Finished Jean Jacket

I finished the jean jacket this afternoon (I see from the photo, I need to reposition the second button from the bottom just a smidge to eliminate the ‘bulge’ in the bottom opening).

Finished Jean Jacket

The back

Jean Jacket Back

The back turned out nicely. The adjusted size E closes across the front as it should. Turns out, the linen was difficult to work with – stiff and coarse. The shoulder pads and sleeve headers do what they should – lift the shoulder a bit, and smooth the sleeve cap. Fiddly to do but worth the effort. The lining fits in well and is slippery enough that my arms slip into the sleeves easily. And I like the contrast elements in the sleeve bottom.

This is the fourth jacket from this pattern – it’s a well designed pattern (the inside zipper pockets are a good addition) – the markings all align and the parts fit together precisely.

I’m Back

It’s not that I went anywhere – I’ve just been working away at several things and not finished much to write about. But I’ve not been idle!

I’ve been working on a linen Jean Jacket (Out of print pattern by Sandra Betzina)and slowly making progress. It’s a lined jacket, with lots of top stitching and I’ve added two inner zippered pockets at the front facing/side lining seam so I can actually carry something in a pocket. The jacket pockets are no good for even carrying a Kleenex – they’re too shallow and anything I’d put in there would just fall out.

Partially constructed Jean Jacket

I’ve made three of these jackets over the years – a cotton/linen blend, a wild printed fabric, and one in denim – the problem is they’re TOO small – they don’t fit – I can’t button them up. I needed another one in a larger size. I’d bought the linen to make a dress but after a couple of washings and dryings the fabric was still too stiff to use for a dress or pants so I decided to make a jean jacket.

I’ve got the lining constructed, the sleeves (which have quite a bit of detail) are done. I’ve set up the sleeve facings having added a Hong Kong finish to the open edge. Now I’m working on putting the rest of the lining together. I expect I might be finished the jacket tomorrow or over the weekend.

In the meantime, I decided I needed a new iPhone carrying case – not much larger than the ones I’ve made before but larger enough that I can carry a credit card, my drivers licence, health card, some money in addition to the cough candy and chewing gum I always have on hand (because of my pesky cough – which BTW has subsided substantially recently – not gone but much less of a problem). My first try wasn’t quite wide enough and the top pocket was too deep. So I made a second.

iPhone Case 2.0

What I did was figure out how to add two zippered pockets to one side in addition to the zippered pocket along the length!

I haven’t written any instruction for how to do this version. When I get around to making another one and taking photos as I go along I’ll set up some instructions to share.

It’s still not large enough to fit my keys in but I have a hook on my key ring which I can hang on the strap if I don’t want to carry them in a pants or jacket pocket.

And I’ve almost got a sock finished from the new pair I’m working on – that will probably be completed this evening.

But since it’s been just over two weeks since I reported on anything I though I should update what I am working on.

Jean Jacket III (3)

Yesterday was the third class for the Jean Jacket. During the week I’d worked on my jacket getting the outside and lining set up, attached the collar, sewn the front seams (top stitched one front seam – I left the other so I could show some constructiton elements to the gals), installled sleeve headers and shoulder pads. Once I was finished I wrote the gals:

Here’s what I’d like us to have accomplished before Thursday:

  • The outside constructed (with sleeves completed and basted in – sewn in if you think they work)
  • The lining constructed (with hidden pockets) and sleeves inserted (basted or sewing – depends on whether you’re happy with the fit)
  • Collar constructed
  • Lower band constructed – sides seams on both outer band and band facing (don’t sew the bands together – this will all happen when we use the band to finish the bottom of the jacket!)

It seems like a lot but all of it will go quite quickly. With that prep work done, in Class #3 we’ll work on:

  • whatever of the above construction work you weren’t able to get to
  • put body of jacket and lining together at the collar
  • practice a Hong Kong Seam Finish for the sleeve cuff

That will leave us:

  • stitching front edges (front panel with front facing)
  • adding bottom band
  • attaching sleeve cuffs (on inside of sleeves)
  • making button holes and attaching buttons (or putting on snaps if that’s what you’re planning on using)

Yesterday, we pretty much accomplished what I’d hoped we would. The gals will carry on – they may even come to our next class (in two weeks) with the jacket done. It’ll be fun to see how their jackets turn out – I know they’re all going to fit quite nicely because we’ve been adjusting the fit as we’ve gone along.

