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Get the Look: Sew a Barn Jacket using the Chicago pattern

Get the Look: Sew a Barn Jacket using the Chicago pattern
Living in the Midwest, it isn't unusual to see men and women dressed in what are historically agricultural work clothes. Brands like Carhartt and LL Bean are ubiquitous, their boxy canvas shapes echoing the farms that dot the landscape. Today, bib overalls and fleece-lined barn jackets have walked off the fields and into high fashion. Starting in the mid-1990's, the workwear look started to infiltrate street fashion, and today, proletarian style abandoned the farms and factories to move to New York's 5th Avenue.

The barn jacket is a classic style whose relaxed lines and comfortable shape have made it a favorite for decades. Our Chicago Jacket has a similar stylistic feel though we have incorporated a number of refined details, including a curved waist seam and diagonal darted seams that continue into the pockets. The minutiae of design elements work together to create a truly sophisticated style.

Workwear came into fashion during WWII when women took over many of the jobs in factories and farms while men fought overseas. The taste for this style of clothes didn't go away after the war, but stuck around as activewear. In the 1950's, teenagers, spurred on by the designs from Pendleton, co-opted the look to wear with their new denim jeans. Today, brands like Dior and Ralph Lauren show barn jackets on their runways, most recently in variations of distressed denim. 

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We have long known that denim is the way to go for the Chicago Jacket, which is why we created a Sew Confident! tutorial that explains how to make the garment with multiple denim fabrics. We especially love the patchwork detail along the center front.

​I was inspired to create a Chicago Jacket for my sister. I chose a beautiful cross-dyed (barn) red linen (which we also have in black, mint, yellow and grey). A cross-dyed fabric is woven with different colors of thread to create a fabric that almost changes color in different lighting. This particular linen is made with orange and black weft fibers woven through red warp fibers. It is a medium-weight, smooth linen, but I envisioned something a little more rumpled. So after sewing, I hand washed it and let it hang dry. See the finished Chicago below, as well as our selection of cross-dyed linens.

Zayn Shirt Sew-Along Part 7
Making the Florence Tunic in a knit.