This is the first jacket I’ve made in a looooong time–several years…it was a fun project, if a little frustrating.
I wanted to make a jacket like the navy cotton Phillip Lim 3.1 I showed you in Fall Wardrobe ’08-Part 3, only I wanted it in corduroy instead of cotton. As we all know, sewing patterns leave a lot to be desired, and the design selection gets smaller every year. I find this to be especially true for tailored jackets, maybe because fewer people dive into tailoring.
Over the years I’ve become pretty fearless about chopping-up patterns and redesigning them to suit my fancy, but messing with a tailored jacket pattern made me take pause. I couldn’t find a pattern similar to the jacket I wanted to make–cropped with a small collar and lapel and a high roll line, so I took a deep breath and started with Michael Kors Vogue 2986, a nice looking basic jacket pattern, with a narrow lapel.
I’m pretty happy with the results. I shortened the jacket about 2″ and raised the roll line about 1″. I added welt pockets with a tab (I’m so excited about the welt pocket method I learned at Fashion Incubator). I used 5 small buttons that look like pewter to give the jacket a Tyrolean look. I’m less than happy with some the inside construction techniques I chose (outlined below).
The only sewing class I’ve ever taken was a Tailoring class at the University of Illinois, many years ago. I made a gray flannel 3 piece suit and by the time I finished it, it looked like a rag you’d wash your car with. All that pad stitching! I spent so many hours handling that fabric that it was worn out by the time it was finished.
Luckily, years later I discovered the book Easy, Easier, Easiest Tailoring, by Patti Palmer and Susan Plesch. I love this book and combine the three methods outlined that suit my finished project. I think tailoring with fusibles looks appropriate today because that’s what we see in Ready-to-Wear.
Here are my inner construction tips:
1. I fused all the jacket pieces with Easy Knit interfacing. I do this on most jackets; it adds stability to the fashion fabric and hides hand stitching and additional interfacing. (I would never attempt this time consuming step without my Singer Steam Press–I love it!) I had a little problem this time as the interfacing “creeped” during construction, forming ripples on the right side. When I did the final press, I ironed the hell out of it (with press cloth) with satisfactory results.
2. I interfaced the collar stands, sleeve hems and hem with Aromo Weft (fusible hair canvas)-big mistake. It’s too stiff and overpowers the softness of the jacket. I should’ve used something like Suit Shaper which has a softer hand. Live and learn.
3. I used a sleeve head (click here for instructions from The Sewing Divas) and light shoulder pads to shape the shoulder. Using sleeve heads creates a nice, smooth rounded seam.
4. I always construct the lapel/collar using the Kwik Sew method, I referred to Kwik Sew 2398. You construct the collar and give it a good pressing, then sew the front facings to the fronts, then sew the collar to the jacket and lining. I’ve never gotten good results using method used by the U.S. pattern companies.
5. If I ever invest in an expensive industrial sewing machine, it will be a buttonhole machine. I’m not happy with the keyhole buttonholes on home sewing machines, but I love the corded look of buttonholes on RTW. To try to duplicate the look, I sew the button hole twice, first with a small stitch length and secondly with a wider stitch length. They look okay.
All in all I’m happy with the way the jacket turned out and it broke the ice for future jacket projects. Now I won’t be so afraid of tweaking the design of jacket patterns.
I’ll wear my jacket with my new Gap black straight leg jeans (love gap jeans: good price, not too low cut, very current looking), a striped cotton shirt (also from the Gap and bought for $12) and my new Cole Haan black suede skimmers-not bad for an old lady!
Ta-ta for now!