Category Archives: Year of the Jacket

Embellished Jacket – Part I

I am really enjoying my mini-sewcation and, despite a slow start, actually accomplished quite a lot this weekend. A couple of people had asked about the sizing of this pattern and, yes, it is a tall. I had to take 2 inches out of the length of the torso and I also narrowed the shoulders by an inch. I know they are supposed to be dropped but they were a little overwhelming on my short frame. I haven’t cut the sleeves out yet but it looks like I’ll be taking 2″ out in length there as well.

The body goes together easily and quickly but, of course, I had to make it harder by flat-felling most of the seams. Not only does it look nice inside and out but the flat-felling also adds a little structure to the wool crepe. I can’t remember if I mentioned this in a previous post or not, but I prewashed and dried the fabric three times. The texture is absolutely wonderful but since I have a front-loading washer it is naturally not as fulled as it could have been in a washer with an agitator.

I added 5/8″ to all outside edges and turned it towards the trim side and hand-stitched it down. In the front where the collar turns, the trim/hem must change direction so I staystitched and clipped that spot so that all of the hemming is hidden under the trim.



Speaking of hand-sewing, I did an awful lot of it on this jacket! Normally I do very little handsewing, only when it adds something to the garment. I don’t like to do it as a work-around. In this case, machine stitching the petersham to the garment left it too stiff so I decided to attach it with a hand-felling stitch instead. Many episodes of CSI later, I’m glad I did. I should mention that the pattern calls for 2″ wide petersham and I accidentally purchased 1.5″ (forgot my glasses again!) which really worked out perfectly. I think the 2″ would have been much too heavy.


I shopped around quite a lot for trims last week. Not only did I not find anything that I really loved but, due to the yardage needed, anything decent-looking would have been cost-prohibitive. I was looking for better than decent (more like over-the-top) and those trims started at $50/yd, eek! So, I decided to use hot-fix studs which give me lots of impact, are reasonably fast to attach and quite lightweight. Plus, mitering the corners is so easy (too bad they cover up my pretty petersham miters!).


Tomorrow I will finish attaching the studs and then cut and set the sleeves. I’m pretty pleased with this so far!



Filed under Burda Style Downloads, Year of the Jacket

Never Say Never!

I have always said that, when it comes to printing .pdf patterns, I need a remedial class. No matter what I do, the patterns never seem to print out at the correct size and I waste hours of time, kill a tree or two, and end up with nothing. So, years ago, I filed .pdf patterns in my Life’s Too Short folder and moved on. Until today, that is. But then, who could blame me? How could I pass up this little bit of deliciousness on Burda Style?


Oh sure, I could have found something similar in my vast pattern collection or just drafted it myself but I wanted *this* pattern. So, patiently I sat printing out test square after test square until I got it just right. Twenty-eight pages later, I am ready to tape! I don’t think I’ll be making a habit of this but I’m happy that I was able to get it right (or so I hope!).

Now, I just need to find the proper over-the-top trimmings and put this one in my jacket queue.

1/5/11 ETA: Okay, I feel like an idiot! Elizabeth commented that she thought this jacket was in the Burda Style magazine a few months ago. I didn’t remember seeing it but I had misplaced both 9/2010 and 10/2010 so I tore my house apart last night and and, lo and behold, there it was in the October issue. Looking at the photo now I can see why it wasn’t very memorable. I think this may be one of the worst garment photos I’ve ever seen in Burda Style. It looks like some weird jacket with suspenders.


I have decided to make this in black wool crepe which I’ve now washed and dried three times – it’s so yummy soft now! I bought the petersham ribbon today but I’m really going to have to put my thinking cap on when it comes to the embellishments. This requires nearly 6 yards of trim and anything as heavily embellished as what Burda used would be cost prohibitive so I’ll have to make my own.


Filed under Burda Style Downloads, Year of the Jacket

The Year of the Jacket 2010 – in Review

I will probably finish one more jacket yet before the end of the year but I thought it would be fun to look back at what I have already completed. I know some people were concerned about joining the Stitcher’s Guild sew-along for 2011 because they thought they’d have to make 12 tailored, lined jackets – not so! While I love making them, they are not really wearable here during the warmer months. A jacket can be as complicated as a notch-collared style with welts and hand padstitching or as simple as a linen shirt jacket or jean jacket. There are no rules so join in – the more the merrier!


#1 McCall’s 5984


#2 McCall’s 5984


#3 Simplicity 2443


#4 Simplicity 2443 (modified)

#5 Simplicity 7715 (vintage)

#6 Simplicity 2443 (modified)


#7 McCall’s 5860


#8 McCall’s 5635 (modified)


#9 Simplicity 5440 (vintage, modified)

#10 Hot Patterns Riviera Blvd. Jacket


#11 Simplicity 4109


#12 Simplicity 2508

#13 Burda Style 10/2009 #109
duffle coat


Filed under Burda WOF, Hot Patterns, McCall's, Simplicity, Vintage Patterns, Year of the Jacket

Duffle Coat – Final

I spent most of yesterday experimenting with different ways to make the toggles (good thing I had lots of leather in my stash!). I finally decided to copy the toggles from Burda Style.

