Here she is– my first make of 2013, and my very first jacket! I’m so excited to add this little piece to my wardrobe!
This is my January contribution to the Mood Sewing Network. I went to Mood NYC with every intention of leaving with a bright, saturated fabric, but once I laid eyes on this gorgeous Ralph Lauren wool, I couldn’t put it back! It’s a twill-weave suiting with lots of drape, and the warm, paprika-red shade is really easy for me to wear. I picked out a fun silk charmeuse in a Tetris-like print for a contrast lining.
I used Colette Patterns’ Anise jacket pattern, which is perfect for beginners. I bought the The Anise Companion when it was on sale a while back, and it’s a great confidence booster if you haven’t sewn a jacket before. There’s quite a bit of helpful information about how to correct various fit issues, but as it’s pretty straightforward to fit, you probably don’t need the companion guide if you’re an intermediate (or beyond) sewist.
The whole jacket is underlined with lightweight muslin, which helped to stabilize and secure the fabric (like most twill weaves, this stuff frays like a mother!). I used Pro-Weft Supreme Medium-Weight Fusible Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply after Gertie recommended it for her coat sew-along. The interfacing feels like a quality product and didn’t pill, bubble, or come unglued the way that cheaper products sometimes do.
The shoulder pads gave me a bit of trouble. I used 1/4″ shoulder pads, and I had a great deal of difficulty getting them to lie nicely and not look lumpy and unattractive where they meet the sleeve. I think this was due to my fabric– since it’s a drapey, lighter-weight wool, the pads were really visible. I solved the problem (mostly) by drafting sleeve heads out of cotton batting (instructions for how to do this are included in the Anise companion). The weight of the batting makes the sleeve cap a bit more substantial, so it looks worlds better now.
I made a size 4, but cut the shoulders and sleeve caps as a size 2. If I made this again, I would narrow the sleeves a bit more as they’re a tiny bit baggy (I was worried that they would be too tight once they were lined and I had a shirt on underneath the jacket). I also added 2″ to the length to keep a cropped, vintage feel but avoid flashing my
tramp stamp lower back when I bend over (don’t worry, ma, only kidding!).
The jacket comes together easily, but it’s really time-consuming. I spent basically every spare evening/weekend moment this month working on it (granted, I’m pretty slow, but still…). Steps like constructing the welt pockets are explained really clearly, but they do take time to do correctly. I hand-basted the markings for the buttons and buttonholes, hand-stitched the lining pieces together to avoid slippage when I sewed them, and spent ages pressing and steaming to get everything to look right. I’m really glad that I took the time to do a good job, but it was really hard to keep other projects and ideas on the back burner while I slogged away at this one for a month.
This jacket is a little dressier than what I usually wear day-to-day, so I just machine-stitched buttonholes and used 1″ faux-tortoise buttons to keep it looking casual. But I think this would look really cute (and very early ’60’s) with bound buttonholes and covered buttons, maybe even paired with a skirt to make a sweet little suit.
Overall, I’m happy with this jacket and think it looks alright for a first attempt (although it’s definitely not perfect). The wool suiting is really easy to work with, too. It presses neatly, is warm but lightweight, and the seams aren’t bulky at all. I highly recommend the pattern for anyone looking to make their first jacket. But I can definitely say that I’m looking forward to making a few quick and dirty projects after this one!
What about you guys? Are you tailoring fiends, or are you working up the nerve to make your first jacket? Do you like investing time in slow projects, or do you prefer to sew a top in a day?
[Note: If you’re a Mood Sewing Network reader, you may notice that my posts are different there than here on my blog. I keep my posts pretty brief over on MSN, but I thought that you guys might want to read more details about construction and the pattern.]