I made the very wonderful Koos Van Den Akker swing jacket released in the fall of 2011. Big, curving pieces of varied fabrics stitched together to create a work of art. Can you tell I am happy with my jacket? As this is very loose fitting you can use a smaller size. My bust measurements put me in a Large but my shoulders are only a Small so I used that size. I could probably have cut the XS also
The sewing is mostly not difficult. The welt pockets and flat felled seams are the tricky parts. You can choose to leave those parts off and then the jacket is average difficulty. The hardest part of this project is picking your fabrics and cutting them out. There are very awkward and large pieces that use a lot of fabric and leave a lot of waste.
I used light weight wools, faux suede and silk dupioni, all miraculously from my stash. Some of these wools have been waiting to emerge from the cupboard for 25 years. Even the red dupioni was in my stash. I had enough of that to make a blouse, and enough of the faux suede to make a skirt.
I didn't alter except to shorten the sleeves (my usual need). I even left the collar at its full size as I wanted to be able to fold it to show the red silk. To shorten the sleeves find the straight grain line on the pattern piece and fold out what you need (or lengthen) perpendicular to that grain line. True up the edges.
The main thing I changed was the construction method. Using the lining piece as a base I laid the pieces on top of it, wrong sides together, overlapping to match seam lines, pinned them in place and applied the bias trim over the stitching line and topstitched. The pattern would have you stay stitch each long edge, sew each of these long curved seams with right sides together, trim, turn, press . Lots of work and probably resulting in stretched out seams. Before doing it my way, stitch the bottom edge right side together and turn so that the bottom edge hem is finished. Then apply the pieces one at a time.
The best thing I did to make this go well was to use double sided fusible tape on the back of my silk bias strips. Once fused in place it was very easy to topstitch the strips down without wavering about.
Doing the flat felling was very fussy and took some time. It is especially awkward to do it on the sleeve seam as it gets quite narrow near the wrist. The only reason to do this is to make it reversible. Well, and to look nice inside. I will probably never wear this reversed.
I left off the pockets. I had cut out the pieces thinking I would do them but at the end I decided I like the flow of the design as it was without the pockets breaking up the design lines.
I did the quilting topstitching on the sleeves but decided against it when I got to the body of the jacket. I didn't think my particular fabrics needed any further embellishment. Since I had top-stitched the bias tape through all layers there was quite a bit of stitching on the inside already.
Another thing I did to enhance the look was to add lightweight wire to the outer edge of the front and collar. I thought of this after the jacket was done and I thought the collar looked a little floppy. It wouldn't stand up the way I wanted it to. I had on hand some Design Plus Shape 'n Stay lightweight wire. Perfect. I was able to squeeze it between two stitches into the channel formed by two rows of topstitching without even opening a seam. Now I can shape the collar and front edge as I want them to be. Sort of like wired-edge ribbon.
I'm thrilled with my combination of fabrics. In the past I've often not been very successful with combining different fabrics so this feels really good. I love the dramatic style and potential for artistic expression.
To go with the jacket I made Neue Mode 23304 with the silk dupioni and Kwik Sew 3295 with the black faux suede. The reviews of these are linked in the right column.