Blue velvet jacket!

15 Oct

I finished it! I wore it! It’s awesome!

See?! See?! Isn’t it beautiful?!

… ok ok enough with the ! and onto some substance… Warm clothes pose problems when you live in the tropics. Unless you never go anywhere else, you not only need warm clothes, you need seriously GOOD warm clothes because you get cold long before people living in a temperate climate do. It’s worse coming from Darwin, because unlike northern Queensland, we never, not even in the depths of ‘winter’, get very cold. 16C is a freezing night for us, with the days still getting up around 30C. Your body just doesn’t get practise at coping with the cold.

Some people simply leave a box of warm stuff with their relatives for when they visit. As kids, our Granny lived in Hobart. Yes, indeed, an entire continent away from all the tropical warmth of Darwin:

Map of Aust + antarctica


Granny kept all our warm clothes. Hobart airport was tiny, smaller even than the old Darwin airport back then. We’d shiver our way off the plane, onto the tarmac and finally finally through the doors into the waiting arms of our Granny, who had this comical but deliciously warm hug-while-wrapping-the-grandkid-up-in-a-parker greeting perfected. Next came the ordeal of waiting in a breezy freezing shed for the luggage to be brought in on trailers dragged by tractors. (I wonder if there’s finally got a proper luggage conveyor belt yet?! And if so, is it in that draughty shed?)

However, this approach only works if you visit only one place. But as an adult I have friends and family all over the country, so I need to keep a warm wardrobe here.

A huge hole in my warm-clothes wardrobe has been the lack of a light jacket. I’ve got a big winter one for the times I’m insane enough to visit my brother’s family in NSW Southern Highlands between May and November. But I also need a light jacket cutting out a cold wind and giving just a bit of warmth.

So that’s what this velvet jacket is for.

It also needs to look good (not dated) in 10 years time, because that’s the other thing about living in the tropics, your warm clothes don’t have a chance to wear out. I still have yummy woolen skivvies I bought in NZ over 15 yrs ago. I’ve focussed on building a wardrobe of classics. Ok so a Bolivian Milkmaid’s Jacket isn’t exactly a classic. But a simple princess-line jacket with nipped-in waist, flairing out over the hips is one of MY classic sillouhettes. So is dark blue.

I decided I wanted the jacket longer than the pattern, so I cut one godet per section (The pattern has two) and lengthened it. To be honest, having it the original length might make the jacket more useful. Less warm. The blue velvet is pretty warm.

Looking at the pattern reviews on the jacket looks nowhere near as shapely as it does in the line-drawing. I tried to bring the waist in a bit on mine, but I didn’t really manage it. It’s the only issue I have with it. In the first photo in this post, I was cheating and pulling it in round the waist, to see whether that is what it needed. I think that and the photos below confirm it would be worth refitting it before my next trip.

The jacket is lovely and soft and unstructured, which is just how I wanted it. It was so soft and comforting to my feet when it was stashed under the seat in front of me while flying. (hey I needed some comfort. I was flying Jetstar. ‘Nuff said?) I really meant it when I said here that I needed a scrunchable jacket 😛 Old backpacking habits die hard…

Taken on the path over the dunes to the beach, I’m ‘striking the pose’ here as my friend taking the photos told me to do 😀 (She’s a jazz singer, I’m a dancer. We’re such a pair of show-ponies :-D) Like my socks? They’re from Sock Dreams. The blue lace headscarf is a length of fabric from Kerryn’s Fabric World. That tiny width was all I could afford. Fortunately fluffy curly hair looks great with hair-scarves.

Hopeless phone camera is hopeless. *sigh* But you get the idea 🙂 I love the big sleeves. Although they’re literally half as full as the pattern. I didn’t have enough fabric to do the full deal.

And when it comes to timeless warm clothes, that scruffy-looking skirt is letting the side down. REALLY need to do something about that!

I thought the blue flowers (lobelia I think) would highlight the blue in the jacket but I think as far as achieving that, this photo is a sad FAIL. But hey…

Just a little peak at one of the divine places we visited, this is a beach that went on forever, along the Sunshine Coast. So beautiful! So odd to have the sun set behind the dunes, too…

8 Responses to “Blue velvet jacket!”

  1. Summerflies October 15, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    We had friends from Darwin and when they came to Brisbane to live, they had to buy ALL the warm things… blankets, heaters, socks, long pants, jackets etc, etc you get the picture. After looking at the jacket in the first picture, I think you are right, it would be worth taking in as it looks great like that. I like the slightly less pouffy sleeves but thats me. You should be pleased with it.


    • Tropical Threads October 15, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

      haha that sounds about right! I tried moving to Canberra once (Lasted till mid-june then came home shivering…) and that was what I had to do. Thank goodness for op-shops.

      Thanks re the jacket input. I was wondering if I should just try a new pattern for the heck of it, but yeah, refitting this one would be worth it.

      I agree with the sleeves – I honestly don’t think the jacket lost anything by having less poufy sleeves, and less wide godets. And the less-fullness made it definitely more practical to wear.


  2. bimbleandpimble October 15, 2014 at 7:35 pm #

    That fabric is so lush and the colour is gorgeous! I must admit I really like the silhouette in the first photo- the nipped in waist really makes it vavoom!


    • Tropical Threads October 15, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

      Isn’t it! I’m really happy I found that velvet. It’s so delish!

      Yup yup, it does look a lot better in that first one. I’ve even got Ideas as to how to achieve it too. Not bad huh?


  3. Josie Brady October 16, 2014 at 4:52 am #

    Lovely pics of you, obviously you enjoyed being with Kath. The velvet is luscious, as is the colour, but I think perhaps it could have done with interlining to give it a little more shape. However, that is just my opinion, and I am probably wrong.


    • Tropical Threads October 16, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

      Kath and I had a fantastic time together 🙂
      Interlining? I don’t think that thought passed my mind at all when I was making it. I am so used to trying to make things as lightweight and cool as possible I hardly ever interline. I do like how soft and cuddly it was. Not sure if interlining would have changed that or not. I guess it depends on what I’d used.

      I do agree it would look better with more shape for sure. I’m hoping refitting it in closer to my waist will help it look better. It can wait till before I go away next. It’s now WAY too hot to consider putting it on to try refitting it at the moment O_O


      • Fadanista October 22, 2014 at 6:18 pm #

        Your description of Hobart airport made me laugh. It’s a bit better, but not much. It does have a conveyor belt on it (complete with a seal statue), and the tin shed has been replaced with, er, a building, but you still have to walk across the tarmac in that biting wind. They are currently doing a big renovation, so it might improve a bit. I think your jacket is gorgeous, the colour and fabric is divine.


      • Tropical Threads October 23, 2014 at 6:35 pm #

        Hi Fadanista 🙂
        An actual building? Wow! And a conveyor belt? How modern. I’m not sure about the idea of a seal statue though…

        Thankyou re the jacket. The fabric is definitely the star of the show, in my opinion, too 🙂 I think I’ll be loving this jacket for years to come, just like I was trying to pull off 🙂


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