While we were working, a woman visiting the shop watched while we worked – she culdn’t take the class this year, she said, but she plans on doing it next fall! Who knows, we might do this again if there’s enouogh interest.

I finished my jacket this morning:

  What you can’t see are the inner zippered pockets which turned out well.

I’m happy with the final product. It’s comfortable (although a slightly different fit than the other two jackets – go know how that happens since I carefully cut and stitched the elements in exactly the same way!)
This jacket has gone into my closet – my old denim jacket has come out and now resides in the goodwill pile.

Jean Jacket III (2)

A friend asked me today how my sewing class was going – because I hadn’t written about it afterward. In part, it’s because I didn’t take photos during the session, and also because I haven’t yet got to working on the denim jacket I’m making for myself. I do have to get to it, because Thursday will be here before I know it and I, too, need to have my “homework” completed.

Thursday was our second class – I wanted us to have the fronts and back assembled so we could try the body on and make any adjustments that were needed. We took in princess seams (both front and back), lifted shoulders a smidgeon, took in side seams a bit, particularly under the arms… We adjusted sleeve patterns just a tiny bit so the cut out sleeves will fit the armscye where we’ve changed the side/shoulder seams. So homework this week: to cut out the sleeves, assemble the bottom pieces, attach to the upper sleeve, sew sleeve underarm and insert sleeves into the body of the jacket.

We worked on two things in class: creating and inserting the hidden pocket in the lining. I had prepared a set of instructions for making this hidden pocket so we had something to work from.

hidden pocket instructions

I had made the first pocket in my jacket lining before class; I finished the second one during the session.

We also worked on shoulder pads. I had done some research on shoulder pads (the jean jacket is shaped to accommodate them). I had decided the instructions I found in an old Reader’s Digest (1979) “Complete Guide To Sewing” would work well. So I showed them the pads I had made, and shared with them the “pattern” pieces I’d prepared to construct them.

Everybody went home pleased at having made considerable headway on their jackets.

When I tried on the body of my jacket I thought the front at the sleeve gaped a bit so I created a small dart in front (from bust point to armscye), then basted in the sleeve top to see how it would fit – no go! I’d put in a temporary dart in the front of the sleeve so it would fit the opening and adjusted the underarm seam. The whole assembly pulled and the sleeve twisted! So I took out the dart in both sleeve and jacket front and basted the sleeve back in. Definitely a better fit. Now I have to removed the sleeve, press the front and sleeve top (to remove the needle holes left from the basting) – assemble the sleeve and sew it all back together again.
The back lining is ready to go, as are the two front lining panels – all I need to do is join them at the shoulders and side seams; won’t take long.

Then I’ll put sleeves in the body and in the lining and stop there.

Next class (#3) we’ll make the last adjustments to the fit, then join lining to body with the collar. Once that’s done, we’ll be able to add the bottom band and sleeve inner cuffs which join lining to body at those two locations finishing the jacket construction.

The last step will be buttonholes and buttons and the jackets will be complete.

Jean Jacket III

Last week I began teaching a class at Sew With Vision on the Jean Jacket (V1036 – Sandra Betzina, Today’s Fit).

In our first class we spent time tracing the pattern pieces [HINT: rough cut each complete piece in all sizes, with a highlighter mark the size corresponding to your largest measurement, tape the rough cut piece to your cutting surface, place tracing paper (I find the paper used in the doctor’s office for examining tables excellent – crisp and sturdy) over pattern and tape corners (to prevent paper moving while you’re tracing), then trace the size you’ve marked, including all markings. In another highlighter colour, trace those areas of the pattern which correspond to your smaller measurements. With a pencil use a French curve to link the different sizes as smoothly as you can]. Then cut out the traced pattern pieces (return the original pieces to the envelope uncut!).

