Category Archives: Year of the Jacket

Kwik-Sew 3000

Tomorrow is Bryan’s birthday and he has been hinting that he’d like a spa robe so last night I pulled out this pattern and whipped one up (really, this is a 2-3 hour project). Of course I’ve been meaning to get to it for weeks now but last-minute is how it always ends up. The fabric is a heavy cotton pique from my stash (another bulky piece gone!). I made two modifications to the pattern: adding bands to the sleeves and to the top of the pockets. The bands look so much nicer than plain hems, don’t you think? I know it looks ridiculous on my dressform but you get the idea.

ks3000

ks3000robe

robedetail

Last night as I was snuggling in my faux mink jacket, I pulled the collar in around my face and really liked the way it looked so I decided to make the collar convertible. All I did was sew some medium-sized snaps to the collar points and the jacket fronts so that I can wear it either way. The snaps are easily hidden in the heavy pile of the fur. I like it!

convertiblecollar

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Faux Mink Jacket – Final!

I stayed up last night and finished the hems and lining, bring on the cold front!

minkfinal

My next project is going to be a white pique spa robe for my honey (it’s his birthday on Thursday) but first I must defur my sewing room.

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Faux Mink Jacket – Part VI

It’s been in the mid-80s for a number of days so I haven’t felt like working on the jacket as much. But, now that I’m in the home stretch I am anxious to get it finished. We have a cold front coming through mid-week so maybe I’ll even get to wear it! I swear, my garden doesn’t know if it’s winter or spring these days. My trees are dropping their leaves and blooming at the same, sigh.

The last bit of inner construction to be finished before putting in the lining are the fur hooks. I used an awl to make a hole large enough for the hook to pass through (If you are using fur with a knit backing you could make a small snip) and then stitched it on securely from the inside.

hook

hooks2

From the outside, all you see is the hook portion.

hookoutside

The lining has been assembled and attached except for the hems. This rayon brocade practically screamed my name when I stopped into JoAnn’s for a thimble (yes, I broke down and bought one). I rarely bother to look at their fabric but there it was, right on the aisle in one of my very favorite color combinations.

lining

Rather than sewing the bust dart in the lining, I opted to simply fold it. I saw it done this way in a ready-made fur coat and thought it not only looked nice but provided a bit of wearing ease as well.

dart

Another detail that I copied from a ready-made jacket (in this case my Persian lamb) is a pleated piping along the back neck edge. I am assuming that this piping served to protect the fur from soil and wear. I think it’s a pretty and luxurious detail, don’t you?

pleating

Once I finish up the hems, I think I’d like to work on a couple of quick and easy projects before moving on to my next jacket. A palate cleanser of sorts!

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Faux Mink Jacket – Part V

I was finally able to get back to the jacket today, yay! I stitched the darts, shoulder and side seams and attached the collar. Because the fur is so plush I had to trim it out of the seam allowances (best done over a wastebasket!). To keep the seam allowances flat, I catchstitched them to the backing. I did the same with the darts after slashing them open.

front

seam

One of my favorite parts, the back of the collar.

collarback

All I have left now are the sleeves, hems and lining. Not too much but everything does take a little longer in fur. I hope we have a few more cold days so I can wear this at least once. Speaking of cold days, I am shocked at how much I am wearing my fur vest! It turns out to be the perfect thing to throw on when it’s just a little chilly. I think I need another one (just an excuse to sew with fur again).

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Faux Mink Jacket – Part IV

Since I had some uninterrupted time this morning I decided to put the pockets in. Cutting into your jacket fronts is always scary (especially in a pricey fabric) and I wanted to make sure I had a clear head.

