Saturday, June 25, 2016

The finished jacket

Exactly two weeks after I bought the fabric for the jacket, it’s finished. Probably a record for me. It was sort of typical story buying the fabric too. I went to a plant/gardening market with a friend, we both had seen a stall where we wanted to buy something for our respective gardens. In the same village, even the same street, where the market was, is also a fabric store. What does a sewing girl do? Of course, visit the fabric store (the friend is a non sewing friend, she remained outsideWinking smile. The shop is one of those very rare shops that don’t accept payment by card, only cash. I confess paying mostly by card, so my cash was limited and I had just enough to buy this fabric. The cash points at the bank were empty too, probably because of the market, so much more people than normally in that village. I ended the day with fabric and not the garden ornament I was planning to buy, as the stall owner also only accepted cash. Well, what’s more important? A picture that a friend sent last week says it all (she found it on Instagram, I don’t know the origin):

fabric shopping (1)






To conclude the posts on this jacket a few pictures on cutting the lining. I did not make seperate pattern pieces for the lining, but made a few adaptions. This is a way of working that is explained in many books. The book High fashion sewing secrets by Claire Shaeffer describes this very well.



The lining is cut the same length as the jacket without seam allowance. Quite a bit of space is added to center back, to create a pleat that will give you moving space.

A little extra is added at the upper part of the side seam and the bottom of the armhole. Also the sleeves get a little extra at the bottom. Do you notice the pins sticking out? That’s to alert myself that I must not cut at the edge of the pattern piece.

I removed the area of the back facing from the lining after tracing the line.
Because I added shoulder pads I removed a bit (half the shoulder pad height) from the shoulder seam, I folded that away, tapering to nothing Of course it would be good to make separate pattern pieces, but for a jacket that’s just for me and I’m making it this works.

I bagged the lining (completely stitched in by machine) and left an opening center back to be able to turn the jacket. After I found this method  when I returned to sewing for myself about 10 years ago I was surprised how easy that method is. I might take photos of that process next time.

That’s it for this jacket, quite a few steps, a lot of photos to share. Thank you for reading, the kind comments and have a very nice weekendSmile.

Friday, June 24, 2016


I had high hopes of finishing my jacket before Thursday, so that I could wear it to my sons' presentation on his bachelor thesis. It did not work out that way. But my son did fine and I’m a proud mum. It’s on such days that you realize time flies by so very, very fast.
It was not a good day to wear a jacket anyway. Warm and very high humidity after days of exceptional rain.
Where am I then with the jacket? The sleeves are inserted and it’s down to sewing the lining. 
The picture below shows the interfacing of the sleeves. At the upper part the pattern pieces are interfaced with a light weight fusible, the hem with a heavy weight fusible. I already did this when interfacing the body part, to do all the interfacing in one go. If you look closely you can see that I traced the essential points again (top of sleeve, end of seam) with carbon tracing paper.
After stitching I made long straight stitches to gather the top of the sleeve a bit.
The sleevecap I made as I did before, using a method that is described by Ann Rowley. This time I made some photos myself too.
A strip of batting fabric is used, about 20 centimeters long (8 inch) and 3.5 cm wide and pinned to the inside of the sleeve, with the edge of the batting to the edge of the seam allowance of the sleeve. For this jacket I used a thin batting, for a winter coat I would have used a bit thicker fabric.
The strip is stitched from the jacket side, just beside the existing stitch.
The batting is then folded over the seam and stitched in the ditch.

The protruding batting is cut away after this stitching.
I used thin, felt shoulderpads (the classic tailoring type) that I attached to the batting and at the end at the shoulder seam. In the photos below you can see the difference a shoulder pad makes. The effect differs with different fabrics. I’m not after the 80’s look with wide shoulders, but I like the look after adding a small shoulder pad
It might all be a bit much tailoring for a summer jacket, but it looks so much better. And it will wrinkle less too. I made a jacket years ago using quite a few of these techniques on a linen fabric. It’s been a much worn item in my closet, hardly wrinkles despite being linen and not showing any signs of wear either.

