A Garment Worth Saving

yellow jacket - Very much a working garment

yellow jacket – 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.

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.