First, I made my own leather cording. I cut 1″ wide strips of leather with a rotary cutter and quilting ruler.


I folded them in half and edgestitched along the fold before trimming away the excess (oops, I forgot to photograph that step but you get the idea).



For the patch (I’m sure it has a name but I don’t know what it is), I cut a 1.75″ by 3″ piece of leather and punched a hole in the center of one side with my trusty old revolving leather punch.


Thread the toggles onto the cord and pull the cord ends through the hole of the patch. Secure the cord ends to the back of the patch and then trim off the excess.



For extra security and to make them easier to handle during sewing, I glued the patch together with Tandy leather glue (my favorite!). Lastly, I coated all of the raw edges with Edgekote. The Edgekote isn’t a must but I like the way it finishes the edges.



It’s a beautiful, crisp winter’s day here in Florida so I thought I’d photograph the coat outside. I love this coat so much that I definitely want to make another, shorter version.


Here’s the back of the lining,


and the front. This lining is very pretty (and Burberry-esque!) but it was awful to work with – soooo ravelly.


My next project is a lambskin jacket but I don’t know how much, if anything, I will get done this week. I’ll feel great if I get the pattern fitted and maybe cut out a test garment but I’m not going to stress about it.

Parting shot: Bryan insists on trying to dress up the kitties. Last year, he put a doggie Christmas dress on Ricki! Mrs. Whiskers is here to tell you she doesn’t like it. Silly man!


Merry Christmas!


Filed under Burda WOF, Tutorials, Year of the Jacket

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

Simplicity 2508 – Final!

I am finally finished with this jacket, just in time to wear to the football game tonight and (drumroll, please) I get to move the ticker to twelve! But, as I said before, I will be passing twelve by at least one, probably two pieces. Not only did I really enjoy making all of these jackets but they have also really upgraded my wardrobe. A jacket makes even jeans and a tee look put-together, don’t you think? So, I think I may do another Year of the Jacket in 2011!

I am really pleased with how this jacket turned out. Working with velvet, even cotton velvet, requires more patience than most fabrics but it was worth it.



Here’s a closeup of the collar. These vintage buttons are just perfect for the fabric and style, don’t you think? They’ve been in my collection at least 10 years!


Hang chain:


Question: do you ever do something and look at it later and wonder what in the heck you were thinking? Especially something you’ve done many times before? As I started to hem my jacket last night I realized that I sewed the hair canvas into the hem backwards. Yes, I applied it the way you would a fusible, duh on me. Thankfully, it only took a few minutes to correct.



On the side front I wanted the hem to have the same soft roll but didn’t want the stiffness of hair canvas so I used bias-cut strips of cotton flannel (leftover from my Isabel Marant jacket) instead.


The lining in my jacket is Ambiance with a Tahari logo that I purchased at Mill End in Portland about ten years ago. Since I started using silk (especially charmeuse, yum) for linings I haven’t been as satisfied with Ambiance but I will try to use up what I have so that it doesn’t go to waste.


Next up, a quick duffle coat before I get to the leather jacket. It’s freezing here! This will be a fast project as the pattern is easy and I’m using wool (which practically sews itself). The wool will be a joy after working on velvet, that’s for sure.


I was hoping to emulate a Burberry duffle coat (which is double-sided wool with bound seams) and underline my fabric with a pretty plaid wool but no luck finding anything locally. I did find this yarn-dyed Burberry-inspired lining fabric at Cynthia’s so I will just line as per the pattern.


I found these fabulous horn toggles on Ebay HERE. Six pieces for under $8 with shipping! I ordered them two days ago and they arrived today. They are the real thing and beautiful!


Out of desperation, I bought some JHB horn toggles at JoAnn’s last week and they are real horn but they’re laminated (thin layers of horn are glued together and then shaped) and cost $3.59 each. I liked these from Ebay so much (and the seller was awesome!) that I ordered two more sets because I know I want to make another duffle coat somewhere down the line. The shipping was the same for two sets so it was an even better deal. I’m happy to return the others to JoAnn’s – I really wasn’t happy with the color or the quality anyway.



Filed under Simplicity, Year of the Jacket

Simplicity 2508 – Part VI

Yes, I’m still laboring along on this jacket but I do hope to finish it up tomorrow. All I have left is attaching the collar, front facing and putting in the lining. My next project is going to be a quick wool duffel jacket (it’s cold!) and, after working with cotton velvet, the wool will practically sew itself! Don’t get me wrong, I love velvet but it’s not the easiest thing to tailor.

Last night I made buttonholes in the tabs and pocket flaps and attached the pockets and flaps. And, woohoo, I really did have enough of these vintage buttons!



I also let out the seams in the back to get rid of that pulling. I had tried to nip in the waist a little too much. It looked fine when I pin fit it but I didn’t have the belt pinned on which made a huge difference.



Filed under Simplicity, Year of the Jacket