Wednesday, July 13, 2022

The Autumn Jacket Done!

And here we are, my friends, I've finally finished this leather jacket, having illustrated it to within an inch of its life! 
I chose to create an outfit based around the jacket and wear it myself, as Autumn of Witchcrafted Life has expressed her desire not to model it. I'm completely fine with that and respect her wishes. Not everyone likes their picture splashed all over the interwebz.

  • Leather jacket - Cigno Nero, consignment; last worn here (4th outfit) over my birthday weekend in October 2021
  • Shirt - Ann Taylor, consignment; last seen here in April, layered under lavender
  • Trousers - Long Tall Sally, consignment; last worn here in May with my vintage haori
  • Shoes - Big Presence Desmond, Fluevog, consignment; last seen here in February with a long grey vest

Once my "babies" leave home, I no longer have a say in what happens to them! 
Anyway, onto the outfit! 

I decided to keep most of the underlayers pretty simple, with a menswear-inspired look, complete with a tie. 
I completely adore these orange Boss Lady trousers. 

The design on the jacket is not as bold as my previous ones. Due to the dark grey of the leather, the designs don't really show up unless you're in bright light.
I showed it co-tenant Emily this in the morning, and she nearly fell out of her chair with astonishment.

Jacket off.
I never took it off, though. 

Zipped up. 
I only wore this jacket twice before putting it in the giveaway pile. It just didn't excite me to wear it.

It's always been a little snug on me. 
Over time, leather stretches out to fit its owner, so Autumn will get that pleasure. 

Masked up: 
Snakeskin, to match my shoes. 

I wore two new-to-me items, including this scarf. 

I love the swirly pattern. 

  • Silk scarf - vintage 60s, La Dear, consignment; purchased here for $24.00
  • Mask - by Mom

The stuff:
I liked these snakeskin shoes with the outfit. 

Simple bling: 
The leather tie is one I picked up on a thrifting trip at WIN for $1.95 and gave to L for his birthday. He didn't like it, so I kept it for myself. I looked up the CA number, which was on a small paper tag - this was made in Canada - and it was sold at the Tie Rack, a former UK chain (all stores closed in 2013) that had stores in every mall in Canada - I certainly remember them being ubiquitous! I'm sure this leather skinny tie is from the mid-80s.

  • Tie - Tie Rack, vintage 80s, thrifted; purchased here (not shown) for $1.95
  • Belt - B-Low the Belt, thrifted
  • Earrings - gift from Lise
  • Silver/crystal ring - Soul Flower
  • Shield ring - Nine West

I realized today that this belt is not by Below the Belt (a mall chain), but B-Low the Belt, a different company altogether! This leather/studded belt is called the Barcelona Belt (as worn by Kendall Jenner in 2015), and would have retailed between $172-215.00. And to think I found it for $6.95!!

Okay, you ready? You might want to grab a refreshment...

Autumn Jacket Art Project - The Lower Back, Front and Sleeves - Finished! 

Well, that took a long time! My last update on the Autumn Jacket was here back in April - my sincere apologies to Autumn of Witchcrafted Life, as this took for-freakin'-EVER to finish. What can I say? I was working on it regularly, but with life somewhat returning to normal, I had less time. But enough excuses! It's done! 

We went from this: 
Blerg, what a boring coat. 

To this...
There will be close-ups below. 

And from this...
*snore* this!
And while this jacket isn't as in-your-face bright/bold as previous jackets, it still took a lot of work and has loads of detail. 

Here's where I was when we last left off, here, back in April.  

The Lower Back
The leaves on the bottom of the back of the jacket had been drawn in in black marker, and I was starting to add the internal veins. 

Once I'd done all the leaves, I added the "ground lines" for webs. 
And a spider, which you can see in the lower left. 

I added a few spiders here and there. The whole design is meant to look like the spiders are keeping the leaves from falling...hence "Eternally Autumn."
At least one of the spiders somewhere on the jacket has too many legs, hee hee - that wasn't on purpose! And I can't remember which one...

I drew in the webs lightly, then started going over them. 
Thickening the lines, and darkening it all up. 

Adding another spider. 
I liked giving them a little personality. 

This is a web that's been darkened up.
No hard corners, all rounded and thickened to give it visual weight. I wanted the webs to look sticky.

Once all the webs were done, I added colour to the leaves. This helps the webs stand out - otherwise it's too much black.
I experimented with a couple of different colourways - this is a "green" one. 

