With autumn becoming colder and colder I am now wearing all things wool. And do not plan to change my habits, especially as I do not need to! So all of my previously made jackets get worn interchangeably every day to the office. And clearly there are too few wool jackets, skirts or coats in my closet, which will have to be mitigated! So that’s what I’ll concentrate my efforts on for few months to come.
As a non-native English speaker at times I still get to learn how certain things are called. This time I have my doubts about two things at once. I have never come to properly understand, when a jacket is actually a jacket, and when it is a blazer. So don’t be too rough on me if I am using these two terms not exactly as they are supposed to be used (and please, help me out in the comments section below, if you can!) 🙂 And yet, I’m inclined to call my latest make the jacket, hope it is indeed! And then I really did not know how this fabric pattern should be called. One of the kind readers commented below that it is houndstooth tweed, and now I will know.
In the beginning of September I “slipped” once again and bought A LOT of wool fabric. So much that I needed to get one more shelf dedicated to all of my coatings / suitings. It is not ideal as I’m breaking the promise to myself not to hoard fabric. On the other hand, now I’m concentrated on using all this fabric up as much as I can. There currently are 8 fabrics on that new shelf meant mostly for coats, and some – for jackets. This one was one of them, and I am happy to have almost dealt with at least one from the pile!
Initially I was planning to make a very nice double-breasted jacket with large lapels from Burda 2022/09 issue. It felt as though this fabric was meant for that particular design. But then the creative director of the House of G (a.k.a. my dear husband) stepped in and criticized my choice of the design for this fabric, and so I had to pull out another idea which was to re-use another Burda pattern. This one comes from 2021/12 issue, and that one was approved! I have used this pattern for my Very special vintage jacket. It is a very good design indeed, and that’s what ended up being decided. So here we go – my new warm tweed jacket in a very nice, a bit vintage design.
I’ve written in few recent posts about how enjoyable it is to work with tweed. It still is. But, there are few issues with this fabric, that resurfaced recently and that I learnt about in the most unpleasant way. So my much loved wool duster / coat that I made last spring, is now damaged at the back as frequent wearing of it and especially sitting on it while driving a car ended up pulling those delicate fabric threads at the back. It’s not yet a hole, but very much a thin area of fabric at the back which is clearly visible. When I noticed it, I was so upset! But then I tried to console myself by deciding to fix it. I have a piece of that fabric still left, so hopefully it will be possible to patch that area somehow. I might even want to share this story in a post, when I get to it – let’s see.
Anyway, this incident prompted me to realize that tweed, although absolutely awesome fabric, is also unstable and delicate, and that it is probably worthwhile interfacing it at all times in order to avoid similar mishaps. So this jacket is almost fully interfaced. The only part that I left without applying interfacing to were middle sections of sleeves (only the front part, as elbow part is fully interfaced). This of course makes my jacket a bit heavier and thicker, but that’s fine – I want to be able to wear it for a long time!
Something else was different from the last time I used this pattern, and that was this meticulous fabric pattern to be matched all over the place! This is the third project this autumn where I engage in an obsessive matching exercise. And it is fairly surprising, that this does not somehow discourage me. Not that I would extensively love spending time for millimeters play, but I am not opposed to it either. And the final result is so satisfying for me that I can’t even tell! 🙂 So this time around I also started by determining what will be in the center of the garment, and went on from there by matching each subsequent pattern piece to the previous one. The same method was applied while making my recent plaid shacket that I just LOVE and wear all the time! At that moment in time my sewing room was a complete mess – I even took a photo and considered posting it on IG Stories, but then decided not to – too much mess there was! 🙂
The front pieces were cut first. Then I matched horizontal lines of the front with back pieces. The collar and collar stand pieces were cut without much matching, just making sure both of their corners look exactly the same and the same red stripe ran in the middle of all of them. I left cutting sleeves for later, when the body of the jacket would be constructed and colors could be matched. The first thing that had to be stitched were pockets. Of course, I absolutely needed to cut pockets so that they would completely blend into the front pieces. It is actually easier than it could appear. I’ve made a short reel on Instagram how to pattern-match pockets – check it out if you are curious to see how it’s done.
