achievement unlocked: horrifying velveteen Luffa jacket

I am going to share a fail project today, if for no other reason than to finally move it off my “to-be-blogged” list, where it’s been languishing for nearly a year.


This is the Luffa jacket from Waffle Patterns. This has technically been seen on the blog before. & GOOD GOD, it’s actually worse than I remembered.

I sewed this up last June, as a key element of my Patti Smith-inspired outfit. I have to admit something: those three pieces were each a lot of work individually, & they won me some free stuff in the Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern Month contest, but I never really wound up wearing any of them. All three are now bagged up, ready to hit the thrift store. The Archer shirt just wound up really not being a good shape on me in a fabric with so much structure (I think something drapier could still work, but I’d want to lengthen it just a touch), something about the jeans always bothered me (maybe the topstitching? It’s just really THERE, black thread on such a nice light gray twill), & the jacket…I just made a lot of mistakes with the jacket.

I don’t want to think about how much the fabric for this jacket cost. I mean, it’s not like I had to take out a loan or anything, but I definitely chose to sew this in some special fabrics. I used black velveteen, & because it was a Patti Smith-inspired look, I special ordered some lovely horse print satin from Spoonflower for the lining.


I still think the pattern is great. Waffle Patterns offers a lot of really unique patterns–especially coats & jackets–that challenge a sewer. They’re clever & well-drafted. But they also come in a somewhat limited size range. I was just a bit outside the top range of sizes, so I tried to make some adjustments to get the jacket to fit. I don’t remember all the details because it was sewn so long ago, but I definitely did a bit of a FBA & I tried to lengthen it a bit. But all I really succeeded in doing was pairing lovely fabric with a lovely pattern & turning it into a shitshow.


My face says it all.

The FBA worked great. The fit across the upper chest & bust was spot on. But something weird happened with the shoulders. They were just too damn tight, even though I have relatively narrow shoulders for my proportions. I believe I attempted to do a full upper arm adjustment with the sleeves, which are beautifully drafted & two-part. I definitely fucked that shit up big time. I think I messed up both the grainline (HOW? That’s like the easiest thing to not fuck up) & the sleeve cap. They fit, but they were NOT pretty. There was odd puckering & twisting. Great job, Ciara.

I also mentioned to MELT part of the sleeve cap on the lining.


My attempt at adding length was also a disaster. I think the primary thing that drew me to this pattern was that gorgeous rounded hem. So of course, I ruined it. I still don’t really know what I did wrong. I know I put the notches for attaching the facing/lining in the wrong places. I think the width that came with the FBA (I always leave the width an FBA creates at the waist because I need the space there too) & my slipshod attempt at adding length just distorted the curve too much, & I didn’t do enough to course-correct. It curves, but then it kind of plateaus out into a weird fin in the center. Which I artfully attempted to disguise in the above photo, to reasonably good effect. See how easy it is to lie on blogs? Go take another look at the horrifying reality in the first photo.


Welt pocket horror.

I didn’t understitch the facing, so the lapels won’t lie flat. Trying to make a welt pocket with satin, which frays like a motherfucker, is a headache in waiting. & then, the icing on the cake: I could not have done a worse job hand-stitching the lining to the hem. I overworked everything & the hem is all bubbly & pulls every which way. I did wear it a few times just to see if it was really as bad as I thought, & no one said anything like, “My eyes! MY EYES!” But I just felt uncomfortable wearing something so badly sewn. I put it in my mending pile, intending to re-stitch the lining & maybe even take apart the facing so it could be properly understitched. I just never got around to it. That’s a lot of work to put into a jacket, which was already a lot of work to begin with. I’m not a big jacket person to begin with.

I wish I’d gone with the Decades of Style Three’s A Charm jacket, which was my original plan. I think the silhouette is more true to the inspiration, & I’ve heard really good things about how it works on ladies with a little extra padding. I just fell in love with that damn curved hem & had to go with the Luffa instead. Maybe someday I’ll try it again. Maybe I had to fuck it up royally once & I’ll get it right next time. I will say that reflecting on what I like about the Luffa & what I fucked up in the course of sewing it has given me some inspiration for an overdress I’ve been planning to make (part of the summer capsule). So there’s my silver lining, I guess!


This photo is blurry, but you can see the wibbly-wobbliness of the hem, & the beginning of the house of horrors that is the fit across the upper back & shoulders. But you can also kind of see how I WANTED it to look, how it nips in at the waist & flares at the upper hip.

But of course, that’s just another example of angles & framing obscuring the horrific reality. Here’s how the back REALLY looks.


KILL IT WITH FIRE! That fucking COLLAR! Possibly the worst sewing I have ever done, & that includes way back in the day (like ten years ago) when I didn’t comprehend the importance of sewing with the presser foot down.

Anyway! I didn’t work on the capsule yesterday because I tried to be Party Mom & go on all kinds of adventures with Ramona before preschool. We did have fun, but she stepped in dog poop & wiped it off with her bare hand, so it was a mad scramble to the closest business where I could thoroughly scrub her hands (which was like eight blocks away!). & it was 90 degrees out, & I do not handle heat well. We were only out for two hours, but I spent the rest of the day in bed, trying to recover.

That night, Jared & I had the following conversation:
me: “I didn’t sew at all today.”
Jared: “Are you sad about that?”
me: “Yes.”
J: “Are you…sew sad?”
me: “That was pretty weak, dude.”
J: “Hmmm. I’m feeling a serge of annoyance coming from you.”


Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

2 thoughts on “achievement unlocked: horrifying velveteen Luffa jacket


    Thanks for sharing this – I really appreciate it when people share their fails too. It’s such a bummer when a fabric and a pattern you were excited about don’t work out, but it’s nice to know I’m not alone in that happening!

    1. Definitely not alone! I kind of like blogging my fails. I actually have another coming up shortly. It’s perfectly sewn, but just a fail of a garment. Helps me not take this sewing thing too seriously!

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