Browsing through my pictures to find this one was fun. So many clothes I had forgotten about (blush). This was from 2010! Yes, time flies….

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Center front zipper installed

I can’t show you pictures of the zipper insertion at center front. It was difficult to make clear photos because the zipper is in between two layers of fabric and I stopped making them. Only the result to show:


As you will have seen the center front of the jacket was interfaced with an extra strip of interfacing. When installing a zipper this is extra important, when your fabric stretches you will get ripples or a “wavy” zipper.

For this jacket the front and back facing was sewn together. The zipper was basted to the front exactly between the marks for it. I had adjusted the pattern to the closest default zipper length available so that I didn’t have to shorten or order a special length.

Then the facing and jacket were pinned, right sides together. For the zipper part I used the zipper foot as you’ve seen in the installing of the pockets. For the remaining parts of the seams I used my normal foot. The facing of the side panel hem still has to be attached and for that reason I left a few centimeters open at the hem.

Vicky asked “When you say you do both at the same time - do you do one step on one pocket and then the same step on the other pocket? Or do one full pocket and then the other, but in the same sewing session?”  The answer is the first option: in this case one step on one pocket and then on the other pocket. It helps to do exactly the same on both sides of a garment, but also reduces changes in a foot on your machine, different thread if needed and I don’t have to remember a stitch length setting (for topstitching).

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Zipper and pocket insertion

The next step is inserting the zipper and the pocket. There are other ways of doing this, but this is what works for me. I did not make pattern pieces for the pocket, I seldom do for jacket pockets and go with pieces of fabric that are large enough and cut them in shape during the process.

First step was basting the zipper into the window and stitch at the edges to sew the zipper in.



The zipper after stitching and removing the basting threads.


How it looks on the inside.


For the part of the pocket that is attached to the lower zipper tape (never visible) I chose a cotton fabric that I sewed onto the zipper tape.



Pressed downward


The fabric that is attached to the top zipper tape is the fashion fabric, it will be visible when opening the zipper.


Now I pinned the pocket lines to the two rectangles of fabric


Stitched, cut in shape and the edges zigzagged


A peek into the pocket. The fabric of the inner pocket is nog on the same grain as the jacket itself. To me that is of no importance, the pocket will not be open normally and it only serves the impression you get of the same fabric when you do open the pocket. For once I just don’t mind.


With so many pictures this might look as a lot of work, but actually it isn’t complicated and it took me 45 minutes (looking at the time of the first photo and the last).

One tip if you do this: work both pockets at the same time. Don’t do the first one and then the other. It will make sure both pockets/zippers are as identical as they can be. I always try to do that when there’s more than one of the same thing to sew (sleeves, cups for a bra, shoulder straps etc.)

Friday, June 17, 2016

Pocket window

The other night I looked at the front panels that were pinned to the dressform and thought something is not quite right with the pocket placement. I had traced a line on a diagonal but when I saw the basting lines I decided I wanted them to be higher center front and lower at the side. Luckily it was not too late to change it. I removed the extra layer of interfacing for the pocket carefully and added a new piece.

I’m using a technique that makes a ‘window’ for the zipper. The perfect fabric to use for the window is silk organza, as it’s thin but sturdy and super bonus is that you can see through it. I couldn’t live without a silk organza press cloth any more for that reason.

A rectangle sufficiently wide and long is cut and placed on the right side of the fabric. As I want this to look very good (it’s an eyecatcher of this jacket) I baste a lot at this stage. The outer basting stitches are not the stitch lines, just basting lines to keep the organza in place while stitching.


I stitched on both sides of the center basting line (above picture), making very short stitches at the corner. The center basting line was already removed in the picture below and you can see the remnants of the interfacing for the first pocket placement.



With sharp scissors the opening is cut, with long triangles at the end. Cutting exactly to the corner, but not in the stitchline!
Perhaps you can see the pink chalk mark that I made for the stitching line. The width was not decided by eyeballing it but by measuring and making a sample.