A full look at the back. 
Yeah, I know it's hard to see - the leather has a shiny finish that's exacerbated by the paint-pens. 

The colour on the leaves works well with the "Eternally Autumn" on the top half.
I like that many people might not realize how heavily decorated this coat is, until they get up close.

I tried a red leaf next. 
Ooh, I like that. 

Another! You can really see how the webs suddenly appear between the colourful leaves.
I used around 4-5 different colours per leaf. 

The pens blend like paint - the colour is all alcohol-based, so there is no smudging and it doesn't wipe off with water.
I love the colours fading into one another. 

Bottom's done! 
I kept trying to find areas on the deck that would show the design best. 

A close-up of the finished bottom. 
I am happy with how that turned out. 

The Front Panels

The jacket slightly overlaps on the front with a zipper. I had to plan around that to ensure that no matter how the jacket is worn, it looks nice.
Plotting where I want webs and leaves. 

I tried it on several times (no webs or leaves on the boobs!) to make sure the placement would be both natural on the body and flattering on the wearer. 
I just put dots where I thought leaves should go, and then drew the 5 lines out from the centre. A coloured leaf is on either side of the waist to make the waist look nipped-in. 

And then I added webs, drawn in roughly, along the V of the front, almost like web lapels.
I made sure that both sides were evenly balanced (but not too perfect). 

This is the lower front.
I incorporated the pocket seams as anchor points for the webs. 

And I ensured that the front would carry around and connect to the back, which involved adding a few more webs.
Klassy toes. 

The back of the jacket is scrunched up in the middle here, so it can't be seen. 
This was the easiest way to make sure the two panels were symmetrical. It also shows you how much I handle the garment! So much smooshing around. 

A bit of a time-jump here - I've darkened up all the webbing and leaves. I zipped it up to make sure it worked that way too. 
Oops, I realized that I hadn't carried the design across the zipper flap, so I made some adjustments. 

There, that's better. Now, if it's worn done up, the design will link to the other side.
It's balanced, but not mirrored. 

The Sleeves

Instead of leaping into the colour, I decided to quickly do the sleeves. 
I chose to do only one leaf on each sleeve, at the top of the cuff. When wearing the jacket, the leaves are right on the wrists, so Autumn can look at them (I know I like looking at them!).

I put spiderwebs where the elbows are, as a nod to elbow tattoos, which are common in the tattoo world.
No elbow tattoos for me - tattooists call it the "swell-bow" as it really puffs up alarmingly. L has one tattooed elbow, and "no way" is he getting the other done (it really hurts). 

Anyway, it amuses me to have webs on the elbows. I want Autumn to feel like a badass when she wears this! 
Both sleeves also have a crawling spider on the forearms. If you put your hands together (in "prayer" hands, for example), the spiders looking they they are crawling towards each other.

My furry assistant sat with me this past weekend for the final colouring. 
"I'm moral support."

I've got my drink, my bag of pens (I bag up all my current project's printed clip-art and pens, to keep them together) and I'm ready to get this coloured. 

As I knew I'd forget what I did on the lower back leaves, I draw myself "maps" with the colour numbers (from the pens themselves). Red leaves use 856, 905, 925 and 985. Green leaves use 249, 177 and 026, with just a touch of 925.
All the scribbles are from wiping the other colours and the black off the brush tips of the pens - the alcohol in them melts the previous colour. I don't want to smear black or a darker shade around, so I mark up my paper to clean the brush tip.

Vizzini decided that my lap was the place to be. 
"I must smell this suspicious object."

I was colouring the leaves on one of the cuffs. 

He walked right across me, little bugger.
"What's in there?"

Although I did carry a bit of the leaves around to the underside of the cuffs, those are not the "secret" element in this design. My trademark is a secret...something! each Art Project.
"Hello!" says the Secret Spider. He's inside the right-hand pocket, near the bottom.

And here we are, all done. 
Due to the size, I probably put about 60 hours of work into this over the past 3.5 months. 

As previously noted, it's a very dark leather, so it's hard to make out a lot of the detail.
But I like the subtlety of it when it's on. 

It invites a closer look. 
I hope Autumn likes it! 

It's been signed on the inside label.
By me! "The Autumn Jacket" - Sheila [last name], July 2022. 

As with all of my Art Projects, this will be added to my Art Projects tab (here) at the top of the blog page. 

