I wrote in few previous posts, how much I was dreading to start this project. And when finally I convinced myself to stop procrastinating, and face my fears head on, it just rolled ahead. It was a long project, almost a month long, which is only fair. But it was also a very smooth project. I did not need to fix anything, I did not need to frustrate over some small detail not falling into place. I came, I took it and I made it.
And well, look, it’s no small feat! Now, after making my first proper jacket, I’m probably allowed to enter certain kind of free masons/sewists society! 🙂 Where only serious people are welcome! Alright, ok, jokes aside, let me tell the story of this Evergreen jacket, as I decided to call this fresh and beautiful wool awesomeness. At the end of this post I will leave few key technical details of the jacket making.
I bought this absolutely beautiful herringbone Yorkshire tweed back in autumn and had all sorts of ideas for it. At first I planned the dress. When I shared this exciting idea with my husband, he was like – you’re gonna look like a Christmas tree. It was Christmas time… Anyway, after that small incident, Christmas tree stood in front of my eyes each time I was contemplating any dress design for this fabric. Dress idea was abandoned. This fabric is solid medium weight, some good 300+ GSM, so for the dress it would have been a little bit too heavy anyway, thus I decided to give jacket a go.
The search for an appropriate design was long and tough, I eventually chose Vikisews Andrea design. It was the first time I’ve used Vikisews pattern. This was a pdf pattern, it had detailed instructions with photos, which was very helpful. Instructions are in Russian, though. I understand Russian language very well, but reading sewing instructions was very difficult. They might as well have been written in Latin, so unusual were all the sewing terms for me. Luckily, photos were demonstrating the process comprehensively.
At first I made the toile. Had little success in determining what alterations I should make. Toile was made of simple cotton fabric, whereas of course interfaced wool sits on the body in all sorts of different ways. It appeared to me that I should increase the chest size, thus making sleeve opening at the front a little bit smaller. Sleeves also appeared to need shortening. Luckily, I managed not to screw up the real garment while following wrong conclusions that I’d drawn after investigating the toile. Uncertain of my intentions, I ended up making only one real adjustment – I cut the sleeves 2 cm shorter (which was unnecessary, later I had to sacrifice hem allowance to compensate for that).
Immediately I made my first mistake – I cut the main fabric not having pressed it before cutting. When I started applying the interfacing, and thus subjecting fabric to heat and steam, longer pattern pieces changed the shape a little bit. Cutting the main fabric, lining, interfacing, applying interfacing, adjusting the pattern pieces after applying steam – all of that was practically day long exercise. I knew upfront that there will be a lot of work with all the innards of the jacket. And still I was surprised by how much is actually going on inside the jacket. Vikisews instructions thankfully are very comprehensive in that respect. They requested multiple ways of interfacing and described each step in much detail. I haven’t ever seen this level of meticulous detail in any other commercial instructions.
The most worrying part of the process for me was the construction of the lapels. I was honestly so not looking forward for it! But actually, interestingly enough, the entire neck enterprise came together just seamlessly (figuratively speaking 🙂 ). It looks rather intimidating – the left picture below – but in fact the logic of the construction is rather straightforward.
However, when the time for the sleeves came, I ended up sweating quite a bit. First, for some reason, I had a hard time smoothly easing the sleeve cap into the sleeve opening. It’s not like one can leave one or another pucker in the jacket shoulder! The sleeve cap seemed a little bit too big. Had to remove the tacking few times before somehow finally succeeding. But that was not the end of it. I had to install this white thing – whatever it is called (I actually don’t know how it’s called in any of the languages I speak, including native 🙂 ). I ended up cutting it up myself out of a piece of felt. Then the shoulder pads had to be attached. So shoulders and sleeve seams look rather sandwiched – right picture below. When I tried the jacket on at that stage, I determined that the top of the jacket was a little bit too wide around the chest (exactly the opposite of what I had concluded after making the toile). So I ended up taking in additional 0,5 cm in the front sleeve seam (two seams are visible on the far left of the right picture).
When I finally was happy with the sleeves, I figured, that from now on it should be easier. Making the lining was rather easy and quick. I decided to decorate the lining with narrow contrasting binding. Searched my linings stash and decided to go ahead with burgundy binding. Then an important decision had to be made on where to leave the opening to be able to turn the garment right side out. Instructions prompted to leave one side seam of the lining open. But it also prompted to attach sleeves lining to the main sleeves before attaching the sleeves to the body of the garment, which I did not follow.
Installing sleeves of any kind is a problem for me, and by the way, how would I be able to decide on the length of the sleeves, if the lining was already attached to the sleeves before the sleeves were installed. So I needed to plan quite a bit. I needed to have a large enough opening somewhere to be able to turn the garment right side out, and also to be able to finish sleeve hems. I ended up leaving two openings – in the side seam as prompted by instructions, and in the opposite sleeve lining. I did not like it. Regardless of how much I tried to neatly close these openings afterwards, it’s still not neat enough for me. I took very thin beading needle, worked slowly. I ended up redoing the main opening in the side seam for three times, and still am not happy with the finish. Next time I will leave the opening at the hem.
The last mission was to attach the buttons and make the button holes. My buttons from The Textile Garden took almost two months to arrive. They were sitting at customs, 10 km from me, for a month! That’s the ugly face of Brexit. Well, but they DID arrive, so I am not complaining too much. I made few tests for the button holes. Ended up concluding that my button hole foot with the button squeezed inside makes a little bit too big a hole. Adjusted for that, made the button holes, ironed my jacket, and – here it is!
This jacket is made using Vikisews Andrea jacket pattern. I needed 2 meters of 100 pct wool fabric which I bough at Fabworks online store. This is herringbone Yorkshire tweed, and the color is called Lush Mint. I used a little bit more than 1 meter of acetate+rayon lining, which I bought together with the main fabric, the color of the lining is called Blue Steel. Other notions were: a lot of interfacing, a lot of interfacing tape of two kinds, 2 shoulder pads, 2 felt things for the sleeve caps (one kind reader has clarified in the comment below that they are called sleeve heads), thread and buttons. I bought these beautiful buttons at The Textile Garden online store. This jacket cost me 94 EUR. It was made in March, 2021.
I did enjoy this project. I like this jacket. Is it absolutely perfect? Well, maybe not – it is very much reasonable to say that the fit could be better. Shoulders could be less sloping, chest area could be tighter. But hey, that’s my first jacket, and it is a decent and very much entertaining garment. I love this color. It shouts out about approaching spring. Can’t wait for it to finally come!
And here is my short list of things not to forget for my next jacket.
- Make the toile, but be careful in drawing conclusions out of it.
- By all means, press and steam the fabric before cutting – this will allow it to adjust and take on its natural shape.
- Make sure interfacing does not go outside the pattern pieces – if so, it will stick to the ironing board and make things messy.
- Interfaced pattern pieces have to cool down and rest laid flat.
- Check the interfaced pattern pieces with the paper pattern pieces, and then add any snips to reflect any notches.
- Interfacing is applied to: all front and front facing, neck bands, side pieces, top and hem of the back and sleeves. Curves are strengthened by adding interfacing tape on top of the main interfacing.
- While attaching the lining, leave the opening at the hem – that’s where the slip stitching will be the least visible.
That’ll be all about my first jacket! Now I will make a dress 🙂
Let’s all stay healthy!