The silk organza is folded to the inside, favouring the jacket fabric a little so that the organza is not visible from the right side.


And again: pressed and basted in place.


Ready for zipper and pocket insertion.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Interfacing the body–part 2

First and foremost, thank you so much for all the comments indicating that a lot of my readers like to see the details of construction. The teacher in me likes to share and document the process, but if it’s not of interest to anyone I’d better use my time sewing Winking smile. I have my times in and out of blogging, which I now regard as something natural. In the early years of blogging I used to feel I “had” to post. That feeling has gone, it’s one of the things I do and like doing very much, but there are times it’s just not a priority and I’m fine with that too.

Onwards to the jacket. I’ve added extra interfacing at the point where the pockets are to be set in and  added a strip to the neckline and center front. (the seam needs an extra pressing)


I know this pattern fits and I’ve added 1cm (3/8 inch) seam allowances. After applying the interfacing I marked a few crucial spots with carbon tracing paper: start/finish of front zipper insertion, waistline and of course the pocket line. The last one was hardly visible after applying the extra layer of interfacing and I traced it with a pencil and basted the line so it’s visible it at the front.


The tape I used at the neckline and center front is “off grain tape”. I bought this in the UK at the English Couture Company when I did a class there. It’s exactly what it says, off grain, not on the bias. It means it has a little stretch, perfect for a slight curve but also giving stability on the straight parts. It’s also very easy to replace it with a strip of interfacing that’s on grain, which is what Alison Smith does in her Craftsy class. Then you just clip the tape where needed. I’ll probably do that on my next jacket, as this was the last I had.


In her Craftsy class Alison Smith also uses the strip of interfacing at the shoulder seam and armhole. I won’t do that in this jacket probably (still debating).

LindaC asked which fabric this is. I don’t know the exact content of it. It was the last bit on the bolt and it didn’t mention the content. I thought it had a bit of silk in it but the shop owner said it was viscose (rayon) with some other fiber. Whatever it is, it has a lovely texture and shine and is easy to work with.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

My favorite type of garment to sew

Jackets are the type of garment I love to sew most. By far. I love the whole process of planning, cutting, interfacing and construction. In general it’s a time consuming process, but cut in several stages it’s very manageable.

The inspiration for my next jacket was one I saw in a television broadcast. I tried to find a picture but could not find it. It is a jacket with V-neckline, 3/4 length sleeves, a zipper center front and also the pockets will have a zipper. In the category jackets it’s relatively easy (compared to a notched collar for example)

The first step was to draft the pattern. I based the pattern on the jacket I made last year and made a quick muslin of the body because I wanted to be sure the V was drafted correctly. With a deeper V-neckline the pattern has to be adjusted to make sure there is no gaping.


No need to be worried, the fit is good. I didn’t muslin the sleeves, I know they are ok because they are exactly the same as in the other jacket. Only difference is the 3/4 length on this summer jacket.

A detail shot of the fabric used.


Front pieces have been assembled. I’m waiting for the zippers to arrive, then I can construct the pockets.


A peek on the wrong side. All pieces for the body were interfaced with a light weight interfacing. The upper part of the back is interfaced with a more heavy weight interfacing.


The front has a so called shoulder placket. This is made in two layers, as instructed by Alison Smith in her Craftsy class Structure & Shape. A course (and the total series) I heartily recommend when you’re interested in jacket construction.

The first layer is hair canvas, cut on the bias.


This is attached with fusible interfacing which extends at the shoulder and armhole. In this way the canvas is attached, but still moving freely at the bottom.


Next step is a strip of interfacing at the edge.

Do you like to read this detailed information? In the discussion about blogging versus instagram/facebook etc. that is going on now I’m definitely in the “I keep with blogging” camp, having neither an instagram or facebook account, so I don’t even know what I’m missing.
I’m wondering though whether it’s still interesting to read the detailed posts about construction. Would you prefer to only see the finished garment?