It’s been slow going here. Still suffering with insomnia so I haven’t trusted myself to do too much sewing. I felt kind of energetic today so I thought I’d get the collar and cuffs attached, at least.
This is really nice, medium-heavy rib knit that I ordered from Pacific Trimming. It’s the perfect weight for a light jacket but not heavy enough for an outerwear jacket.
I am glad it’s starting to come together. Hopefully tomorrow I will feel up to attaching the waistband then I will have to set this aside for a bit, which I *hate* to do but I’m doing a sew along in the Hot Patterns FB group and our deadline is Thanksgiving! I don’t like starting something new before I finish but I’m so anxious to wear this jacket so I think it’ll be okay. 🙂
In the past when I’ve sewn with leather, I’ve used paper clips or binder clips to “pin” things together. I bought these cute little Clover clips on a whim awhile ago – I think they are for quilting – and they worked so perfectly here!
Not a lot has been happening in the sewing room this past week. Work has been really busy and I’ve been suffering with insomnia, ugh. I don’t like sewing when I’m tired because I just end up making mistakes that I have to fix later.
I did manage to stitch my sleeves to the back and fronts yesterday. I glued down the leather seam allowances and catchstitched the fabric seam allowances. It was nice doing a bit of hand work while watching Ratched on Netflix. I’m not removing the basting but you could if it bothers you.
Next up, I’ll be installing the zipper – as soon as I figure out where I put it.
I took a day off from work today to work on my jacket. This year I find myself in the unusual situation of having a lot of PTO that I’m going to lose if I don’t use it. I’m sure many of you are in the same boat!
I decided to start by cutting out my leather sleeves and then work on my single welt pockets. Now, I can crank out single welt pockets all day long so I went into this feeling a bit over-confident. Big mistake.
My first mistake was thinking that I would use my usual welt pattern.
Here’s my disappointing result. Really, I should’ve guessed this would happen.
So then I just cut some rectangles and folded my seam allowances in on the sides and glued everything together. Very easy with a good result.
That wasn’t the end of my difficulty. Let me tell you, single welts are much more difficult to make when you are using leather. Yes, I should have made a sample first but I didn’t and once I cut into the first front there was no changing my mind.
Just for fun, I whipped up a double welt sample. I didn’t measure the welts, didn’t mark my stitching lines, used no interfacing, my stitching was wonky because I didn’t have my Teflon foot on and I didn’t press anything. It looked pretty good with zero effort and was much less bulky than my single welt. Lesson learned! The next time I want to use leather, I will make double welt pockets!
I did finish them so now I can move on. Can’t say that I’m 100% happy with them but that’s okay. You can’t learn from mistakes if you never try anything new.
I finally just took a deep breath and cut and I’m really happy with it so far. The back really *had* to be cut this way as I couldn’t imagine it cut any other way. (Sorry for the wonky photo – panoramic while standing tippy toe on a stool!)
Ordinarily, when I want to match a pattern across a center front I use the CF line as my guide. But the front of this jacket veers off-grain in the upper chest plus I’m using a zipper so there is no overlap. So, instead I cut one front, lining up the lower CF line with the center of the medallion, and then laid it face down on the fabric, matching the pattern, and cut my second front. It looks weird now but once the zipper is installed it will look better, I hope.
I chose a cotton batiste as the underlining for the body of the jacket. I love using an underlining because I can make very clear markings without worrying about show-through.
Before I hand basted the layers together, I fused a small piece of interfacing where my welt pockets will be. My fabric ravels pretty easily so I wanted that extra reinforcement. Again, I pinked the edges to avoid a hard line showing on the right side.
I also stabilized the bias edges with strips of fusible interfacing. If your fabric doesn’t want to be fused you can always fuse to your underlining – another bonus to using an underlining.
The last step before my favorite part – the welt pockets – basting the layers together. I use either silk or cotton basting thread but I definitely enjoy using the silk thread more as it glides through the layers so easily. I couldn’t locate my basting needles (hence the tiny stitches) so I just used a #9 hand needle and basted within the seam allowances. I really recommend basting needles as they are longer and make fast work of this somewhat tedious job.
I fell in love with this pattern the moment I saw it and immediately thought of using leather for the sleeves.
I have this gorgeous bronze lamb skin in my stash and thought it would be perfect with this stunning fabric that I initially bought to make a skirt. Truth be told, I don’t wear too many skirts but I wear a lot of jackets. And, of course, a Riri copper zipper, right? Yes, please.
I thought I had it all planned out in my head how I was going to cut this. Still, I’ve been staring at the fabric for a couple of hours, playing around with my pattern pieces, and now I’m unsure. There are so many beautiful motifs in this fabric that I’ve become indecisive. I’ve added a shoulder dart to the front which would go through one of the paisley motifs, grrr, but would give me the bronze motif in the upper chest and upper back. I don’t want to move the dart to the side seam so I need to decide whether I can live with the distortion of one of the paisley motifs. Or perhaps shift it slightly to make it less distracting.
