Monthly Archives: December 2010

The Year of the Jacket 2010 – in Review

I will probably finish one more jacket yet before the end of the year but I thought it would be fun to look back at what I have already completed. I know some people were concerned about joining the Stitcher’s Guild sew-along for 2011 because they thought they’d have to make 12 tailored, lined jackets – not so! While I love making them, they are not really wearable here during the warmer months. A jacket can be as complicated as a notch-collared style with welts and hand padstitching or as simple as a linen shirt jacket or jean jacket. There are no rules so join in – the more the merrier!


#1 McCall’s 5984


#2 McCall’s 5984


#3 Simplicity 2443


#4 Simplicity 2443 (modified)

#5 Simplicity 7715 (vintage)

#6 Simplicity 2443 (modified)


#7 McCall’s 5860


#8 McCall’s 5635 (modified)


#9 Simplicity 5440 (vintage, modified)

#10 Hot Patterns Riviera Blvd. Jacket


#11 Simplicity 4109


#12 Simplicity 2508

#13 Burda Style 10/2009 #109
duffle coat



Filed under Burda WOF, Hot Patterns, McCall's, Simplicity, Vintage Patterns, Year of the Jacket

Duffle Coat – Final

I spent most of yesterday experimenting with different ways to make the toggles (good thing I had lots of leather in my stash!). I finally decided to copy the toggles from Burda Style.

First, I made my own leather cording. I cut 1″ wide strips of leather with a rotary cutter and quilting ruler.


I folded them in half and edgestitched along the fold before trimming away the excess (oops, I forgot to photograph that step but you get the idea).



For the patch (I’m sure it has a name but I don’t know what it is), I cut a 1.75″ by 3″ piece of leather and punched a hole in the center of one side with my trusty old revolving leather punch.


Thread the toggles onto the cord and pull the cord ends through the hole of the patch. Secure the cord ends to the back of the patch and then trim off the excess.



For extra security and to make them easier to handle during sewing, I glued the patch together with Tandy leather glue (my favorite!). Lastly, I coated all of the raw edges with Edgekote. The Edgekote isn’t a must but I like the way it finishes the edges.



It’s a beautiful, crisp winter’s day here in Florida so I thought I’d photograph the coat outside. I love this coat so much that I definitely want to make another, shorter version.


Here’s the back of the lining,


and the front. This lining is very pretty (and Burberry-esque!) but it was awful to work with – soooo ravelly.


My next project is a lambskin jacket but I don’t know how much, if anything, I will get done this week. I’ll feel great if I get the pattern fitted and maybe cut out a test garment but I’m not going to stress about it.

Parting shot: Bryan insists on trying to dress up the kitties. Last year, he put a doggie Christmas dress on Ricki! Mrs. Whiskers is here to tell you she doesn’t like it. Silly man!


Merry Christmas!


Filed under Burda WOF, Tutorials, Year of the Jacket

Duffle Coat – Part IV

Everything is finished except for the toggles and I don’t think I’ll get to them tonight. I started feeling a little under the weather this afternoon and then traffic was a nightmare so I got home a bit later than expected – 45 minutes to drive 6.5 miles, argh! I don’t feel alert enough to work on the most important part of the coat (the toggles!) so I’ll save that for Saturday. And I promise I’ll post the steps!

Instead, I thought I’d write a quick post about bagging a lining. Lots of books cover bagging but most of them don’t ever mention how to properly deal with that little bit of unfinished facing where it meets the hem. So you try to make it look okay with handsewing but it never really does. I’m going to show you how to finish that area easily and neatly by machine. Now, I’m not a technical writer so I just sewed it and took photos of the steps – hopefully the steps are clear. For more professional instructions please refer to Palmer/Pletsch’s jacket book and/or DVD (I don’t believe I’ve ever seen this technique covered in any other home sewing/tailoring book).

To use this technique, partially sew the facing/lining seam (leaving at least a few inches unsewn at the bottom) and press up the jacket hem (but do not stitch). Leave a large opening in one of your sleeve lining seams so that the jacket may be turned right side out later.

Step 1 Turn the facing back and stitch, stopping 5/8″ from the edge (or whatever your facing/lining seam allowance is).


Step 2 Trim the seam allowance.


Step 3 Right sides together, stitch lining and hem allowance together. I used a 1/2″ seam allowance in this instance. This lining was a ravelly nightmare!


Step 4 Clip jacket front ONLY to the point where you ended your stitching. The wonkiness you see is the hem being pulled up by the lining – pay no attention to that. 🙂


Step 5 Turn hem allowance up (right sides together) tucking lining inside.


Step 6 Fold facing back out of the way exposing lining/facing seam.


Step 7 Stitch remaining lining/facing seam down to the hemline.


Step 8 Turn RS out and Voila! even before pressing it looks good.


Step 9 After pressing.


Step 10 The jump hem is formed automatically.


