Category Archives: Simplicity

Isabel Marant Jacket – Part I

Finally! I have had all the “ingredients” assembled for awhile so I was anxious to get started. In case you’ve forgotten, here is the inspiration jacket:



I used this vintage pattern, Simplicity 5440, as my starting point.


I love working with vintage patterns because you get details and drafting that you can’t find in most modern patterns. Check out this sleeve hem (and, remember, this is an elasticated, casual sleeve!):


After tissue-fitting the pattern, I made my adjustment (sleeve length only) and cut the main pieces out in flannel. The original jacket is puffy (the description says quilted) so I wanted the same feeling without it being quilted. Back in the 1990s when we made tailored jackets out of blouseweight fabrics, I always used flannel as an underlining. It served two purposes: 1) it beefed up the fabric without making it stiff and 2) solved the (at the time) problem of successfully fusing to a silky fabric. This is just cheap flannel from JoAnn’s that I prewashed/dried several times. I have to say, I was looking for a thinner/cheaper flannel and this one is actually a pretty decent quality. Go figure.


I used the flannel to work out my neckline changes as shown here:


Then I used the flannel pieces as my pattern. This is actually a really good way to “test” a pattern before committing to your good fabric. I simply serged the flannel underlining to all of the brocade sections and then treated them as one layer for the remainder of the construction. The serging is necessary because brocade ravels every time you look at it funny.

First up, the single welt pockets. I always use this welt pocket pattern that I got from Judy Barlup when I attended a sit-and-sew class with her a number of years ago. It’s nice not having so much bulk at the sides. I drew the lines to help me center it on a motif.


Here’s what the welts look like once they are sewn:


and turned/pressed:



I drew two lines 1/2″ apart on a piece of stiff non-woven sew-in interfacing and marked the ends of the welt. I basted this into position on the welt stitching line (the lower line). Make sure you go past the ends of the pocket, this makes positioning the welt from the right side easier.


Then, I positioned the welt on the right side of the garment and stitched on the same line (from the wrong side), this time being sure to stop at the ends of the welt.


Next, I laid the pocket pieces (plain old Symphony broadcloth) over the welt and,


stitched over the previous stitching again and stitched on the 2nd line, stopping my stitching about 1/2″ from the ends.


Now for the scary part: cutting into your jacket front, yikes! Using a very sharp pair of scissors, trim right into the corners, being careful not to cut the welt or the pocket bags. I use the fingers of my left hand to keep everything out of the way.


Turn everything to the inside, flip up your welt and you’re almost finished!


Here’s what the inside looks like. I trimmed away some of the excess interfacing and stitched down the little triangles (you can see them at the top of the pocket) before sewing the pocket closed. I made the bags larger than I thought I needed and trimmed them down once I attached the zipper.


The body of the jacket with the completed welts. Note that I decided not to make the chest pockets. I didn’t think they really added anything to the jacket so why bother?



Filed under Simplicity, Vintage Patterns, Year of the Jacket

Simplicity 2369 again and again

I loved this pattern so much that I decided to make another in this pink/camel paisley that so many of us bought from Lucy’s Fabrics about 5 years ago. This time I used the flutter sleeves for variety. This one is just perfect with little gold flats for running errands in this heat.


Being a repeat offender, I couldn’t resist making the elbow-length banded sleeve version in a marbled rayon/lycra (also from Lucy’s) for “fall”. Fall will be here on the calendar well before the temps ever reflect it’s arrival! I finished this in a couple of hours this afternoon. It still needs hemming but I’ll do that tomorrow while I’m cooking dinner.


This print was also offered in a coordinating chiffon so I used that for the ties and just made them a bit longer to take advantage of the drapiness of the fabric.


I know it’s weird that I’ve made three dresses from the same pattern but, aside from the surplice neckline, they won’t look like the same pattern to a non-sewer. Besides, half of the dresses in my closet have a surplice neckline! Now that I have a couple of new, cool summer dresses, I can move on to the next project! And, of course, I am planning jacket #8…


Filed under Simplicity

Simplicity 2369

Another winner from Simplicity! I’m a sucker for a surplice top or dress so I couldn’t resist this pattern when it came out. It’s well drafted and very quick and easy to put together. Love, love, love the shaped raglan sleeves. I made a straight 8 and just shortened the skirt by 3/4″ to hit me right at the knee.


This fabric is a super-soft rayon/lycra from Bestonline Fabrics (link in the sidebar). It’s been in my “collection” since last summer.


Bryan says this dress is, um, flattering. Heck, you can see that it makes Ethel’s boobs look enormous! I suspect the print may have something to do with that.



Filed under Simplicity

Bird Blouse

I finished up my voile “bird blouse” today. I just love it, it is going to be so cool to wear this summer. Again, the pattern is Simplicity 3786, which I have made several times before. This was a Summer 2009 favorite! The fabric came from Cynthia’s Fine Fabrics.


My favorite part of the pattern is the tucked front. I press-mark these tucks, making sure to measure carefully, because they are difficult to mark well on these lightweight fabrics.


As to the Wax Incident, I was able to get the wax out but not the remaining ring and stain so the dress is history. No worries, I’m over it now and will make it again after the 4th.

Last Sunday, I removed the drill cover from my pressing board and discovered that the wax had not only bled through both layers of drill but also through my padding so I was forced to start from scratch. Once I get the padding on the board I staple the first layer of drill on. The 2nd layer is then duct-taped on. When it gets dirty, I don’t have the tedious task of removing staples and can easily pull the cover off. I bought my drill at JoAnn’s and it is about the worst quality I have ever used. Get it somewhere else if you can.


