Grandma chic: A Kemptown Jacket review

Several months ago, my step-grandmother cleaned out her closets and gave me a few things she thought I might enjoy refashioning. I politely thanked her and thought to myself “what in the hell would I possibly do with these?” I don’t typically refashion things, and haven’t ever had much interest in it. So this jacket languished in the back of my closet, waiting for me to do something with it (like donate it).

Cut to the end of August when I saw a call for testers on Instagram for a brand new pattern company, Pier & Palace. Normally I let tester calls pass me by, because I usually like sewing whatever I feel like whenever I feel like it. This tendency does not play well with deadlines. But guys. I’d be testing a really cool cropped moto-style jacket. I mean, COME ON. Done.

I pondered fabric choice for at least a week, wandering through the aisles of fabric stores listlessly. Nothing felt like the right thing. I wanted something unexpected, but still versatile enough to dress up or down. Plus, I really didn’t want it to end up feeling costumey.

And then I was digging around in my closet for something to wear (because no matter how full my closet is, I always feel like I have nothing to wear), and came across this jacket from my step grandma. And a weird, kind of crazy idea was born.

I immediately started taking apart all the guts, harvesting all of the fabric that I could, plus the zipper! (Sidebar: fancy jacket construction is stupid impressive and cool.) And then I laid the Kemptown Jacket pieces on top to see which pieces I could squeeze out. Tailored jackets don’t have much fabric surface, but the narrow pieces of the Kemptown were perfect for this. I decided to pick up some black linen as the contrast fabric, and underlined everything in a super soft mystery woven fabric from my stash to give it weight, stability and a little more warmth. I also picked up a neon green quilting cotton for my bias binding, because it seemed like the most fun choice.

GUYS. This pattern is so fun. I loved all the fancy finishing and the princess seaming. The crop hits at just the right spot to be flattering, and the 3/4 sleeve length is perfectly proportioned. And by altering how much you zip it up, you can get totally different looks! The directions are really clear, and a super helpful resource. This would be a great first time jacket, because of the skill-building focus of instructions and the lack of bagged lining.

There are definitely some things I’d change for next time, and some fit alterations I’d make for my body. First, I’ll take some of the curve out of the upper back. My thoracic curve is pretty mild, and there’s some extra fabric there for sure. It does, however, make it easy to move my arms around.

I’d also eliminate the Hong Kong seams on a few of the more curved pieces. This especially applies to the front side bodice pieces. My choice of binding and the deep curve that gets eased in makes the seam push out a bit more than I’d like. I also took about a half inch out of each side seam and didn’t bother to rebind the edges.

I am seriously in love with this jacket. I’ve worn it over jeans and a t shirt, with a pencil skirt, and over dresses. It’s surprisingly versatile and such a fun statement piece. I always feel really put together in it, and it’s equally great for work, happy hour and a casual day running errands. #winning

The Kemptown Jacket is on sale this week for 15% off when you use the code LAUNCHPARTY.

Tell me, are you a refashioner? I might be a convert now 🙂


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