At this point, I hand stitch the hem, attach the sleeve linings to the hems by machine and then turn the jacket right side out through the opening in the sleeve. Stitch the sleeve opening closed either by hand or by machine (my preferred method). If your sleeves have vents, it is easier to hand stitch the lining to the hems after turning the jacket right side out.

ETA: I originally learned this technique from Kathleen at Fashion-Incubator. I’ve been using it for awhile and couldn’t remember where I learned it until I was reminded today. Once you do it once or twice it will just stay with you! Here’s the original link, part of the Nameless Tutorial series: Bagging a Lining. Enjoy!


Filed under Burda WOF, Tutorials, Year of the Jacket

Duffle Coat – Part III

Boy, I’ve had my nose to the grindstone all day today! I spent my birthday doing what I love most (aside from spending time with the people I love, of course!) – sewing. Last night I made a to-do list for today: draft/cut/construct/insert lining, hem sleeves, check length, stitch hem. Well, I finished everything except for the hem because I’d like to attach the toggles throug the outer layer only (at least I think that’s what I want to do). I haven’t made the toggles yet anyway so I decided to finish up tomorrow night. Here’s a peek at the lining. Because this fabric is quite thick and spongy I really needed some sort of back facing so I used the back yoke as a substitute. The pattern does have a back facing but I think the yoke gives it a much more professional look and gives some added body and support through the shoulder area.


Here’s a full view. Do you see what I mean about it being roomy yet slim? I fall more in love with this coat every time I try it on It even looks good over jammies!


There were some interesting comments/questions posted the last few days so I thought I’d address one of them now:

Marie: Do you baste pieces in order to get everything so exact? Your work is fantastic! Any suggestions or sources you would recommend for improving the details as you do? I very rarely thread-baste. Instead I might use a pin or two at crucial match points. I try to be very precise with my sewing. In the case of inset corners it is very important to match up the dots. With sewing, as with anything else, practice makes perfect. I always practice on scraps before I stitch on my actual garment. Also, do not be afraid to recut things such as collars and cuffs if they aren’t up to your standards (this is why I always buy extra fabric!).

Did you opt not to make a muslin and if so what was it on this pattern that told you that you would not have fitting issues? I almost never make a muslin (although I will for the leather jacket I’m making next)! Instead, I tissue-fit the pattern and then pin-fit the garment as I go. I also sometimes leave wide seam allowances at the side seams “just in case” so that I never have a fit disaster.

Several of you have asked for my “secret” to perfect inset corners. I don’t really have any secrets but I promise I will go over the steps in a future post. Louise Cutting shares her wonderful method (which is fabulous for lighter-weight fabrics) in her Threads DVDs so you might want to check them out as well.

Lastly, if you’ve enjoyed my Year of the Jacket and would like to join in the fun for 2011 please head over to Stitcher’s Guild. The goal is one jacket per month but the object really is to upgrade our wardrobes, improve our sewing skills and use up some of our yummy stash fabrics. Even if you don’t think you can finish twelve, please join in anyway!


Filed under Burda WOF, Year of the Jacket

Duffle Coat – Part II

After all those inset corners today I didn’t think I had it in me to finish the other side but I soldiered on and did it! Tomorrow, I will construct and attach the hood. I think the coat is looking pretty chic already, don’t you?


This coat has a lot more shape than the line drawing would have you believe. I know it looks like a big shapless box but it’s actually not at all oversized through the upper body. For most of you, fitting issues should be very minimal with this pattern (I made no alterations except for length) so you can concentrate on those welts and corners. 🙂

Robin asked earlier if it got cold enough here in Florida for a coat. It is 29F right now so that would be a resounding yes! Actually, I find it pretty practical to have some sort of outerwear even though it doesn’t get cold often. I can toss a jacket or coat over my usual clothes and remove it as the day warms up (which it always does). You cannot do with a sweater!


Filed under Burda WOF, Year of the Jacket

Duffle Coat – Part I

There’s been a last-minute change of plans for the duffle coat. As I was fitting the vintage pattern yesterday, I realized that it was much more closely fitted than what I wanted. So, I have decided to make this little lovely from the 10/2009 issue of Burda Style (it’s #109) instead:



The pattern calls for doublecloth but I don’t have anything suitable on hand so I’ll be using plain black wool and lining the coat conventionally. So far I have sewn the welt pockets,


and attached the yokes, sleeves and body on one side (which is a bit time-consuming with all of those inset corners!). I lightened the photos a bit so you could see the details:




Filed under Burda WOF, Year of the Jacket

Simplicity 2508 – Final!

I am finally finished with this jacket, just in time to wear to the football game tonight and (drumroll, please) I get to move the ticker to twelve! But, as I said before, I will be passing twelve by at least one, probably two pieces. Not only did I really enjoy making all of these jackets but they have also really upgraded my wardrobe. A jacket makes even jeans and a tee look put-together, don’t you think? So, I think I may do another Year of the Jacket in 2011!

I am really pleased with how this jacket turned out. Working with velvet, even cotton velvet, requires more patience than most fabrics but it was worth it.



