A Fall Dog Walking Jacket

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.

Pattern adjustments….

  • 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.

Pocket dilemmas….

  • 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!

22 thoughts on “A Fall Dog Walking Jacket

  1. Very nice jacket, at first when you were making it, I kept feeling a Chanel Vibe going on. Homer looks like he enjoyed the photo shoot, or is he just thinking that he is ready for his walk now?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another gorgeous creation. I learn so much from your process and am constantly surprised to read your accounts of not being an absolute expert, because your pieces are so perfect to me. I guess you’re lucky to have an innate sense of style that I’m always striving for but find it difficult to learn. Anyway, thank you for sharing your process so honestly!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. An “expert” I am not. Trust me. Mostly, I’m just very slow and deliberate every step of the way. I’m never in a hurry. There is so much to learn, and each project I make teaches me something.

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  3. I find catching the bottom side of basis binding is easier when I do a narrow zig-zag on the top side. If I miss the bottom on one stitch, I catch it with the next stitch. Works even better when I iron the basis tape bottom a smidgen off center. Couture sewing I would probably do by hand.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, this could not be any better. The fine sewing techniques and that genius pocket topped off with the special copper button make it that special jacket that will be cherished for years. As always, thanks for bringing the best of tailoring to all of sewists who want to create our special wardrobe. 😉😎 oh, and Homer is a show stopper.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a great jacket. And that fabric looks every bit as lucious as it does frayable (sounds so much classier than my normal expressions). The stripe fabric at the sleeve cuffs – how far up the sleeve does it extend? It’s a really nice touch for if/when the sleeves are rolled up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Striped sleeve linings are a traditional menswear touch. I believe at one time, tailors had their own signature stripe that identified them as the maker. So two linings are used, striped for the sleeves and solid for the body.

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  6. This is beautiful! I love your pin as well. I hadn’t seen that method of reducing bulk at the edges before – it’s really clever. And finally, boooo continuous lap plackets, I don’t like them either!!

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  7. Wait! I manage to retrieve it. Yay. Such a lovely coat on a handsome man… or a handsome coat on a lovely man, if you prefer! Both true (from my read of everything you write, both here and on Instagram. But if I didn’t already think that, the fact that you regard your morning walk with your pup to be An Event would persuade me)! I found you and started following you during your construction of your beautiful Pierre Cardin coat. At the time, I was making a peacoat (worthy of withstanding Canadian winters) for my adult son and wading into menswear tailoring for the first time in my nearly 50 years of amateur sewing. Your work is impeccable and your taste exquisite, IMHO, yet you present the details of your process with such humility and honesty (hence, the “lovely,” above) that you make an otherwise daunting endeavor immediately accessible. Rare is the person, in my experience, who inspires and invites at the same time, as you do! I grew up in New England, near Biddeford, Maine, where my father’s family settled a few generations ago…but I’m sure it’s not for that reason, alone, that I consider the name of your website/blog to be the all-time most creative/inspired name, ever!!

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