fit well.  Then I obsessed over engineering the patch pockets so they would withstand hard wear and summer conditions.  Finally, I played with several types of saddle stitching to secure the design details.  All in the course of two weeks.  Then I stopped.  I just did, we ran out of summer before I found buttons I liked.  I made another version of the same pattern in corduroy for winter, which became my favorite jacket ever.

Ta-da!  Ok, I admit I’ve actually been wearing it for the past two months or so, sans buttons.  It’s even been through the washing machine once.  My skirt isn’t wrinkled, by the way, that’s genteel rumpling

I like the way the back pleat “settled in.”  I was careful to stitch each dart, tuck and pleat into place so I could easily launder the jacket and the details would retain their integrity.  It works well.

Here’s a peek at the inside construction.  The satin side of the fabric is on the inside, where it slips against my clothes and skin.  The rough, textured crepe side faces out.  The texture repels soiling.  I wanted this jacket to be tough above all other considerations, and easy to launder.  I used haircloth interfacing, bound all the edges with pink and blue satin bias binding, sewed the waist seam “inside out,” then covered it with a belt feature.

I stitched the collar “stand” so the long-wearing collar would stand up well to abuse and because the very old pattern told me to.  I thought it sounded reasonable.  I plan to do another collar like this, because it is AWESOME; I’ll document the process when I do.

I wore my jacket this morning while I helped out on my husband’s parent’s farm.  This is a medicine gun, attached to a medicine pack slung over my shoulder.  We were worming a paddock of sheep and goats.

I was told to grab this particularly spirited goat by the horns…

So it could take its medicine.

I used four buttons on the pockets from a dead 30’s blouse I made pre-blog.  My brain tells me they’re tacky, but I love them and I’m delighted they’re a part of my wardrobe again.  I finished the front belt with a trouser loop and bar.  Honestly, this jacket doesn’t need buttons down the front.

My source for hemp-silk is in Perth- Margaret River Hemp Company.  It’s truly delicious fabric, though a trifle “wiggly” to work with.  They have excellent customer service.

Maybe it’s the cool, cloudy, unseasonable weather, but the whole world looks to me like it’s erupting into brilliant Christmas colors.  Everywhere I look, I see vibrant reds and greens. The banner now is a “flame tree” at the foot of the orange orchard on the farm.  I hope you don’t mind me sharing such non-tangible inspiration; I plan to keep up the red and green photos through the holidays.  It’s my small way to acknowledge Christmas.


    • Aw, thanks. I picked up “genteel rumpling” in a 30’s book on tropical tailoring- I can’t remember the title! Anyway, I always liked the term.

  1. I love this jacket!! The back pleat is amazing and the pockets are such a great shape. Did I ever tell you I have an obsession with 30’s/40’s jackets in white? They are so perfect for summer.

    • Thanks, debi! I’m pleased with how much the back pleat looks “era” to me, I sort of just stuck it in the pattern… I was unaware of that obsession- do you indulge it much? I have an obsession with tweedy wools, but I just CAN’T justify it in this climate. So I do enjoy seeing your tweeds. :)

  2. I agree! No one should look this good worming a goat- ha! That’s a funny sentence to write.

    Hemp-silk sounds delightful. It’s a perfect summer jacket.

    • That IS funny. :) All I can say is I try to make my clothes so they’re comfortable and able to stand up to such abuse…

      I can not recommend the fabric highly enough. It’s gorgeous to handle.

  3. That is impressively stylish for livestock wrangling! I have a (sadly impractical, but glorious) hemp-silk skirt that is lovely.

    I love how you made the jacket close, and I think the buttons are perfect for it ;).

    • That’s the trick… Making a practical garment that will last long enough to justify the fabric… This wears and washes surprisingly well.

      Thanks. It’s a really nice, easy “throw it on” type of closure, but keeps it secure enough for my livestock wrangling… I’ll be wearing it out kayaking this afternoon…

  4. Oh my gosh. I could gush FOREVER about how much I love this jacket!! I like the darker thread (at least, I don’t think you matched the thread to the fabric), the fabric itself looks like it has a wonderful texture, and the BUTTONS! I love them. I can’t believe this is the same pattern as your corduroy jacket! Talk about a completely different look. :D I think my all time favourite detail is the pockets!

    It looks lovely on you! I’ll bet it protects you from the sun nicely without cooking you, eh? I really like the look of it layered on top of that dress. What is that dress, anyways? Have we seen it? Is it you-made?

    Okay, I’ve got to get offline and back to my own sewing! I have a dress in pieces on my sewing table, and it needs to be done for a Christmas party tonight! :D Enjoy your lovely jacket (and have fun with those goats! LOL).

    • The thread is a slightly darker thead and a thick saddle-stitch. It does protect me well, I’m only hot in it on the most humid days imaginable or while hiking… The dress is Blueberry Parfait, I wear that thing constantly.

      oooohHhh Christmas party dress!

  5. There’s something very ‘Tomb Raider’ about that shot of you with the worm gun. Lovely jacket. I love love love hemp and have not sewn with it enough.

    • Yeah… Just after we took that shot, I stumbled into an ancient underground temple and found some loot… Slashed a few zombies, whatever. A day in the life….right?

      Hemp’s really easy to sew, but pure hemp needs to age before you can really appreciate its beauty. It’s rather stiff and harsh for the first month or three of wear, but worth it.

  6. Gorgeous, gorgeous jacket. I love the artfully rumpled look! And the way it falls open without buttons. You’ve done some amazing things with this pattern.

  7. Pingback: Finished Object: Lady Safari Jacket in Hemp Silk « 3 Hours Past the … | The Hemp Network News

  8. I’ve had a safari jacket on and off my sewing list for two years. Twice I’ve even layed the fabric up on the cutting table, but I always run scared and now I think I know why. My pattern isn’t waisted like yours. I love that one simple detail because it just adds that something that makes it so special. You are a brave girl wearing a pale colour, though. I would have spilled my lunch on it. On the goat front I just got a message yesterday with a picture of twin goats born on my property at Crabbes Creek. They are very cute!

    • Can you make it waisted? What fabric are you using?

      A friend of mine spent two years camping out wandering around Africa and she gave me the idea of an uber-useful safari jacket… She had a white tropical weight multi-pocketed jacket and she said it was THE BEST garment she’s ever worn. It was solid and practical for her wanderings, and she said it repelled dirt and didn’t need washing, just the occasional spot cleaning. I used hemp because it has some similar virtues… Ramble ramble.. :)

  9. Ah-hah! I thought there was something not-blogged about when I saw that jacket on you. It does indeed repel dirt!

    I love that you told us about the flame trees. I love flame trees: they remind me of home so strongly. I’m sorry I missed them (but I got to see the jacarandas)

  10. Those buttons are gorgeous. I love the jacket in general, but the little hibiscus-y looking buttons are just fantastic. If I had a jacket with those on I would squee every time I put it on.

    • Some grandmothers have elegant wrinkles, too. I think well-kept, wrinkled skin is gorgeous.

      This jacket gets some seriously beautiful texture right after I wash it. I’ll have to photograph it.

  11. The cropped photo of you with the drenching gun that appears as your blog header with this post is simply awesome :) And I think the buttons are perfection.

  12. Pingback: This Is How I Care For Silk (And a Cautionary ale) « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

  13. Pingback: Red Stripe Giveaway Winners and Your Top Ten Summer Style Tips! « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

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