OK, call me crazy but I like to get dressed up a bit to walk the dog (my sweet schnauzer Homer). It’s a special time between us, usually early enough in the morning that it’s just the two of us out in the neighborhood. It’s such a great way to start the day. After a cup of coffee, mind you.
I love making outerwear, so the changing season has been an excellent excuse to make a Fall jacket.
Enter Simplicity 6284. A shirt that can also be a jacket. (Just another reason to LOVE vintage menswear patterns!). Peter Lapin over at Male Pattern Boldness declared this to be “very Richard Chamberlain”. Gotta love it!
I fell hard for this cotton/ linen/ rayon tweed from Stylemaker Fabrics, and it was perfect for this project. I picked up the linings, buttons and other assorted tailoring supplies at this summer’s MPB Day. I found a gray polyester suiting at my local JoAnn’s for the bias binding. So with materials at hand, I embarked on turning a shirt into a tailored jacket.
- Lengthened the body by 1″
- shortened the sleeves by 2″
- Removed one of the sleeve pleats
- Curved the lower front edges
I used some new tailoring techniques for this jacket, thanks to Edna Bishop’s book, The Bishop Method of Clothing Construction . Old as it is, I just love this book. It’s written “pre fusibles”, so it’s loaded with techniques for using hair canvas interfacing (essential for menswear tailoring IMO).
The front edges of this jacket will be wrapped with a bias binding, which runs the risk of being too bulky. To reduce the bulk, muslin is stitched to the canvas about 2″ from the edge. Then the canvas is trimmed away, leaving just the muslin at the edge.
Here I’m basting the canvas to the jacket front which has been underlined with cotton flannel. (Note: I had to go back and trim the flannel away from the front edges to reduce even more bulk). I’m just making this up as I go along, so I’m always letting the fabric tell me what it needs. Sometimes that means taking a step backwards.
More new territory….. a continuous lap placket. To be honest, I’d be very happy if I never make one of these again. The seam allowances involved in this technique are very small…. dangerously small. I practiced twice on some scraps before launching into the real thing. Because the tweed is highly frayable (is that a word?), I reinforced the placket with a strip of silk organza. I finished them off with some handstitching, which so often seems like the best approach.
The bias binding was made using one of the Clover gizmos. They’re so much fun to use. I started basting the binding on, and it quickly became apparent that I was never going to be able to sew it on by machine. The chance of catching the underside of the binding while edgestitching the top is a crap shoot, at best. So…… yet another instance when handstitching is the best option. This approach gave me total control, and I love the result. Worth every minute of the time it took.
I should also note that the linings for this project are from AK Fabrics in NYC. They have the best selection in the city IMO. I always find something perfect, and the iridescent salmon lining for this jacket is no exception. I will always hate working with polyester acetate. But when it’s this gorgeous, it makes it all worthwhile.
- Zipper — too harsh. (Maybe if it had been available on a gray tape)
- Welt — too bulky, jarring
- Bias bound — too clunky (but getting closer)
The final design. Complete with a vintage Stuart Nye copper pinecone pin.
More tailoring geekery. Setting the sleeves, with a bonus view of the secret flannel underlining.
The completed jacket.
Worn with a floral shirt that I made years ago. Thread Theory Jedediah pants.
And, of course……. the reason for the whole project!
Completely gratuitous Homer pics …..
Roll the credits…..
Stylemaker Fabrics — Cotton, linen, rayon tweed.
AK Fabrics — lining fabrics
Fashion Sewing Supply — hair canvas interfacing, silk organza, shirt crisp sew in.
Pacific Trimming — buttons
As always, I am so grateful for all the support I receive from the sewing community. Be well, and happy Fall sewing!