April 12, 2008


I've been so involved with the actual construction of this jacket and the new techniques I had to learn as a result of wanting to take this pattern to another level, but I did remember to take pictures. I'm not that up on organizing my pictures yet, so finding what I want to post and then getting it posted in the right place is a challenge so bear with me here. Here is the jacket construction process. (p.s. I don't know why my post is underlining and I don't know how to turn it off).

I thought the fabric I used for this project (silky wool) was a little too light weight for what I had envisioned. Because I wanted the finished jacket to maintain a crispness with wear I decided that I wanted to try adding an underlining. From what I've read about underlinings, they are supposed to do just that and in addition keep the fashion fabric from wrinkling so badly. I did discover that this silky wool fabric that I had never heard of is a type of Iris Linen and knowing that linen will wrinkle, I used cotton batiste which was pre-washed and pressed before cutting it from the jacket pattern - I cut the front, back, back pleat and sleeve.
(sewing the underling to the fashion fabric, afterwards it is treated as one garment unit.)
(Pictures above show the underlining pieces/fashion fabric pieces sewn together as one unit for the back and front.)
I am completely happy with the drape of the garment after including the underlining.

Sleeves attached.
For a person who does not like the process of setting sleeves in, I can do it but I don't like to (way too many pins in that small circle for me). I am a real stickler for sleeves WITHOUT PUCKERS! If it is a two piece sleeve construction I will set the sleeve in (can't figure out how to do it any other way). I like the flat sleeve insertion method - it works better for me but I still get an occasional pucker. I put both these sleeves in with only ONE PUCKER and fought with myself to just leave it in - WHO WOULD NOTICE! But alas I figured that with all the extra work I was putting in here I had to go in and fix the pucker. So I present to you - THE PUCK ERLESS sleeves. I ask you, since this is the method I prefer, and since it works well for me, why do I feel like I'm cheating when I use it rather than the set in method?

After inserting the sleeves I noticed that the jacket sort of sunk in at the sleeve/shoulder area. I didn't want the shoulder pad look so I figured a sleeve header would do the trick. That involved more research to find out exactly what the purpose of a sleeve header was and how to make them. I found some really good information at DYI network.com written by Susan Khalje, and was able to follow her directions for making the headers with fashion fabric cut on bias and padded with some low loft batting that I just happened to have on hand.
(8" bias strips) (Bias Strips folded and pressed) (Batting added)

(Header sewn together, ends rounded. Placed over ham and steam pressed to shape)
After getting the headers made I couldn't understand from the Khalje instructions just how to put them in. I forget exactly, but I think I found the placement information at the SEWING DIVAS site. My before and after pictures of problem and solution did not come out very well, but the headers did solve my problem.

(BEFORE: Problem with sleeve sunken in) (AFTER: Sunkeness taken out)

The next thing I had to do was cut out the lining which the pattern did not call for but I LOVE LINED JACKETS! They go on and off so much easier. I cut the lining of the front (minus the front facing) being careful to leave enough for seam allowance to meet the facing) back, vent and sleeves and attached it to the jacket. (NOTE: had planned on putting pictures of the lining here but for some reason blogger is not allowing me to upload any more pictures today - is there a limit - cause I posted 13 pics on this update?)

After attaching the lining, I tacked it the shoulder, underarm, and the top of the back pleat.

I had originally added 3 inches to the bottom of the jacket, but decided to decrease that to 1 1/2 inch instead. ALL I HAVE TO DO NOW is :
1. Hem the bottom of the jacket
2. Hem the sleeves
3. Hem bottom and sleeve lining
4. Work button holes and sew on buttons. WILL POST FINISHED PRODUCT ASAP!

I feel like I truly stepped out of the box with this pattern which is a good thing. I pushed myself and learned learned three new techniques. I will make this jacket again probably sometime soon. However it will be by the pattern and without all the additions I made here. Learning to do Hong Kong seam finishes is one of my sewing goals this year so the next jacket will have utilize that technique.



  1. Thanks so much for the progress post. The Jacket is Gorgeous - Luv the color and the pleat in the back is on point. Thanks for the tutorial on the sleeve header. My last jacket required shoulder pads and after putting them in... I had to take them out - I didn't like it at all. Looking forward to your FO.

  2. Your jacket is beautiful! Congratulations on learning new techniques. Your sleeve header mini-tutorial is great!

  3. Good for you! You really did your homework with this jacket and it turned out beautiful. Wear it with extreme pride :) !

  4. Your jacket looks wonderful. Your research paid off and the sleeves look great. Nicely done :)

  5. Your jacket looks great, I love the color! Aren't sleeve headers amazing?!

  6. WOW!!! Faye you are doing an awesome job with this! Thanks for posting your progress.
    Its really an inspiration to see that you've pushed yourself to learn those new techniques! Makes me what to learn a new technique too!

  7. Nice work, Faye. This reminds me I need to push myself more.

  8. Thanks for the comments and encouragement! I'm really proud of this garment - It's almost finished!

  9. Wow Faye! Cool tutorial! That jacket is beautiful! I love sleeve headers too.Awesome.



Paying Homage to Black Pattern Designers...

...for years February has been set aside as a special time to learn about and recognize accomplishments of African Americans and other peopl...