Next we joined the traced paper pieces together – pinning on seam allowances – and checked the fit. We made adjustments wherever they were needed (shoulder, princess seams, side seams). We marked the pinned adjustments on the paper pieces, and retraced the pattern pieces if the adjustments were substantial.

We spent the afternoon practicing sewing technique – sewing curves (I’d precut the lower sleeve elements of the jacket which has sharply rounded curves to sew), edge stitching (using a narrow-edge foot), and top stitching – in preparation for constructing the jacket itself. (The photo below shows a finished sleeve bottom and collar for my jean jacket.)


Homework for the second class: cut out fronts, backs, collar, front pocket, front facing, front side lining, back lining, back side lining, and back yoke. My instructions were to leave the sleeves uncut until we had a chance to fit the jacket body. If we need to make substantial adjustments to the shoulders the sleeve pattern will need to be modified…

Sew the fronts, the backs (without edge/top stitching so that size adjustments can be made easily). Because I know my jacket fits (having already made two), I did the edge and top stitching as I went along.



Then I made shoulder pads using a technique I found in The Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, 1979, pp: 376-377.


Because the two outside front pockets are decorative (not useful) I want the gals to learn how to construct a hidden zippered front pocket which gets inserted between the front facing/front side lining panels. I did one side, and set up the second. I prepared instructions for the gals to follow since this pocket is not included in the original pattern.


I also shared a great article from Threads MagazineArmani Jackets: The Inside Story which shows in detail the internal construction of an Armani jacket.  (Click here for the original link to the article online.)

Here are some useful links for sewing techniques used in constructing this jacket:

Sewing Curves

Top Stitching


Richard The Thread (this is the only source I could find for ice wool/woven lambswool for sleeve headers – by far the best material for this job – expensive, but it shapes wonderfully well and a yard will last 30 years!)

I’ll share more as we continue building our jean jackets over the next three weeks.

Jean Jacket II

I had about a metre and a half of Luella Doss’ Hot Flash – Juicy Blooms (HDLD01) fabric in my stash. I bought it 3-4 years ago and wasn’t sure what to do with it. From time to time I’d take it out and look at it, then put it back in the closet.

When I got back from San Francisco with the jean jacket pattern, I took the fabric out once again. I knew there wasn’t quite enough for the jacket pattern, but with a bit of contrasting twill (I decided to use black), I thought I could make it work.

The challenge was the way the fabric was printed – flowers along one side, black and white stripes along the other. Straight off I knew I’d have to cut the jacket with the grain line on the width if I was to get flowers on the bottom and stripes at the top.

I didn’t have enough flower fabric to do all of the sleeve detail – so I decided to “mix & match” using flowers, stripes and black. I could only get one side of the collar and the bottom band pieces in the flower fabric, the facings had to be cut from black.

I also had enough of a perfect piece of black printed silk fabric for the lining which I’d bought in New York – I’d bought it intending to use it for lining, this seemed to be the right garment!

So I cut the jacket out on Thursday, constructed the outside yesterday, built the lining (again with hidden zippered pockets in the lining), and put the whole together today.


The jacket is definitely one of a kind! It’ll be fun wearing it.

Jean Jacket

Just finished – Jean Jacket (Vogue 1036 – Today’s Fit/Sandra Betzina). A lot of detail, edge stitching and top stitching, lining, but not difficult to construct. I made a couple of modifications: In the original, the sleeves had a flare – I made the sleeve straight from elbow to wrist; the outside pockets are more decorative than useful (too shallow to hold my keys, for example), so I added two interior zippered pockets (credit card in one, cash in the other).

Photo on 2015-05-20 at 8.46 PM

Photo on 2015-05-20 at 8.46 PM #2

The fabric is a cotton twill with a tiny bit of lycra (the bolt in the shop said “fabric content 100% unknown – as were all the other sample fabrics on display). Great for a light spring jacket.

Oh, and Sandra suggests snaps for the front, I used buttons (I couldn’t find any heavy duty snaps in navy – all that was available in town were various metallic colours and I wanted the navy to blend with the flowers).

IMG_4946(Hidden zippered pocket between lining and front facing.)