UrbanMill: The Urmston Jacket

This last module has been top secret — until now. It was our business studies module. Alice, Charlie and I were  a team. We had to make a business, but the focus was really on the product. Due to a mix up with the dates I missed the first day and went to work at Wayside Flower (second work placement), but at least I wasn’t wasting a day. While I was absent, Charlie and Alice decided to do menswear. They researched our consumer and decided that we would do a jacket that transformed. Originally it was to change from a casual jacket to one you could wear to work, but we ended up with a jacket that turned into a bag. The first design was quite complicated, and I still don’t really see how it would work (it worked in Charlie’s head), but Alice came up with a simpler one, which we stuck with.

We each had a department: I was production and pattern cutting, Alice was branding and marketing, Charlie was business. These overlapped so I drew a Venn diagram on Photoshop :D.

Venn Diagram

By the time Alice came up with the simpler idea I had only drafted and made the basic block. I used the tailored jacket block from Metric Pattern Cutting for Menswear, but changed the waist darting because I don’t like the way the side-back seam never trues. From there I drafted the design toile. When I had mostly sewn that we a guy from the 3D design class was volunteered to come and be a fit model. He didn’t match our target customer who was tall, but as the jacket was too short on this guy, it was quite evident that it had to be lengthened. (The pictures are of the jacket on the mannequin rather than on the boy because it would embarrass the poor lad even more, and he was already quite shy and uncomfortable, bless him.)

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That round shape is less noticeable on the final jacket — calico shows everything!
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As a bag

For the final jacket Charlie dyed and sanded cotton fabric, and I found some breathable, washable lining fabric from Pennine Outdoors.

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With all the grommets and snaps there was a whole lot of banging going on. The 3D tutor came to our studio and asked if we were preparing meat (he likes his food). I enjoyed it. 🙂

Had I been able to do it all at home or if we had had a zip foot and a top-stitch needle for the industrials at college the zip would have been neater and top-stitched. If I were to do another jacket like this, a version 2, I would use a gusseted hood and find a way of dealing with the straps on the sleeves. The latter where hand-stitched on because a. I didn’t know how long they would have to be, and b. the domestic machine at college refused to stitch through that many layers of fabric.

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You may notice the branded logo. It is literally branded (I hate the word “literally”, don’t you? But I mean it.) Charlie got some leather and used her Dad’s soldering iron to write Urban Mill on it. She did the same for the box, but I didn’t think to get a photo of our branded things.

On Tuesday we went to do a business presentation at Red Carpet, a boutique in Hull that sells one-offs and student work. We didn’t have to do much (I especially hadn’t much to say because I was production and there wasn’t much to say to a buyer), because as soon as she saw it she liked it. 🙂 Alice was so relieved when it was over that she gave Charlie and me a hug! That was the end of our day so we went to a café and shopping before Alice gave me a lift home and instructed me to have at least an hour’s break before I get back into my Final Major Project. I took the whole evening off, kind of.

It went quite well all-in-all and I am pleased with the jacket. Alice and Charlie were even more delighted with it. Alice kept getting excited about it.

Now we’re onto our FMP (final major projects) and then we will be finished with the course. I’m so sad to be leaving them when I go to university to do my top-up year (well, two years) in August-September. In a way I wish I were staying at Bishop Burton with them, but I want to learn Digital pattern cutting and equipment so I have to go somewhere with those facilities (I have offers from York College, Falmouth University and the UCA in Rochester so far). Sigh. At least I have the next few months, and we’ll keep in touch afterwards.

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