Clothing is one of the most needlessly expensive necessities of life. A designer jacket can cost more than $200, even though you could build one yourself. Pattern and materials combined, making your own jacket can cost as low as $20. Not only is making your own jacket cheap, it is one-of-a-kind and personal. You can control how heavy the jacket's fabric is and decorative elements such as the buttons or patches. Even if you have the money for designer brands, sewing is a skill worth developing.
Purchase a pattern. A pattern is the blueprint for your jacket and usually costs about $5. Patterns range in difficulty and are marked as such on the packaging. For your first project, go with a simple pattern. They are available online or at an arts and crafts store. There are even websites dedicated to making free generic style patterns available to anyone.
Choose and purchase an appropriate fabric for your jacket. Most jackets consist of a sturdy material such as corduroy or denim -- designed to hold up against the elements and wear-and-tear. Some jackets are purely decorative, consisting of a light cotton or polyester. Your choice of material will determine how you will use the jacket. It is also your biggest cost, so check discount bins or online discount suppliers for materials you like.
Choose a liner material that feels most comfortable against your skin, such as a cotton or linen. Depending on what your pattern calls for, you may not need a liner. If you do need one, aim for a light fabric that breathes and is washable. Choosing washable materials is another way to keep costs down, because you want to limit expensive trips to the dry cleaner.
Cut the pattern out from its paper packaging. The pattern is probably made of wax paper. Pin the pattern to the material and trace it onto the material. Cut the material to match the pattern. Most likely you will be cutting out two versions of the same pattern -- one of the exterior and another for the lining.
Sew the liner to the outside material. Take all of the various pieces and sew in the lining. Be sure to keep everything straight and trim off any excess material.
Pin the pieces together to make a loose version of the jacket. Using clothing pins, attach the various parts of the jacket together. You should have about seven pieces depending on if you have decided to use a hood or not.
Sew the jacket together. First sew the arms to the body of the jacket. Next sew the hood. This will complete the jacket.
Add extras. If you want pockets, zippers or buttons, now is the time to add them. You can also add patches and other material to customize the jacket to your taste.
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Noah Miller is a screenwriter and filmmaker in Los Angeles. He has been writing for more than 10 years and holds a master's degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute. Miller has also worked as a writer and editor for several publications, both fiction and nonfiction.