Here’s a closeup of the collar. These vintage buttons are just perfect for the fabric and style, don’t you think? They’ve been in my collection at least 10 years!


Hang chain:


Question: do you ever do something and look at it later and wonder what in the heck you were thinking? Especially something you’ve done many times before? As I started to hem my jacket last night I realized that I sewed the hair canvas into the hem backwards. Yes, I applied it the way you would a fusible, duh on me. Thankfully, it only took a few minutes to correct.



On the side front I wanted the hem to have the same soft roll but didn’t want the stiffness of hair canvas so I used bias-cut strips of cotton flannel (leftover from my Isabel Marant jacket) instead.


The lining in my jacket is Ambiance with a Tahari logo that I purchased at Mill End in Portland about ten years ago. Since I started using silk (especially charmeuse, yum) for linings I haven’t been as satisfied with Ambiance but I will try to use up what I have so that it doesn’t go to waste.


Next up, a quick duffle coat before I get to the leather jacket. It’s freezing here! This will be a fast project as the pattern is easy and I’m using wool (which practically sews itself). The wool will be a joy after working on velvet, that’s for sure.


I was hoping to emulate a Burberry duffle coat (which is double-sided wool with bound seams) and underline my fabric with a pretty plaid wool but no luck finding anything locally. I did find this yarn-dyed Burberry-inspired lining fabric at Cynthia’s so I will just line as per the pattern.


I found these fabulous horn toggles on Ebay HERE. Six pieces for under $8 with shipping! I ordered them two days ago and they arrived today. They are the real thing and beautiful!


Out of desperation, I bought some JHB horn toggles at JoAnn’s last week and they are real horn but they’re laminated (thin layers of horn are glued together and then shaped) and cost $3.59 each. I liked these from Ebay so much (and the seller was awesome!) that I ordered two more sets because I know I want to make another duffle coat somewhere down the line. The shipping was the same for two sets so it was an even better deal. I’m happy to return the others to JoAnn’s – I really wasn’t happy with the color or the quality anyway.



Filed under Simplicity, Year of the Jacket

Simplicity 2508 – Part VI

Yes, I’m still laboring along on this jacket but I do hope to finish it up tomorrow. All I have left is attaching the collar, front facing and putting in the lining. My next project is going to be a quick wool duffel jacket (it’s cold!) and, after working with cotton velvet, the wool will practically sew itself! Don’t get me wrong, I love velvet but it’s not the easiest thing to tailor.

Last night I made buttonholes in the tabs and pocket flaps and attached the pockets and flaps. And, woohoo, I really did have enough of these vintage buttons!



I also let out the seams in the back to get rid of that pulling. I had tried to nip in the waist a little too much. It looked fine when I pin fit it but I didn’t have the belt pinned on which made a huge difference.



Filed under Simplicity, Year of the Jacket

Simplicity 2508 – Part V

Well, I’m not going to finish today but that’s okay. I changed my mind about a few things as I was sewing so that took extra time ripping and recutting. Also, you just don’t realize what a huge time-saver fusible interfacing is! It takes a lot more time to interface your hems when you have to sew it in by hand. Thanks, Vivian, for gifting me this lovely hair canvas!


I used a firm piece of cotton for the back stay.


The back is finished. I took it in a bit at the waistline and now there are a few pulls but I’ll take care of that later. This fabric is pretty forgiving when it comes to ripping.


I have one front sewn. This is where I started from scratch. I had my fronts finished with the welts and I just wasn’t happy with them. This cotton velvet is pretty thick and there was too much bulk with the in-seam welts. So, I made the decision to redo it rather than just finishing it and being unhappy. I also changed my interfacing plan. Originally, I was just going to put weft insertion onto the facings. Now I put it on the front and underlined the side front with silk organza and will do the same with the facing. I will use patch pockets with flaps instead of the welt pockets. I’ll have to look for some other buttons because I don’t have enough of the vintage ones, darn!


This is why I always like to have extra fabric. I know some people grouse about having to buy full yards from some online vendors but I don’t mind it at all. I often change my mind about things as I’m sewing or don’t like the way something looks (remember all the bias pieces I recut a few days ago?) and need extra fabric to recut. I had an extra yard of this fabric and will end up using every bit of it!


Filed under Simplicity, Year of the Jacket

Simplicity 2508 – Part IV

I didn’t get as much done today as I’d hoped – my washing machine flooded my kitchen! And I had to fix a toilet problem at DS’ restaurant! Please, dear readers, send some positive energy my way because this is freaking me out. :-O

Since I heard it would be in the 40’s on Friday I am determined to get this jacket finished tomorrow (haha, from my mouth to God’s ears). Everything has been fitted and I finished the sleeves tonight (and I heart them!). Tomorrow is another day! Let’s hope it’s a day without plumbing problems. 🙂


I dug through my shoulder pad stash today looking for some thin raglan pads for this jacket. I cannot wait to share with you the 1980s throwbacks I found. Stay tuned!


Filed under Simplicity, Year of the Jacket