Wow, I feel like this jacket went together so quickly. I’m usually such a slow sewer as I just like to relax and enjoy the entire process and not just rush through to the finish line. It’s always nice when a project turns out exactly as you envisioned. Actually, it turned out better because I never dreamed that I’d really be able to make that metallic organza behave! Yes, I made a few mistakes along the way but that is to be expected when one is a bit out of practice. Okay, maybe a lot out of practice!
Moving onto the back, I assembled the back panels, attached the back yoke and bound the seams for a little extra flash. (The front seams are mostly covered by the pocket bags so I opted for the flatter mock flat fell seams there instead)
Next I joined the front and back at the shoulder seam and attached the collar. I apologize, I somehow neglected to show the steps for finishing the front facings and the neck edge but it’s very straightforward.
The sleeve vents are pretty standard for this type of jacket. The upper and under sleeves are stitched together in a conventional seam to the dot/marking and the seam is pressed flat, then open.
Then, the undersleeve seam is clipped to the seam allowance, turned under twice and topstitched.
Next, the upper sleeve seam allowances are turned under in a mock flat felled seam, being careful not to catch the underlap. The last step is to make a bar tack – or two – to secure the small bit of raw edge at the top of the underlap. Sometimes, I will substitute a rivet but I didn’t think I needed more metal in this jacket.
Once the sleeves were set in, I bound the armscye. I did have a little trouble here and had to recut my binding yet another 1/8″ wider before it would cleanly bind the seam. I’m very happy with the way it looks.
Next, I reduced the under cuff seam allowance and bound the edge before stitching the outer cuff to the outside of the sleeve. I used a heavier interfacing on the outer cuff and a lighter one on the inner cuff. I would ordinarily use the lighter interfacing on the entire cuff but I seem to be low on the lighter weight, which is my favorite.
I stitched the ends, folding under the bound edge as gracefully as possible.
Once again, instead of clipping across the corners, I folded the seam allowances over each other and held them together as I turned the cuff right side out. This results in a good square corner that isn’t weak at the point.
The cuff is then closed up by stitching in the well of the seam from the right side and topstitching all around.
The waistband is attached in the same manner.
After making the remaining buttonholes, my favorite part: sewing the buttons on by hand and hanging it in my closet!
The inside is my favorite!
Sources: Irish linen and Cartier-inspired buttons from the (sadly) long-gone Maggi’s for Fine Fabrics in Boca Raton; Kona cotton pocketing and metallic organza from JoAnn Fabrics; fusible interfacings from my friend Pam at http://www.fashionsewingsupply.com.
Parting shot: I am so in love with this Gucci bomber jacket. I have been searching all of my favorite online fabric vendors for just the right fabric and, unfortunately, I didn’t find anything suitable with a black background. But, I did find something really fabulous with a white background so this will be going in the queue!
Before attaching the front yoke, buttonholes must be made in the pocket flaps. My beloved 1961 Singer Rocketeer was a birthday gift from my friend Greg 10 or 11 years ago. I keep her set up for buttonholes at all times because I find her buttonholes far superior to those of any of my other machines, including my Berninas.
Next, I played around with the binding. My metallic organza has a scratchy metallic face but is smooth on the backside so I decided to use the backside as my right side. It took a few test runs to get it just right.
I started with a 1 1/4” binding plate and cut my bias strip 1 1/4” wide (far right) and ended up with a lot of threads poking out. Next, I cut my bias strip to 1 3/8” (center) and that worked out perfectly but I thought it looked too wide and heavy.
I then switched to a 1” binding plate and cut my bias strip 1 1/8” wide (left) and that gave me the look I wanted.
Here’s a quick video of the binding operation. I keep this industrial single-needle machine set up for binding all the time. Sorry, I was filming with one hand and guiding the fabric with the other but you get the idea.
The finished bound pocket.
Now, it’s time to attach the pocket flaps and the front yoke.
I find the front yoke seam too bulky to run through the binder so I prefer to use a Hong Kong finish here instead.
I then topstitched 1/4” away from the seam. Next I’ll move on to the jacket back and the shoulder seams.
I love a trucker jacket and Jalie 2320 is one of my favorite patterns for this style.
I made this in red linen a few years ago and it’s been well-worn and is now ready for retirement.
For this project I chose a charcoal Irish linen and Cartier-inspired buttons. For the seam binding, I am auditioning two silk duppionis and a metallic polyester organza. I’m leaning towards the organza but we will see how cooperative it is going through the binder!
First up: all the little pieces. Pocket flaps were first. Because I want them to be twins rather than cousins, I mark the stitching lines. I often make a template out of manila paper to make it easy.
Next up was the collar. After pressing all of the seam allowances open, I graded them. Note that I do not trim across the collar points. Instead, I fold the seam allowances on the stitching line and turn the collar out over them. This makes for a nice point without weakening it. Note: this method will not work well on very pointed collars as there isn’t enough space in the point for the folded seam allowances.
I did cut the under collar slightly smaller than the upper collar before sewing but I like to roll the collar as it will be worn to see if there is any addition trimming that needs to be done. I ended up trimming off an additional fat 1/8”.
Lastly, I stitched the waistband tabs, gave everything a good press and then topstitched 1/4” from the edge. Next time, I will continue with my favorite part: the fronts and front pocket.
Parting shot. My little mini is getting so big. Jess is loving fatherhood!