This jacket has been on my mental sewing list for a while. Last year I saw similar jackets which people had made and I really liked them. Another Spring jacket was needed in my wardrobe – my light blue one being overworked – so this really seemed to be the answer, and it was added to my MakeNine 2021. I had some nice corduroy in my stash, and I considered buying a new pattern, then I saw a post of a very similar jacket using Butterick B5616, and I realised that I already had this pattern! Yay! All the ducks were lining up nicely!
The original pattern has 3/4 sleeves, and I really wanted long sleeves. The last time I made this, I lengthened the sleeves and they ended up being very wide at the cuffs. That wasn’t really a problem, but for this version I didn’t want that to happen. I saw an IG post by Tomasa @sewmuchfashion which showed a long sleeved version, so I asked how it had been done. .
That lovely lady described how she pleated the lengthened sleeves into the cuffs, and sent me some very helpful pics.
I knew that I wanted a lining, but the pattern is an unlined jacket. The first version I made has a cotton lining which I attached to each pattern piece, effectively treating the double fabric as one. I didn’t want to do that this time, so I needed to hack a bagged lining. With my history of hacking (see previous post) I was a little bit apprehensive that it would work, but I forged ahead. I bought some pretty brushed cotton, and I had some smooth lining fabric in the stash, which I could use for the sleeves.
The main issue with this project was that I didn’t really have enough fabric. So I measured the pattern pieces carefully so that I could squeeze it all out of 2m. It was pattern tetris, and I only just managed it, by using the lining fabric for the under layers of the collar and pocket flaps.
The main jacket is very sraightforward. It really is, as many people have described sewing, one seam after another. I took my time – after all, what need for hurry is there! It all came together really well……… until I came to attach front to back. DOH!
I hadn’t remembered that the shoulder seams are slightly forward, and when I was measuring the length of the jacket, I measured from the shoulders – big mistake! I should have measured the side seams. The back ended up 6cm shorter than the front!!! Ouch! I couldn’t shorten the front, because the pockets had already been attached. So I rummaged in the very small collection of scraps I had left, and managed to find enough to add 4 x 6cm panels to the back length. Phew! Being corduroy, the seams are not very noticeable, and actually could even be called a design feature, but it was very close to being a disaster.
So on to the sleeves. I have sewn a lot of set-in sleeves in my sewing journey, but I have never really liked the process. In fact I have often cheated with the easing, and ended up with some degree of pleating. This time, however, I did it properly. I sewed gathering stitches, I sewed slowly, and I am very happy with how the sleeves eased in. It was worth the effort.
The lining was quicker to put together because there was no need for top stitching, but I did quilt the smooth lining fabric to the brushed cotton for the sleeves. That was worth the time too.
When it came to attaching the lining, it wasn’t quite like bagging out, because of the structure of the front button panel. It is a self facing, made by folding over to create three layers of fabric. I didn’t want the brushed cotton to create too much bulk here, so I had to figure out how to attach it so that I could sew along the hem and up the front. I decided not to sew the neckline at all at this point, as the collar is attached without a collar stand. I also did not sew the botton of the sleeves, as I would be attaching cuffs. That meant that it isn’t really a bagged out lining, so not difficult at all. I did just what I said, I sewed down the front, along the hem, and up the other side, then when I turned the facing, the topstitching enclosed the edges of the lining. Result!
Adding the collar and cuffs was straightforward enough, but it is worth noting that the lining made the sleeve pleats quite bulky. The collar is stitched snuggly between the button panels, but there is the risk of some fraying in the corners if they are not positioned precisely. There is the chance that the pieces could shift out of position as they are sewn. For this reason I did more hand sewing than I normally would, and actually slip stitched before top stitching.
There was a pause in sewing while I waited for the buttons to arrive. (Didn’t have any in the stash which were suitable.) Then I set to and worked seven buttonholes, and sewed on seven buttons. Laborious work! Another note to self here is not to use too much fraycheck on the buttonholes, or to cut when it’s not quite dry. It is difficult to cut in a controlled way if it’s set too hard. I think I did manage to cut some of the stitches, unfortunately, and they may need to be hand overcast later.
When I put it on, I felt that the sleeves were actually around 3 inches too short. But I was so restricted by the lack of fabric that I wouldn’t have been able to make them any longer. Another lesson to take forward.
The jacket is fine. I wore it out – once – but it’s still a bit chilly in Northeast England. It will get plenty of wear as the weather warms up. The sleeve length is slightly restrictive but not too bad.
I also made use of my labels! I forgot to stitch them at the appropriate moment, so used bondaweb, and slip stitched. But I did remember to add a hanging loop!
There are some things I will take forward if I make this again:
- Ensure that the sleeves are long enough!
- Use a seeve pattern piece from another jacket pattern to shape the sleeve around the elbow.
- Sew the collar into the front facing fold to avoid risk of fraying (this is something which will need to be tested to check that it works – the collar may need to be lengthened.)
- Measure at the side seams to ensure that the front and back are the same length.
This is a versatile pattern, as there are shirt versions, and one with a bottom band to create a jeans jacket. I may make another one. But not this year, I think.