First, the pocket placement needs to be thread-marked on the front piece. Then the paper block of finished pocket gets put on the fabric where the actual pocket would be placed, and fabric pattern is drawn with a pencil on that pocket block. Then this block is transferred on to the fabric and the drawn lines are perfectly matched with fabric pattern. When that is pinned in place, the actual pocket block with all seam allowances is put on top so that the finished pocket block matches the lines within seam allowances on that other block. The actual pocket block then can be pinned in place and fabric can be finally cut. This method worked perfectly for me. I sewed pocket pieces up by lining them, turned to the right side, pressed, and stitched them in place in designated places by hand, thus avoiding the top stitching and making for a very neat finish of the pockets. Love how they turned out!
Next was the time to make a collar. It is a fairly simple design of the collar really. My task was a bit complicated by the fact that this fabric frays like h*ll. So I had to be careful not to let the collar stand to fall apart. I was helped by the fact that all pieces were of course interfaced, but the interfacing I used was that terribly annoying interfacing that I complained about in my post about the Jasika blazer – it kept on disattaching from the fabric and needed to get glued again from time to time. (I’d bought 6 meters of it, and when it is used up finally, I will never buy that one again! It sticks to the ironing cloth too and leaves ugly glue residue on it, I had to throw one of my ironing cloths already, so yeah – no no!)
When the collar was in place, nicely pressed and all, I proceeded by installing the front and back facing, and thus preparing for the lining to get attached a bit later. And then the time to start cutting sleeves came. I decided to match sleeves pattern so that horizontal stripes would continue from the body of the jacket onto sleeves as though uninterrupted (the same method I’d used for the plaid shacket recently). This essentially involves determining what lines / pattern are at the underarm of front and back, and cutting sleeves so that sleeve’s underarm would repeat the same lines / pattern. I do not know, if that’s the “official” method, well, it worked fine for me! Stitching sleeves up was easy, and setting them in was straightforward too – tweed is a very forgiving and flexible fabric, it is easy to shape sleeve heads in tweed.
With that the jacket had already turned into a semi-finished garment. I was able to try it on and concluded that it sits on me really well. The advantage of working with the pattern that had already been used before is that there is so much less questioning self about the fit. No need to try the WIP for a thousand of times trying to figure out if the fit is satisfactory. In this case I just sewed, and it was really nice, and also time saving.
Next step was to deal with all the innards of the jacket and set the lining in. I attached felt sleeve heads and shoulder pads, tacked collar pieces together from inside so that the jacket would be worn with ease and comfort. As always, the insides of the jacket looked messy and intimidating, but that’s how it is with them, that’s how they are supposed to look!
The making of the lining went without an incident. I just cut lining pattern pieces, stitched all pattern pieces together, and there it was. After a number of unpleasant lessons with previous coats, I now always tack the lining to the facing, thus making sure that the lining does not slip or shift while sewing. When I tacked it in place, I saw that the front lining pieces were by some 4 cm shorter than the length of the facing that the lining gets attached to. That’s when I sat there and had to think carefully. The problem on my hands was really caused by the fact that Burda patterns come without seam or hem allowances. I shared a proper rant about that in my post about my Vintage purple jacket. For that jacket I had cut main fabric with 4 cm hem allowance and lining with 3 cm hem allowance. The lining, when installed, was peaking out and I eventually had to rip the hem seam, cut the lining shorter and reattach it again. Having learnt from that, I’d decided this time to cut the main fabric with 4 cm hem allowance and lining with 1.5 cm hem allowance. And that’s why I was staring at too short a lining this time. What I eventually ended up doing was the following. I ripped the tacking of lining sides, pulled it a bit down so that the difference in lengths would be as small as possible (I managed to reduce it to 2 cm if compared to initial 4 cm), tacked again and finally stitched it. And then I just sewed the hem. It is not too bad, it looks fine, when it is finished. But I am still confused as to what to do with those different hem allowances for the main fabric and lining. This puzzle seems to be as permanent as my tough relationship with vents – I somehow deal with the facing hem and the lining, but each time am confused and lost.
