Saturday, January 28, 2012

Winter Wool jacket progress

Yesterday the temperature in my part of the world was around 72ºF with plenty of sunshine and people walking around in shorts.  OK, I can probably see someone in shorts here 365 days of the year, even when it is in the 40's. But it is January, which should be the season for hibernating, wearing my cozy winter sweaters, and looking longingly at gardening catalogs.  But not this year, the January without winter.  So either we will have a excessively rainy spring or jump straight into hot summer with too little water in the reservoirs.  Which is a long way of saying that I am trying to speedily sew my winter wool jacket so I can actually wear it this season. This is a Vogue Anne Klein pattern V2853 from 2005 which is a great pattern and goes well with some tailoring techniques.

This weekend I hope to sew together all the components.  I like to make jackets in units, a system which I am sure I have seen in some sewing books.  
grey jacket collar stitched on
I tend to sew a jacket using my own mental checklist, no matter what the instructions say. Here is my order of tasks for making a lined jacket.  First step, of course is cutting out the fabric.  
  • Mark tailor's tacks on all pieces, chalk mark wrong side of fabrics
  • Apply interfacings
  • Jacket fronts - finish welt pockets, bound buttonholes if needed
  • Jacket back, sew seams and apply upper back shoulder stay
  • Shoulder seams, sew fronts to back
  • Attach under-collar, trim and tack down seam allowances
  • Sew and press sleeves, set aside, sometimes stay tape on this seam
  • Cut out lining - using pattern pieces now removed from fabric
  • Attach upper collar to upper lapel, trim and catch-stitch down seam allowances
  • Sew collar and lapels together, press and turn
  • sew side seams
  • attach sleeves, with sleeve head and shoulder pads if required
  • sew lining pieces together
  • sew in lining, by machine or by hand
  • jacket hem, lining hem
  • tack lining down at shoulder seams
  • machine buttonholes and buttons
  • hem sleeves and sleeve lining
  • final pressing!
Did I miss anything?  whew, it does seem like a lot of steps, but a lined tailored jacket has a lot of components, inside and out. The reason I do the jacket in this order is mostly to be able to work "in the flat", possibly one of my made-up technical terms? But I like to be able to sew the collar/lapel and then do that pressing without the side seams sewn up, which restricts the way I can move the jacket over my ironing board and tailor's ham. Just so much easier.  If you are interested in tailoring or just want to make a jacket using a great method, I recommend Sherry's Ready-To-Wear Tailoring Sew Along, on her fantastic blog, Pattern-Scissors-Cloth.  She is a great instructor, and I really appreciate her analysis of fitting and the fixes to apply. 
Here the jacket back with undercollar, so you can see the way I have tacked down that seam using a catch-stitch, which is a hand stitch that uses an X pattern to keep the seam allowances flat.  I used turquoise silk thread, so you can see it better plus it is fun to sew with a bright color that will later be hidden. You can also see the back stay which is cotton and I cut out on the fold using that back pattern piece. I find the back stay makes the upper back nice and smooth, so if there are any shoulder pads they disappear under the fabrics.  This pattern calls for shoulder pads, and I think they work well in a tailored jacket, to help it hang on the body better and support the jacket weight. Also the sleeves look very good on a well-designed jacket pattern with shoulder pads.
Grey jacket cross-stitch inner collar
The woven interfacing is cut on the bias on the undercollar, same as the fabric, however I did add a crossgrain piece which you may be able to see in the photo, at the lower part of the collar.  If I had used hand-stitched hair canvas for the interfacing that is where the extra shaping would be, to give the collar a roll line and structure.  Time now for a brief rant on patterns, which never include the roll line on collars. If you look at this post from last year on my black wool coat, I had a little rant on this topic and showed the roll line I created. 
Even though I love this grey fabric I need some pop of color somewhere, so I put a line of bright blue piping inside. I cut a bias strip 1.75" wide, folded in half, stitched at 5/8" and then have a nice line of blue on the black lining. On the upper lapel and collar I used Pro-Sheer Elegance fusible knit interfacing, see photo on the right.

piping for grey jacket

grey jacket upper lapel inside

So what's next?  According to my list above I am about in the middle:  Sew upper-collar/lapel to jacket, then press and turn.  And onward!

This morning I took a quick trip to Britex Fabrics in downtown San Francisco as I am making a dress for a "creative black tie" event for someone and we were in search of some interesting fabric.  Driving in over the bridge the city was spectacular and I wanted to get a photo of it all but for once there was no traffic and we were zipping in too fast for a nice photo of the Golden Gate Bridge with hundreds of sailboats and a cruise ship docked at the pier.  So instead, despite the "no photography" signs posted in the store here I am among the lovely rainbow of fabrics that is Britex. Wearing my blue/black houndstooth jacket, same pattern as the one in grey I am making now. 
Britex photo

No purchases for myself there, a triumph. I averted my eyes and thought about all that fabric at home!  

Happy Weekend Sewing, Beth


  1. The bright trim is a nice choice. Fun to see you out shopping and well done on avoiding an unnecessary an easy accomplishment at Britex. I have a beautiful piece of cream wool and fabulous buttons from my last visit there...also for a jacket, that is languishing in my to do pile/mountain.

  2. I've never understood those "no photography" rules at Britex. Seems weird. Anyway, nice teal trim in that jacket! And, I agree, our lack of winter is so strange. I am writing a blog post and remarked on it too.

  3. This jacket is looking so beautiful already.

  4. My eyes almost glaze over when I see such lovely tailoring and detailing & the list of what you're doing; I'm in total awe. LOVE the blue piping!

    You may get the hot summer, but in the City and most of the East Bay, it was like winter last summer, and now we're getting summer, but with chilly winter nights. It's just wrong!

  5. Why would they not allow photography? What a silly rule. But that fabric shop looks absolutely amazing...
    Your jacket is going to be amazing and will deserve lots of wear, so I hope you get a nice cool spring!

  6. I can't believe you managed to escape Britex with no purchases! Your tailoring is fantastic. I love the turquoise catchstitches and the blue piping. It is so important to have a list of steps when tailoring a jacket! The weather is strange this year. The extreme cold we had recently has killed my potted outdoor plants -- I didn't realize they should have been protected. And this weekend has been so sunny and beautiful. Hopefully the weather will get back to normal soon!

  7. Your jacket is coming along quite beautifully! I love the piping!