And what is up next? Another present for a long-time blog-friend! 


  1. This is amazing, Sheila! Autumn is receiving a masterpiece created especially for her. I love the colors and the blending and the webs and the's absolutely amazing! I have missed your has been up and down here...but I hope to be regularly commenting! Love the tie...I do think that may have been a chain here in the US, too. It seems I bought my husband a tie or two or ten there!

    1. Lovely to see you again, Marsha! Thank you so much. Yes, there were loads of Tie Racks around in the 80s/90s - it wouldn't surprise me if they were in the US too.

  2. Wonderful to finally see this! Definitely a work if art!

    My flower sleeve goes over the elbow and it was not fun! The needle vibrated against the bone painfully! The inner elbow was the worst though as the skin kept sticking together when I bent my elbow during healing! Never again!

    1. Thanks, Laura! Oh, zoiks, that does sound painful. L had the same thing happen with his inside elbow (the tattooists call that "the ditch"). Ouch!

  3. The jacket turned out beautiful . Love these bright pants on you.

  4. Wow, that's so special! What a hard work! I love the tie! Always have loved that, I wore them a lot when I was 16,17! Still have one, but don't wear it that often. I should!

    1. Thanks, Nancy! I love wearing ties too - I also wore them regularly when I was that age.

  5. Hours and hours but now truly one of a kind. I'm sure Autumn is thrilled.

  6. Wow, the intricacy of the design is quite impressive. The subtlety of the pattern and colors on the darker grey lures the onlooker in for a closer appraisal, and I suspect the onlooker will then gush with surprise much the way your neighbor Emily (and I) did. :-)

    Hoping you don't mind my using this space to comment on prior posts. With a gloriously full house of family I always make time to read your posts but it's a tad more difficult to also comment!

    I was pleasantly surprised at how much I admired the Coral Belle dress, and am certain it has to do with how you styled it (necklace and shoes, in particular) and how well it drapes on you. The style is definitely not my taste but that is irrelevant as it looks lovely on you!

    Yeehah for a rocking weekend! And yeehah for your two jammy dresses! Not sure if I already wrote in another comment, but this past weekend I took my almost 10 year old granddaughter to see the American Ballet Theatre dance at the MET at Lincoln Center; her first time seeing a professional ballet company! It was magical for both of us, and I felt safe and comfortable thanks to the MET being fastidious about checking vaccination records and requiring masks.

    Hi Sheila's Mom! I hope that you are rested up and reenergized!
    Cheers to you both, Laurie

    1. Thanks so much, Laurie! It's fun to wear in person because it is more subtle and you don't quite realize what you're seeing right away.

      No, not an issue at all! Lovely to have this nice big comment, thank you!

      It's a cool dress - it surprised me when I first tried it on, such an unusual shape!

      I love my jammy dresses! Oh, that sounds amazing, what a fun outing for you and your granddaughter! I did live theatre with my mom starting around that age, and fell in love with the specialness of such an "adult" event. Glad they were safe with masks.

      She's doing great, thank you!

  7. Another masterpiece. BTW we need to talk. I'll e-mail you.

  8. Wow, isn't Autumn's jacket another stunner! I'm in awe of all the details you incorporated, including the secret spider!
    And you couldn't have created a better outfit to show it off before it's going its separate way.
    Love, love, love the orange boss lady trousers, and the belt, swirly scarf and snake print shoes and mask are absolutely perfect with them! xxx

    1. Thanks, Ann! I was very pleased with the outfit too.

  9. Replies
    1. Oh yes, Vizzini is very much interested in all the things I do!

  10. I absolutely hate spiders bit I love this jacket - it's just so well decorated Sheila, I love how thoughtful you were with it to make it all match up. I can't believe it only took you 60 hours, it's a true work of art and I thought it would have added up to a lot more time to get it looking so stunning. I like the outfit you wore with it too, your friend is going to love that jacket!

  11. Such a wonderful design, a work of art!. I admire your attention to detail, the delicacy of the design and the evocative style!, love those leaves!
    Great styling of the jacket too!, looking fab in Red!

  12. Just one word: AWESOME. As well the jacket itself as the outfit you created with it.
    You could never have created this jacket for me. Spiders.....Nevertheless, I can see the awesomeness of the art.

    1. Aw, thank you so much, Greetje! Ha - if you ever want me to create anything for you, I'll take requests (no spiders).


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