The Jacket that took forever

I don’t make a lot of jackets. Now I remember why. So much time.. too many tailoring details. Double the work if you are lining the jacket. Do it all at least three times if you make a muslin first!

This jacket was planned soon after a skirt (The Vintage Skirt!) was made back in November last year and I realised I had nothing to wear with it nor any shoes that worked with the colours.

Getting some shoes was easy. Within a week I had a pair of silver leather straps masquerading as sandals.

The top? Well a vintage pencil skirt should have a tailored jacket.

I settled on a jacket pattern after seeing Karen’s plaid and leather rendition of 01-2008-127. But I wasn’t planning on being brave enough to do bound buttonholes and welt pockets..

Here’s the fashion photo from the magazine of the jacket with the matching skirt and the line drawing of the jacket:

I had just the right fabric in the stash for this pattern and it coordinated well with the skirt. It’s a very interesting fabric: a nylon/linen blend with the white, shiny, and very fine nylon thread in the warp and thicker aqua linen thread in the weft.

The fabric and the skirt hung around together on a skirt hanger in the cutting room (AKA the dining room), silently willing me to get on with it….until the room had to be readied for the big family Christmas dinner. Then the fabric went back into stash.

Finally, other projects got finished and it felt right to start on this project. Never mind that by this time it was high summer and the jacket and skirt was definitely a spring outfit. Now that its finished, summer is well past..oh well, I’m ready for next spring.

Inspired by all the clever seamstresses on the net that end up with perfect fitting garments, I made a muslin from a reasonably heavy weight muslin.

The fit in the muslin wasn’t bad as drafted, but one doesn’t make a muslin and then not tweak the fit further! I didn’t do much (see details below) and this didn’t perfect the fit, but it was close enough, especially in the less rigid fabric of the real jacket. Of course, you can’t see that because I haven’t yet got a photo of the jacket on me, so you’ll just have to trust me!

Things I learned (sometimes for the second time..) with this project

  • Sewing jackets is time-consuming, especially ones that are lined and tailored.
  • Muslins are a good idea. But they add to the overall sewing time.
  • A Hong Kong finish requiring 15 metres of bias fabric strips might not be more work than fully lining a jacket…but, when you realise you have to cut out 15 metres of bias strips…well… lining seems like a much better idea. And if you have cute vintage lining fabric and your top fabric is a bit see through …lining it was!
    (Rory seems to like it too)
  • Zigzagging and then trimming seams is a much longer process than overlocking and doesn’t look as good from the inside, but for some fabrics overlocking just adds too much bulk. I know I probably didn’t need to finish the seams since I was lining the jacket, but the fabric really likes fraying.
  • Silk organza probably is better than polyester organza as an interfacing, but it is easy to forgive the slipperiness of the polyester organza when you are not spending $30 per metre on interfacing. I envy those of you in the States how can buy silk organza at $6 per yard! And, really, is silk necessary in a jacket with nylon and acetate in its fabrics? Or is polyester more appropriate?? If you are interested in other’s views on silk organza, Gertie blogs about using silk organza to stabilize necklines here,  and Sherry talks about underlining in silk organza in this post
  • Adding in organza strips  to the hems is a great way to get crispness when you don’t want to iron the edges flat. The day after I did this, Sherry posted about using nylon net for a similar purpose. That would probably have worked even better.
  • Having a button stash sometimes doesn’t help with decision-making, but it was fun to look at all my buttons and make other people in the house express opinions  (mostly ignored, of course)  AND it did mean I could finish the project  late at night when the shops are shut.

  • Sewing tailored and lined jackets is time-consuming. Did I say that already?
  • And finally.. I found out that making decisions on the go, depending on what I feel like, and what the fabrics and pattern seem to be telling me, is more enjoyable than I realised. Perhaps I’m more ‘organic’ and not so much of a control freak as I thought? Who would have thought that dressmaking could result in such insight!

(More) Technical details

Pattern: Burdastyle 01-2008-127

I omitted the sleeve turn backs and the welt pockets on the front.

I think the sleeve pattern is wrongly marked for easing at the sleeve head because the end of the ease stitching is not the same front and back. I took the ease stitching down a further 7 cm on the back (i.e. past the upper and lower sleeve seam. This looked a lot better. I used a stitch length just a smidge more than the length I was using for the regular stitch for the ease stitching just enough to easily pull up the thread but no more. This stopped the big tucks and made the sleeve heads much more eased. Why haven’t I done this before??!

Size: 42, with the following changes:

  • 1 cm sloping shoulder adjustment (sloped down from the princess seam)
  • 1 cm horizontal tuck through the back (what weird figure ‘difference’ is that?? Short back??)
  • Increased length of back darts and took in the back princess seams over my shoulder blades (narrow back?)

All up, I think this means I have a narrow short back with broad sloping shoulders. And a short torso and prominent butt (or more nicely known as a swayback)? Wow, the things I discover about myself! It was so much easier just thinking I was a size 42!


Nylon/Linen blend for outer, vintage acetate lining fabric with a paisley design for the lining, polyester organza for interfacing the belt, collar and front and around the sleeve and jacket hems.

The linen/nylon blend sewed like a dream, finger pressed beautifully but shredded very, very readily, especially the linen weft thread. Another great purchase from a Gay Naffine fabric sale a season or so ago.

Here’s the back view

6 thoughts on “The Jacket that took forever

  1. The jacket that took forever looks great! Nice colours and great sewing. There is a lot of sewing in a jacket, especially if you interline as well as line it. There is even more sewing in a coat, it’s amazing how the extra length just takes that much longer…. now you are obviously a sucker for punishment because you have signed up for the jacket sewalong. So get out your best long suffering self and get ready to make the ‘ultimate’ jacket!

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