First, I marked the pocket opening on both fronts, making sure they were identical. My hands are small so I made my opening 5.5″ long. I determined a comfortable placement during a try-on.

marking

The next step was to stay the opening. To reduce bulk I used silk organza selvedges left over from another project. Twill tape would be fine too but it is a little more bulky. The stay is attached at the finished edge with tiny fell stitches and then a diagonal basting stitch is used to attach the remainder to the backing (running basting stitch would be fine as well). I taped across the top and bottom of the opening,

taping1

and then down each side. Notice that I left a hairline space between the two so that I don’t cut the stay or the stitching later.

taping2

Now for the scary part, carefully cutting the slash!

cutting

I am using 2″ wide strips of Ultrasuede (gotta love that Ultrasuede stash!) to face the slash. You could also use petersham, real leather/suede, even grosgrain ribbon would be okay (albeit a bit stiff). I cut my strips extra long so that I didn’t have to fuss over the placement. Whipstitch your facing strips to the edge of the slash being sure to catch your stay in the stitching and pushing the fur out of the way with your needle. I opted to do this by hand because I have more control that way.

whipstitch1a

whipstitch1b

whipstitch2

whipstitch3

For extra reinforcement I then zigzagged over the edges with a short, narrow machine zigzag. I know these pockets are going to get a lot of use and I don’t want them to tear out later. Do not use a satin stitch or you will perforate your Ultrasuede/leather/suede! I used a stitch length of about 1.5 mm and a size 14 needle.

zigzag2

Once that’s done, you can turn your facing strips to the inside and attach your pocket bags (I used a sturdy 3-step zigzag for this). Again, sorry for the lousy photos. I am camera-challenged since my adorable granddog chewed the screen on my good camera.

inside

pocketbag

When I was examining the Persian lamb jacket, I noticed that everything inside had been tacked down, including the pocket bags. I did the same and I think it’s so much nicer than having them float around in there. The beauty of working with faux fur is that none of your stitches show on the right side.

catchstitching

The pocket opening is barely discernable from the right side – cool, huh?

outside

I would like to thank the authors of this really awesome vintage Vogue booklet for teaching me this great, bulk-free method (this is similar to the method you’d use for buttonholes in fur). If you are interested in sewing fur you really need a copy of this book! It’s small and thin (less than 50 pages) but loaded with great information that is still relevant 40 years after it’s publication date.

book

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Faux Mink Jacket – Part III

After much deliberation, I decided to cut the collar on the bias. Thank you all for your thoughtful input!

biascollarnew

Doesn’t it look pretty from the back? (Lightened to show detail)

collarback

I cut and sewed the collar late last night and then padded it with some cotton batting I had left over from my quilt two years ago. When I took apart the Persian lamb/mink jacket on Saturday, I noticed that the collar was padded with lambswool (there is a lot more structure inside a fur coat than I expected!) so I thought I’d do the same. I kept the batting out of the seam allowances to reduce bulk and attached it with uneven and diagonal basting stitches. It seems like a lot of handwork but it really didn’t take long, maybe an hour. With all the handwork I’ve been doing lately, I am considering learning how to use a thimble!

padding

I cut the batting out of the foldline so that the edge wouldn’t be too thick.

foldline

The fronts are stabilized with hair canvas and I am getting ready to stitch bits of bias-cut canvas into the hem area. The hair canvas along the facing foldline gives a nice crisp edge.

interfacing

The backing of this fur is quite stable (it’s a woven) so I only taped the off-grain areas. I will also stabilize the neck edge by fusing stay tape to the lining neckline (less bulky than more twill tape).

taping

Tomorrow, I am going to experiment with pockets as I’d like to finish them before I stitch the fronts to the back. Once they are done, everything will go together quite quickly! I was hoping to finish by the weekend but I am teaching a 2-day fitting workshop Saturday and Sunday and might be too tired to do anything more until Monday.

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Faux Mink Jacket – Part II

I finished cutting my jacket out last night and now I’m kind of stuck on the the collar. The pattern has you cut the collar with the nap going out towards the shoulder. The more I looked at it, the more it looked like it was going to fly away! Upon examining the mink collar on my Persian lamb jacket, I noticed that it was seamed at the center back with the nap going forward. So, I cut a new collar tonight (this is why I always buy extra fabric!) and I think I like it better but, darnit, I’m not sure.

I’m going to set the collar aside for now and work on sewing in my interfacing and stay tape. That should keep me busy for tonight while I mull things over. I suppose my other option would be to recut the collar on the bias!

Original collar:

originalcollar

New collar:

newcollar

Bias collar:

biascollar

Feel free to offer opinions!

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