A Garment Worth Saving

“Use it up, Wear it Out, Make it Do…or Do Without.”

-        Depression Era proverb

Very much a working garment

I love this jacket.  I bought it from Lands’ End 12+ years ago.  It’s the old style barn jacket with gussets in the back armysce for ease of movement, double pockets and it’s made from heavy weight canvas.   It used to be a casual jacket but as it got older it became the thing I’d wear for gardening and cleaning the chicken coop.   I can wear it over a fleece in temps close to freezing and topped with a down vest I’m fine when temps dip into the low 20’s.  It’s been washed countless times and I love the cheery yellow color, faded but still vibrant.   As the years went by and it became increasingly worn and I’d go on line from time to time to look for a replacement but no one – not LL Bean, Eddie Bauer, Cabela’s  -  no one – makes this style of barn jacket anymore.  It’s a real working garment, durable and reliable not just something suitable only for apple picking or a trip to Trader Joe’s.

The buttons broke but they did NOT come off!

Elbow worn through

About 2 years ago the upper pocket edges started to fray so I added brown suede edging to cover the damage and after I washed it last week the lining separated completely from the back collar.  Drastic action was required.  Ripping out the lining was nixed due to the complex topstitching so I decided to add a yoke to the upper back.  The fabric is a chambray remnant from my Body Double project and the sewing was a combination of machine and hand stitching because truthfully all machine stitching would require me to totally re-bag a new lining.  The photo captions have the details and I have to say this one-day project was oddly satisfying.  Maybe it’s because this jacket is very well made and unlike today’s fast fashion there is actual quality work here that is was worth repairing.  Maybe it was because it’s a utilitarian garment that acquires charm as it ages.  Maybe it’s because I’m happy I have the sewing skills to keep it useful and out of a landfill.  Maybe because of all the memories I have of the many times I wore this jacket to dance recitals and family reunions.  Maybe all of the above. As I was repairing it I found several other things that may go in the next few years and I plan to address those as they happen.  With some luck perhaps this wonderful garment will last as long as I do.

The replacement yoke with the original label

The sleeves were fell stitched by hand with waxed thred

Elbow patches

Patched inner pocket

The old yoke used as a pattern. I folded the orignal in half and use d the best looking side. A 1/2 of yoke was added and a 1/2 inch SA were added. The 1/2 inch of new yoke compensates for the lack of a SA when I cut the tattered yoke from the original lining.

3 Responses to A Garment Worth Saving

  1. Cactus December 7, 2012 at 2:36 am #

    Good job! Our favorite garments are worth saving. I recently saw on online video about a place in England, I think, that repaired a certain brand of jacket that they produced new. People were in the habit of sending them back to the factory for repair as long as there was something left to repair! Sign of a quality product.

  2. Diane December 7, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    I like that style jacket too. Have you looked at Duluth Trading web site for a possible replacement?

  3. Gorgeous Things December 16, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    What a great post! I have a leather bomber jacket that was my first big purchase when I graduated from college. It’s a classic style that I can still wear today. It’s at the point where I will need to replace the knitted cuffs on the sleeve soon. But like your barn jacket, it has so many memories attached to it, that it’s worth saving.

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