Project: Vogue 9820 (1959) Jacket, Part 8

Readers,

Here it is: the jacket I spent more than a decade dreaming of making. After more hours than I care to say, it’s 99 percent done.  And it measures up to my expectations, which is pretty fantastic.

A soft and very comfortable jacket.

A soft and very comfortable jacket.

You know that feeling of sliding on a coat or jacket that feels exactly right? The right fit in the shoulders, the right sleeve length, the right drape? The right color, proportion, style?  I have that feeling wearing this.

When I finished this jacket late this afternoon it was sleeting–awful for outdoor photos– and dim indoors in my makeshift photo space. I rolled out the seamless and Jack took a few shots. I will run more photos when we get better light conditions.

Two units are sewn together to make this jacket.

Two units are sewn together to make this jacket: the under collar plus the outer fabric, and the upper collar plus the flannel-backed lining.

Once again, this project took many more hours to complete than I expected. How come I’m so terrible at estimating project times?

I just wanted to show you some of the inner workings of a jacket. I decided to underline the front, back, and upper sleeve lining pieces with thin flannel for extra warmth. I had some thin, cheap cotton flannel just right for this application. The flannel-backed lining has a nice weight and feels luxurious.

Thin, cheap cotton flannel lines the lining pieces for warmth and a luxurious padded feeling.

Thin, cheap cotton flannel lines the lining pieces for warmth and a luxurious padded feeling.

I also wanted you to see that much of the work of making a jacket comes from the “supporting cast” of hair canvas in the under collar, sleeve and bottom hems, muslin interfacings, sleeve heads to plump up the sleeve caps, shoulder pads, and the flannel-backed lining. In a finished jacket you don’t see these things, but they affect drape and performance so much. Kenneth King, frequent Threads magazine contributor, says “The fashion fabric is only along for the ride!” That’s such a good way to put it.

The pattern that captured my imagination.

The pattern that captured my imagination.

There is something left to decide before I can call this jacket truly done. There is too much play between the upper and lower collars. I could stabilize the collar with topstitching or with a method called “stitch in the ditch.” I’ll get advice on this at my next coatmaking class in a couple of days.

Tomorrow I’ll vacuum up the thread snippings and fabric scraps, fold up the jacket pattern and clear the work tables.  I have a trench coat to sew.

Next: this 1944 pattern.

Next: this 1944 pattern.

Project: Butterick 5542 (1930s), Jacket, part 8

Readers,

There may still be snow in the yard, but I'm one step closer to summer in this linen jacket.

There may still be snow in the yard, but I’m one step closer to summer in this linen jacket.

I finished my linen jacket today. Overall I’m really satisfied with how it turned out, especially since this was the first time I’d made up this pattern.

What worked well?

  • The fit.  This jacket really does feel like it was made for me. I like the length, the sleeve length, the fit in the shoulders, the high underarm allowing great range of movement, and the close fit without binding. Being a student of Edith, I made a muslin.
    This 1930s jacket is period, yet modern.  It's not a museum piece.

    This 1930s jacket is period, yet modern. It’s not a museum piece.

    She checked it for fit and made some minor adjustments. When I put together the wearable test I thought there was a little too much fabric creating a hollow between the lapel and shoulder seam.  Michele at Treadle Yard Goods pinched out the excess and showed me how to adjust the front pattern piece. So before I cut into my beautiful linen, I had a fair chance at a good fit.

  • The fabric.
    Art Deco-era buttons on a summer linen inspire the making of a 1930s jacket.

    Art Deco-era buttons on a summer linen inspire the making of a 1930s jacket.

    This blue and white cross-dye linen is such a perfect partner for the muted blue of my vintage buttons. It’s also a wonderful weight for the garment. I bought this linen in 2012 at Treadle Yard Goods in St. Paul, MN.

  • The silk organza underlining.  It weighs almost nothing but gives body to the linen.  Several Threads magazine articles and Claire Shaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide recommend using silk organza to reduce linen’s wrinkling.  I’ll be sure to let you know if that turns out to be true for this jacket.  I will also underline the matching skirt I’ll make.

    The silk organza underlining with the fusible woven interfacing for additional support at shoulder and down center front. It will be hand-basted to the front (right). The other front (left) has been underlined.

    The silk organza underlining with the fusible woven interfacing for additional support at shoulder and down center front. It was going to be hand-basted to the front (right). The other front (left) has already been underlined.

  • The patch pockets and flaps.
  • The red flat piping inserted between the facing and lining.
    Just as I had hoped, the red flat piping is a snappy addition.