When that was done, I ran a hidden catch stitch by hand to tack both sides of hem and sleeves hems in place, and the last bit was to make button holes and attach buttons. For the buttons, I chose special ones. Few weeks ago we visited my aunt who kept all of my grandma’s buttons after she passed away. My grandma was a seamstress, that’s partly why I sew now, and so it was important for me to at least see all those buttons. When checking out the box, I found some buttons that I recalled from my childhood when I played with them, it was a pretty emotional moment. My aunt then said that I was welcome to take those buttons with me. I was very happy to do that, and so that day I came back home with a decent box of vintage buttons. When I needed buttons for this jacket, first I opened my grandma’s box, and there they were – perfect burgundy buttons! I think they work very well for this jacket!
The making of the button holes was an ordeal, though. Actually, it always is! I do not quite remember a coat or jacket project where the button holes step would go without an incident! And this particular instance unfortunately was not an exception. I started by making the third or the lowest button hole, just to test how it would go. It came out a bit tilted. I swore and proceeded on to the other ones. Other two were sewn in fine, but while cutting them open I managed to cut into few threads, and both button holes started fraying. I swore again. I had been very cautious, I used my precision scissors and not a seam ripper, and still I managed to cut into thread (I’ve done that on almost every coat or jacket project in history, so things aren’t improving on that front). Luckily, there is a decent fix for this mishap – I stitch a short zigzag portion on the damaged area, and so those poor button holes get “patched”. Then I had to decide on what to do with the third skew one. After a bit of contemplation I ended up deciding to rip it and start all over again. And rip I did, tried again, and in the middle of the procedure I somehow touched that small sensor / guide thing protruding from the sewing machine that reads the length of the button hole as set on the button hole foot. Surely, the machine started stitching the end of the button hole right in the middle of the actual button hole! I was swearing wholeheartedly while ripping that second unsuccessful button hole. Finally, on the third attempt I managed to finish the button hole without an incident, and breathed a very well deserved sigh of relief. Buttons got attached quickly, I also embellished pockets by attaching the buttons to them, too. And with that my lovely tweed jacket was complete!
For this jacket I used some 1.40 m of 80% wool / 20% poly tweed that I had bought at my local fabric store. This fabric was of a very good 160 cm width, and I economized on the fabric very much in order to squeeze a matching skirt out of the same piece. There were 2 meters of this fabric initially, so I had to play a good puzzle game to make sure I could cut skirt pieces out of it, too. Actually, before cutting jacket sleeves, I pinned skirt pieces on just to make sure I wouldn’t cut sleeves awkwardly and then run out of fabric for the skirt. The pattern used here is a modified pattern #108 from Burda 2021/12 magazine. I cut it in size 36 and modified the fit quite a bit. Other notions used were: a lot of interfacing (I used lighter one for the entire front and back, and then added medium one for upper back part and sleeves), sturdy horsehair canvas on bias for chest parts, 1.3 m of viscose blend lining in burgundy, 2 felt sleeve heads, 2 shoulder pads, 5 24 mm buttons, and coordinating thread (Gutermann no. 46). This jacket cost me 57 Eur, it was made in October, 2022.
I really like my new jacket! I am really proud of matching all those burgundy and green stripes in all directions around the entire jacket. That’s how I think I’ve moved an inch closer to haute couture quality! 😎
And now I am working on the matching skirt that will end up being quite short, as there was little fabric left for it! So these two will hopefully make for a flattering ensemble. Meanwhile, I intend to style this jacket with some chino pants and a light sweater or a T-shirt. Am pretty sure I’ll invent many more styles to wear it as part of. The jacket is quite thick actually, that’s because this fabric is thick itself, and then it is thoroughly interfaced. I hope that will be a good thing and that the jacket will be warm to provide me comfort in winter. And of course, I would not be me if I hadn’t thought of shoes and a bag to style it with! So here they are – my burgundy loafers and my fancy burgundy handbag that in my view go perfectly with this jacket! Love this very much and looking forward to finishing the skirt. Will then write a short post about my styling journey of the two!
Let there be peace in the world! 💙💛