Parting shot: A little unemployment humor from today’s Miami Herald. I’ve had a lot of experience with the latter in my personal life so it made me LOL! 😉



Filed under misc., Simplicity

Quick Summer Sewing

And I have cut out and made the front tucks in a pretty voile blouse from Simplicity 3786.


I made this a couple of times last summer and it is a wardrobe favorite. To refresh your memories, that is the pattern I used for my dotted Swiss blouse:


Each time I wear it I ask myself why I don’t have more!


Filed under Hot Patterns, Simplicity

White Pique Jacket

Well, you knew I wouldn’t be able to resist copying LindsayT’s white pique jacket! The moment I saw it I realized what a useful and versatile item it would be. This is the perfect little jacket to dress up a simple dress or even jeans and a tank top.

By all rights, this jacket should be lined or underlined. But it is so blistering hot here and this fabric is already pretty beefy so I couldn’t imagine adding another layer to it. Instead, I finished all the seams with a Hong Kong binding.


My friend Sharon (aka Sewinsiren) gave me two bags of silver hardware a couple of weeks ago so I used them here. I’ve been looking at a lot of jacket patterns from the ’60s lately and somehow I’ve incorporated a little bit of Mod into this version! This is actually my 2nd front. I didn’t like the way the pockets looked on the original darted front so I redrafted it with Princess seams and recut (luckily, I had enough fabric leftover!).




Filed under Simplicity, Year of the Jacket

Simplicity 7715 – Final!

I’m really happy with the way this turned out. It’s been awhile since I worked with a vintage pattern and I really enjoyed it. If I were to make this pattern again the one thing I’d do differently is sew the darts on the outside of the hood so that they aren’t so visible when the hood is worn down (since that’s the way I’ll be wearing it most often).

I ended up using silver cord ends (the type that you glue on) and skipped the cord locks altogether. Instead of making eyelets in the hood casing, I used size 00 grommets in silver.


I finished the hems and facings with a Hong Kong finish. All of the seams are bound for durability. I have to say I like the inside of the jacket as much as I do the outside!


Verdict: this is a really nice pattern that I would definitely make again (although not anytime in the near future since I don’t need two jackets like this).

Next up will be a quickie white pique jacket while I search for just the right cotton print to line my HP Wrapture Jacket.


Filed under Simplicity, Year of the Jacket

Simplicity 7715 – Part III

Last night I attached the hood and installed the zipper. I always buy my zips long since they can always be shortened. On a molded plastic separator the teeth can easily be cut off with a small diagonal cutter. When the teeth are metal they must be pulled off (I use a pair of needlenose pliers). Once that was done, I added new top stops.


I attached the facings this morning so all I have left are the sleeves, side seams and bottom casing. I had thought about shortening this but when I tried it on yesterday I found this longer length perfect for over a swimsuit yet still short enough that I don’t look like I forgot my pants when I’m wearing shorts.


I should have continued the zipper tape all the way into the neckline seam allowance. Honestly, I don’t know what in the world I was thinking! I think I’m so used to installing exposed zips that I was on auto-pilot. It would be way too much work to fix it and I don’t think it’s worth the effort for a casual throw-on jacket. We all make mistakes!



Filed under Simplicity, Year of the Jacket

Simplicity 7715 – Part II

I spent a lot of time out in the back yard this weekend and so didn’t get much sewing done. I’m in the process of a complete backyard overhaul and am trying to get as much accomplished while it’s still bearable to work outside.

Last night I constructed the jacket hood. I bound the hood seam (using my 1 1/4″ plate binder) and used a Hong Kong finish on the casing edge. I had a yard of white-on-white striped English shirting in my stash which adds a little interest to the inside of the jacket.


I also completed the pockets. Ordinarily, I would have reduced the seam allowances here to 1/4″ for better accuracy but I didn’t want to cut into the pattern in any way and was too lazy to trace off a copy. Instead, I made two photocopies of the pattern, sprayed the back with a tiny bit of KK-3000 and used this as my stitching template. Since the pockets are a focal point, I wanted the shape to be perfect.


I also attached the snaps since it’s easier to do that before the pockets are sewn to the fronts.


Since this is a functioning snap (even though there’s no need for it to be), I’ll be able to open out the pocket for topstitching onto the fronts.



Filed under Simplicity, Year of the Jacket

Simplicity 7715 – Part I

I spent some time this morning gathering up the supplies I need for my hooded jacket. I found some beautiful red cotton twill (from Spechler-Vogel – just gorgeous!) in my stash. It’s weighty enough for the jacket but lightweight enough for summer. I’ll also use a nice 2-way separator and white snaps on the pocket. I’m undecided whether to use white cord locks (definitely not these – they look a little off-white – but I have others) and ends or silver, we’ll see. These fantastic matte plastic snaps are from Snap Source. When they first started they had a wonderful selection of parallel-spring snaps (now they only sell prong-style, I believe) and, of course, I have a good supply of them.


When I opened the pattern up last night I was surprised to see that it was printed in two colors. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen that before. There are two garments in this pattern (jacket and pants) and the instructions are printed on one page. I think there was a lot less hand-holding back in 1976! Now to decide whether I’ll trace it off or cut it…


I also finished up another robe this morning. I bought this beautiful, sheer cotton on Ebay quite a few years ago with the intention of making a robe. It’s unusual for me to choose a print like this but you can see from the photo below that the fabric is quite sheer so a wild print provides a little modesty. Besides, sometimes it’s fun to use something different for loungewear!



Notice that I matched the print on the pockets so that they disappear. I also added bands to the sleeves for a little more interest.


I still have a little over 2 yards of this fabric left so I think I’ll make PJ pants. You can never have too many pairs!


Filed under Kwik-Sew, Simplicity, Year of the Jacket