Monday, April 6, 2009

The Great Debate Jacket

Wow, the time is flying by with this SWAP. At my count, I have six of the eleven pieces done; three tops, two bottoms, and now the jacket.

I used Butterick 5332, which stood out in the catalog because of the fun yoke and topstitching. I chose to make the double breasted jacket, mainly because I found some great buttons and wanted to showcase them. Of course that is what ended up making this the most expensive piece in my swap: the buttons are $2 each and I needed eight of them.

Once I put together the other pieces in my swap, I decided to make some changes to the pattern. The double breasted yoke definately works with the nautical style trousers I am making but the open bottom seemed off. Because each of my bottoms has a waistband detail of some kind, I decided to crop the jacket to the waist. Also, that makes it truer to the fashions of the eras I am reflecting in the rest of the wardrobe. The other slight change I made in cutting out the jacket was lengthening the sleeves by 2", to go with the sleeves on the tops I had already cut out.

I started off making the yoke facing, and stitched 1/2" from the raw edge all around the lower edge so that I could press it up evenly. Since there is no back yoke, the facing edge would be my guide for topstitching and I wanted it as even as possible. Applying the yoke to the front was a bit of a challenge due to the sharp rounded corner. Simply stretching to fit wasn't enough, so I snipped to the staystitching in a few places. This may have also been due to the weave on the fabric; I'm using a mid-weight twill and the bias doesn't give as much as other fabrics I have used for shaped seams. After stitching in place, I was able to steam the fabric into submission.

The collar was topstitched before attaching to the neck edge, then the facing was sewn in. For my construction and topstitching I used CC cotton thread. I then pinned the facing in place from the top and started the decorative topstitching.

A few people have asked about a toptstitching tutorial, and I have two words of advice there. First, find a guidepoint on your presser foot. For me, if I set my needle to the far left and use the left edge of my foot as a guide, I get a nice 1/8" from the edge of the fabric. Second, stitch slowly. Because if you don't watch each stitch, they start to wander and you have to start over. For my second row of stitching, I just line up the edge of the presser foot with the first row. And the bonus bit of advice? Make sure everything lines up and fits before topstitching. Because tearing out three rows of stitching is a pain.

The sleeves also are faced, which surprised me because the pattern made it look like an applied cuff. But the facing simply turns to the inside and is topstitched down, giving the look of a cuff. The button lines up with a self-fabric loop. The slash where the loop is attached also creates a nice little pleat at the cuff. See what I mean about the buttons? I debated a bit about the sleeve application, and considered pleating them into the armscye but after a test I liked how the gathering looked and went with that. I finished the seam with a self-fabric bias binding.

Next up was figuring out the waist treatment. I figured my waist measurement plus twice the overlap, and the jacket body was 3" greater than that. Initially I considered gathering the center back to match the sleeve heads, but the fullness wasn't at center, so it pulled into an odd V shape. Stitched pleats were also an option, but I didn't want an odd pucker below my shoulder blades. So I went with darts which shape so nicely. After playing with the fullness, I placed the darts and decided on a triple dart instead of a single dart on each side. After applying the waistband, I finished it with matching topstitching.

The waist closure was another debate; did I want to have one button to the right of the band? Or continue the line from the yoke? Or maybe group two buttons together? In the end, I went with the symmetry and kept the lines of the yoke buttons (thanks to those of you who voted).

So here it is, the finished jacket

And here it is inside out. Because this is an unlined jacket, I was pleased that the yokes are faced, which covered most of the raw edges. The side seams and shoulder seams were flat felled and the armscyes were bound to give a finished look on the inside.


  1. A really pretty little jacket. I love your Swap.

  2. i saw this on the fedora lounge. I LOVE THAT GREEN.

    I have a stack of blouse patterns. I am from portland too, where the heck did you buy that fabric. I MUST have some.. looks so yummmmmy

  3. I typically shop at Mill End, but found this jacket fabric at JoAnn. I should go back and notate where things were purchased

  4. How funny! I just came here to ask where you got your fabric too! It's a beautiful jacket! Do you remember what type of fabric it was (twill, etc)?