Jackets come in all kinds of shapes. There are fitted jackets, semi-fitted jackets, boxy jackets, relaxed jackets, tent-like jackets and the list goes on.
Tailored jackets come in a slightly more restricted list of shapes. For example, it seems that a tailored jacket by definition has to be a bit fitted, so that leaves out relaxed or tent-like, and I venture to say, relaxed. But what about boxy?
When I embarked on my fit of making Little French Jackets inspired by Chanel, they tended toward the boxier style.
When I think about the internal construction of those ones, it makes sense. Although there is some stabilization inside, especially on all the edges, there is little interfacing (if any) and certainly no hair canvas.
It is the technique of machine-quilting the lining directly to the fabric that gives these jackets their soft shaping. Not so with this tailoring stuff.
In my last post, I had finished the internal stabilization (that is, until I get to the sleeves – a topic for another day), so then it was time to begin to put it all together. And the first thing on the agenda is to create those welted flap pockets. So, here goes!
In this pattern, since there are no side seams and the pockets run across the front seam, I had to attach the fronts to the side panels first. Then I began the process of creating those welts. The order of operations, though, is a bit questionable on this pattern.
According to the instructions, I was supposed to do the welts first. However, I did some research, and Pam Howard who does a jacket class on Craftsy, says that it’s better to make the welts first then use them as the guide for the precise length of the opening for the welts. That made a great deal of sense to me.
Once that was done, I created the welts. This is so much easier than it seems at first glance. One of the things I left out of the process was the stays Clair Schaeffer suggests in the vogue pattern instructions. It just seemed like too many layers of material in my view. I know why she suggests them – they do provide further stabilization – but if the pocket opening is less than six inches, it shouldn’t gape. I hope.
Once the welts were in, it was time to install the flap – again an easy process if you get it turned around the right way and stitch it in the right direction! I had to check this more than once to be sure I got it right. Then there were the pockets bags. Dear god!
My pockets are, of course, made from the silk charmeuse that will eventually (sewing gods willing) line the body and sleeves of the completed jacket. Now, I love silk charmeuse, and it is a dream to wear, but when you are working with it, that dream can quickly devolve into a nightmare. As I installed them, they became a terrifying tangle of silk filaments. It finally worked out – at least what I’ll be able to see on the outside looks terrific. Anyway, I basted them shut to keep them from dragging as I work on the rest of the body. Maybe I’ll leave them closed!
As I moved forward with putting together the rest of the body of the jacket, I again parted ways with the “couture” instructions in the pattern. Claire Schaeffer puts the front facing on first, in preparation for her method of dealing with the eventual turn-of-the-cloth issue in the collar. All the research I’d done suggested that most people who do this tailoring, use the following order of operations which makes sense to me:
- Side seams (and princess seams if any)
- Shoulder seams
- Alter undercollar for turn-of-the-cloth (I’ll get to that eventually)
- Front and back facings (if there is a back facing. This pattern doesn’t have one, but if I make it again, I’m going to draft one) along with the upper collar.
The Clair Schaeffer directions require you to install the front facing before the shoulder seams. I know why she does this, but I didn’t like it so I did it the way everyone else seems to do it. Because I did it my way (as Frank Sinatra would say), I did have to install the upper back and centre-back vent and hemline interfacings at this stage.
I used my own adaptation to deal with the interfacing at the shoulder seams, cutting the front interfacing seam allowance off and then overlapping the back across the front for support.
This is a riff on what CS tells you to do in the pattern. Her instructions would have left me with too many layers – again (see above). Naughty, naughty.
Anyway, I now have something that is beginning to resemble the bodice of a jacket. My next challenge is revisiting my collar and lapel skills which I left behind me thirty-five years ago!