    Just as I had hoped, the red flat piping is a snappy addition.

    It took practice to stitch it in very evenly, but was worth the effort. It’s one of those touches I’ll enjoy every time I put on my jacket (–or take it off ostentatiously).

  • The notched-lapel sewing went well. Notched lapels used to intimidate me. Now I’m alert yet relaxed when I sew them.

What would I like to improve on next time?

  • The bound buttonholes. I’m not dissatisfied with these; they’re just tricky little busters to get consistently right.  I was especially concerned about making them  durable.
    Bound buttonhole seen from the facing side. The goal is to make windowpane openings that center over the buttonholes in the fronts. I was off by 1/8 inch here. Quite difficult to get five all centered.

    Bound buttonhole seen from the facing side. The goal is to make windowpane openings that center over the buttonholes in the fronts. I was off by 1/8 inch here. Quite difficult to get five all centered.

    The linen is ravelly, and any loose stitching could eventually come out and the buttonholes would come apart.  I went to possibly extreme lengths to use a finishing method on the facing side that would stand up to a couple hundred wearings over the years. I may advocate slow sewing, but making windowpanes in the facings that align with the buttonholes in the fronts would test many a slow sewer’s patience.  The results were mixed at best.  I’ll research other bound buttonhole methods for next time.

  • The positioning of the top buttonhole.
    The buttonhole is not positioned correctly, a defect in the original pattern piece, I think.

    The buttonhole is not positioned correctly, a defect in the original pattern piece, I think.

    I used the location on the original pattern piece, but the pattern seems to be wrong. The lapel doesn’t sit quite right.  I may end up leaving the top button unbuttoned.

What’s next?  Follow-through:

  • Reading all the notes I made, and summarizing the lessons I learned and best sources to consult so I can slash my cutting and construction times in half.
  • Sew a simple, contemporary skirt from the remaining yardage.
  • Plan ensembles around this garment.  Too often I’ve sewn garments without enough thought to making complete outfits.  More on this subject coming soon.
  • Have good photos taken in June when I’ll see my photographer, my sister Cynthia.
  • Wear it and enjoy it!

    These delightful buttons came from the same shop in Edinburgh.  They deserve their own jacket, don't they?

    These delightful buttons came from the same shop in Edinburgh. They deserve their own jacket, don’t they?

Project: Butterick 5542 (1930s), Jacket, part 6

Readers,

Work continues, slow but sure.  As I’ve noted before, it’s been the interfacing decisions that have taken the lion’s share of the work.  And interfacings are not photogenic. But I’m happy with my progress.

Jacket pieces underlined with silk organza.

Jacket pieces underlined with silk organza.

Silk organza is very light, with a crisp hand.  It’s almost transparent.

The silk organza underlining with the fusible woven interfacing for additional support at shoulder and down center front. It will be hand-basted to the front (right). The other front (left) has been underlined.

The silk organza underlining with the fusible woven interfacing for additional support at shoulder and down center front. It will be hand-basted to the front (right). The other front (left) has been underlined.

Yesterday I underlined all the jacket pieces with it to add just a little crispness to the linen and limit wrinkling. I couldn’t believe how long it took me to hand-baste the organza pieces to the linen. But I think my efforts will be rewarded.

The fronts are getting a little more support in the shoulders and down the center fronts, to define the closure and support the buttonholes and buttons, with a fusible woven interfacing fused to the underlining

I stitched the lined patch pockets today and edgestitched them to the fronts.

The fronts, with darts stitched and lined patch pockets applied. It's just beginning to look like a garment!

The fronts, with darts stitched and lined patch pockets applied. It’s just beginning to look like a garment!

The patch pocket piece is not symmetrical: one lower corner is more rounded than the other.  Another jacket I made, from a 1941 pattern, had this very same type of pocket.  I wonder whether there’s any practical or design reason for the difference in the roundedness of the corners.  The pattern illustration doesn’t make this distinction and there’s no indication whether the more rounded corner is supposed to go toward the center front or the side.

The original pocket piece from which I made this tracing is not symmetrical. Is that a style statment?

The original pocket piece from which I made this tracing is not symmetrical. Is that a style statement?

Then again, maybe the previous sewer eighty years ago just shaved a bit of pattern tissue off one corner as she was cutting out her pocket pieces.

This pocket mystery merits further research.  If I make any discoveries, I’ll pass them on. I like pockets. Any excuse will do to work them into the conversation.

So ends Part the Sixth of this jacket chronicle.

Worth the wait.

Worth the wait.