Category Archives: Patterns

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

HP Mighty Aphrodite Draped T-Shirt

Another clear winner from HP! I fell in love with this pattern the moment I saw it. I love the asymmetrical draping, sleeves and the drawstring and was so thrilled to finally get it traced off last weekend.


I made the short-sleeved asymmetrical sleeve version in a gorgeous purple rayon/lycra from, where else? Gorgeous Fabrics. I made my usual HP size 6 but skipped the FBA since I figured the draping added enough ease through the bust (it did). The sewing was pretty uneventful and went quickly. I did have an oops! moment when I realized that I forgot to make a broad back adjustment but, thankfully, the top is wearable.

The only thing I will change next time (besides the back alteration) is to not interface the entire back neck facing. Even though I used a knit interfacing with plenty of stretch, it still interfered with the stretch of the fabric enough that I went back and removed it. Needless to say, I fuse for life so it took quite awhile to heat/peel/heat/peel but I got it done and am happier with the result.

You can see that, even though the neckline is modest, this top definitely has a vavavoom quality to it. The ruching and draping are very flattering so this pattern will definitely go into the “favorites” file.



For my 2nd version, I used a super-soft heathered oatmeal rayon/lycra (again, from Gorgeous Fabrics). This time, I used two plain sleeves because the fabric had a much more casual feeling to it.


I fused only the neckline and shoulder seams of the back facing as shown here. This worked out much better for me.


What’s next on the agenda? Well, I am still on the hunt for the right shade of red poly chiffon for my Milly blouse (I must get it done before the holidays!) so I’m working on my silver brocade baseball jacket since I’ve assembled all of the supplies for it.


Filed under Hot Patterns

HP Riviera Boulevard Cardigan Jacket

First, I have to say that I am so touched that you guys missed me! Believe me, I have missed you too! As some of you have speculated, I did not get a job, sigh. But, my sewing classes are going well so that makes me happy. I just love my students, they are so much fun that I look forward to class every week (as I hope they do!). Things have just been busy so I’ve been spending my precious spare time sewing rather than blogging.

I did finally finish my HP Riviera jacket and LOVE it! I’ve had this pattern since it first came out and am so mad at myself that I’m just now getting around to making it.

I used a yummy wool/lycra doubleknit that I bought from Nancy Erickson back in 2003. Oh, how I love working with wool! It practically sews itself. I did prewash this fabric by hand with Orvis (from the local feed store), air dried and then steamed thoroughly before cutting. I seriously doubt I’ll be hand washing this jacket but I could if I wanted to. The fab buttons came from Cynthia’s Fine Fabrics and I used Pro-Sheer Fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply.


The jacket goes together very easily and quickly. The first thing I did was to construct the pocket flaps. The horizontal flaps are constructed as you normally would. Because my fabric was thick and spongy, I did all of my topstitching at 3/8″ vs. 1/4″ (which looked skimpy and cheap).


The vertical pockets are sewn on two sides only. The top is left open because it will be caught in the yoke seam later.



Pocket construction is very simple. First, the vertical flaps are stitched to the fronts:


Then, the pocket bags are stitched on top of the flaps,


so you end up with this:


The other pocket bags are stitched to the side front:


then the front and side front are sewn together at the top and down the lower front. Any topstitching alongside the pocket flap should be done now, before the pocket bags are sewn shut.


Here’s the finished pocket (before pressing):


Here it is pressed and topstitched. As I mentioned before, the area in front of the flap is topstitched before the pocket bags are closed up. Once the pockets are stitched up, the topstitching below the flap is completed.


The body of the jacket has been put together. Now it’s time for the collar!


I know some people have expressed confusion over the HP collar but it’s really very, very easy. You are instructed to sew to the dot but I found it better to just keep on going all the way. I have done it both ways but prefer this way. The seam allowances have been trimmed and graded in this photo – I forgot to take one before I did that but you can use your imaginations. Please notice that I am not a Chicken Clipper!


I then pressed all three seams open over my trusty point presser


and then turned right side out.


I staystitched just inside the dot on the jacket front and clipped to the corner. Then, simply match up the two dots and stitch your inside corner.


Voila! Very easy!


Here is the jacket with the facing partially attached. I always attach it in two steps to make my life easier.


I did make one small change to the pattern and that is to add a hem allowance rather than using facings. Mainly, I did that because I really wanted to have a mitered sleeve vent. If I was going to have a hem at the sleeve it stood to reason that I should have one on the jacket body as well. I didn’t take any photos of the sleeve construction because I figured everyone already knows how to miter a sleeve vent – and this post is already so long-winded!


Because my fabric is pretty stretchy, I had problems making horizontal buttonholes. I finally achieved success by fusing a 2nd piece of interfacing with the stable grain on the horizontal and cording the buttonhole. I only had cordonnet in white and black but red Pearl Crown Rayon came to the rescue and worked just fine. (Excuse the blue chalk, this is my sample.)


Wow, that was a very long post, wasn’t it? I’m sure it’s the longest I’ve ever done but that’s what I get for leaving it all until the end. I’m headed back to the sewing room to finish up my HP Mighty Aphrodite tee – I’ll write about that this weekend. Auf Wiedersehen!

10/16/10 ETA: I realized last night that I neglected to mention anything about sizing and fit – sorry! I sewed a straight size 6 (which I need through the shoulders) and needed no alterations except for my usual forward shoulder and a little extra width through the bicep (I blame you for that, Jackie Warner!). Shocking, but true.


Filed under Hot Patterns, Year of the Jacket

Burda Style 01/2009 #106

When I was organizing my pattern magazines and tracings, I came across this top that I had traced off last summer and never got around to making up. I wear a lot of knit tops and am always on the lookout for new and interesting styles. Naturally, I fell in love with these sleeves.


