22 May 2013

Tailored Jacket Update

Before I started on my pattern alterations for this jacket, my plans were almost over before they began.

I don't often use commercial patterns anymore, and so when working out how much fabric I need when sewing fabric from my stash, I usually pick the fabric I'm going to sew first, and use gut feel and hope for the best when I've finished making the pattern. This time, I checked the back of the pattern envelope, and the requirement for my jacket was 2.4 m of 150 cm wide fabric. Now, I know commercial patterns have a tendency to overstate how much fabric you require, but I only have 2 metres of fabric (150 cm wide), and my plans for the pattern included making it bigger, hence using more fabric, not less.

The Fabric
As it turns out, the situation wasn't as bad as I thought. I tried my old jacket on again, and the fit isn't really that bad. Maybe if I was wearing a jumper underneath it, but, let's face it, it doesn't really get that cold in Sydney. I also decided to make my new jacket shorter, so there's about 20 cm saved already!

On to the alterations that I made to the pattern:
  • Added in a box pleat below the waist at the centre back
  • Added sleeve vents
  • Added a buttoned 'belt' across the centre back section at waistline
  • Reduced the seam allowances to 10 mm from the 15 mm included in the pattern (which is what I normally work with when making my own patterns). At the side seams I left the allowances as they were, to increase the overall width of the jacket by 2 cm. I also allowed extra from the waist line up on all pieces, to give a bit of extra ease. I allowed an extra 1 cm in the sleeves also.
  • Reduced the collar pieces down a bit.
Whew! That all took a bit of effort! Remind me again why I wanted to start with an existing pattern instead of making one from scratch.

I tackled the pattern alterations last week, and managed to cut the fabric out at the start of this week. I even  have about 10 cm of fabric to spare. Helping your kids with jigsaw puzzles has some benefits after all!

The Pattern Layout
In keeping with my goals of using up stash fabric (and other things lying around my studio), I looked around to see what interfacings I had that might be suitable for a tailored jacket. Thankfully I had some samples of various types of interfacing lying around, so I chose Vilene Liteweft to interface collar pieces, facings, hems etc. Since I took this photo of the interfaced pieces I also added interfacing to the lapel and front shoulder of the centre front piece.

Vilene Liteweft
Interfaced pieces
I was just about to start sewing the underlining to the main fabric pieces, when some fabric across the room caught my eye. I noticed some lace fabric, complete with lining, that my husband bought for me in Vietnam last year. I didn't have any lining for this jacket yet, and thought briefly about just using this lining. But then I would be left with lace that had nothing to go under it. 

I have seen a few beautiful coats recently with lace overlays. Sewaholic's blog features a few versions of the Robson Coat done with lace, and let's face it, they look Awesome! Needless to say, my attempts at sewing came to a standstill to consider whether or not to use the lace, and ditch the heavy calico underlining that I had already cut out. The colour goes beautifully and adds some life to the fabric that I was already using, but then the lace will be gone and I won't be able to make something else with it (but I will have used up more stash fabric!!)

My original fabric with the lace and lining
You'll have to wait until the next update on this jacket to see what I end up doing (I'm still not 100% certain myself!)


  1. I feel exhausted just reading this! looking forward to the next installment

    1. And I haven't even started sewing it yet! This is only the beginning. Hang in there, we've still got a long way to go.