The fabric is rayon/lycra that I bought from Sawyer Brook a few years ago. I’ve pulled it out quite a few times but never had just the right project for it until now. I started with my usual size 34 but found this pattern baggy through the torso. Either the Power Circuit Training DVDs are finally paying off or my fabric has too much stretch. Not only did I skip the FBA, I took it in about 1/2″ on each side (for a total of 2″).


I changed the neckline from a V-neck to a scoop neck and bound the edge. Instead of coverstitching the hems, I used my blindstitch machine for a dressier look.


Seriously, how freaking adorable are these sleeves? I know some people cut the sleeve apart into four pieces to make gathering easier but I had no difficulty making them as per the pattern. To make your corners really nice and crisp overlock across the gathered section only, then fold the seam allowance up (towards the cap) and overlock each side seam (sort of like a wrapped corner collar).



Filed under Burda WOF

A Diversion – New Look 6891

I made this pattern just over a year ago and it has become a favorite. It’s one of those blouses that, every time I put it on, I wonder why I only have one. I had pulled the pattern out a few months ago in hopes of making myself another one so, when I needed a project to recover from my recent disaster, there it was! Not one to let myself off the hook too easily, I did choose to make it in (drumroll, please) silk charmeuse! This is another Golden Oldie from Maggi’s For Fine Fabrics.


I used my 1.25″ right-angle binder to make quick work of the neckline and ties. I had to piece the binding at the CB but the seam went through the binder without a hitch. I made sure to press and trim the seam well and you can barely see the join.



I will probably make one more quick item before I return to the Milly blouse. I’ve leaning toward the red charmeuse but the chiffon I bought yesterday isn’t the greatest match so I have one more place to check before I get started. I’ve put Sunday’s disaster behind me and am movin’ on! As Debbie said, do I really want to be bothered with a blouse that stains so easily? Uh, no.


Filed under New Look

Milly Blouse – Part VII

Or, When Disaster Strikes. I was just working away on the blouse yesterday, anxious to finish it. Because this fabric mars or stains every time you look at it funny, I was constantly washing my hands and cleaning my work area so as not to damage the blouse. Frankly, a week of that was enough for me so I was happy to see the finish line.

Now, normally, I am a very solitary sewer. I hole myself up in my sewing room and completely lose myself in the project at hand. Enter sewing room visitors in the way of my honey (who usually just silently pokes his head in), Winnie Whiskers and No No Bad Dog. NNBD has already learned that Winnie’s claws are painful so he generally ignores her. If she makes her Yoda face and growls, he runs away or hides behind the nearest human. Well, not yesterday. The dog was barking, the cat was hissing, you get the idea. During all of this chaos, I was attempting to restitch and smooth out the outer band seam (that little hitchydoo in the photo) and inadvertently caught the outer band in my stitching. No big deal except that you cannot, never ever, get pin holes out of silk charmeuse. No can do. So, I’m already upset but think that maybe I will do some channel stitching on the band and cuffs to cover up this mistake. And that’s when I see the stain. Yes, a stain! Don’t ask me how this happened when I must have washed my hands a dozen times yesterday. The cleaners could probably deal with the stain but then I still have the matter of the holes.


Needless to say, I am really upset and at a standstill. I have enough fabric for new bands but the seam has already been trimmed and graded. The very thought of ripping it all out when I have miniscule seam allowances in some areas gives me nightmares. What I’d like to do is toss the whole thing out and start with a fresh piece of charmeuse (because I really want this blouse!) but I don’t think I have any more solid pieces in my stash. Grrrr. I think I will set everything aside and work on a quickie project today just to clear my mind and put me in a better mood. Worst case scenario is that I’ll buy some new charmeuse but I’m too mad to think about that right now.

ETA: Apparently, my stash knows no bounds because I discovered not one, but two, pieces of solid silk charmeuse. I had forgotten about these but discovered them as I was looking through my fabric catalogue. I have 5 yards of the red (which is a very pretty lipstick red) and ten yards of the pale taupe (my silver sample is in the center). Which one I choose will depend on what I can get in the way of chiffon. Okay, deep breath. I will do some fun sewing today and then tackle this project anew as soon as I have a few uninterrupted sewing days in a row. And buy a baby gate to keep the dog out of my room.



Filed under Aren't you glad you sew?, Butterick, Vintage Patterns

Milly Blouse – Part VI

I am whittling away at the blouse. The cuffs are on and I will work on the neckband today. This morning I felt like doing something fun so I played around a bit with the front ruffle. I want the ruffle to be removable for cleaning so I’m planning on backing it with a piece of ribbon and using small snaps to attach it to the placket. Keep in mind that these are just test samples so they’re not very tidy!

I started with a 2″ wide piece of bias chiffon. I’m using polyester because a) it has much more body than silk and b) should I ever have to wash it, the pleats will hold their shape. I used two layers of chiffon for the first sample (on the left) and found it too poofy. The second sample is one layer only (on the right) and is exactly what I was looking for. Polyester chiffon doesn’t fray out at the edges as easily as silk so I just ran my fingernails over the edges to roughen them up a bit. I’m really happy with the effect!


Here’s the ruffle with the crystal beads that I originally purchased. Meh, just not enough sparkle for me. I mean, it’s okay but it doesn’t wow me. I’ll reserve these beads for something else.


These crystals, on the other hand, are perfect! I was only able to get 16 from this particular seller but I found a few more on Etsy this week. Even if I don’t need them it’ll be good to have a few spares in case I ever lose one. I don’t know how long this ruffle will be yet, I’ll decide that after I finish the blouse. Have I mentioned lately how much I love sewing? Love, love, LOVE.



Filed under Aren't you glad you sew?, Butterick, Vintage Patterns