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So, things are pretty weird right now, but I need to structure my day and writing a blog post seems achievable right now. Onwards!

Some months ago I decided there was a hole in my wardrobe for second 'denim jacket' type garment. I made the Republique Du Chiffon 'Jacqueline' a while back and I've worn it a lot. (Great pattern - never blogged it sorry.)

Its only drawback is that it's fairly cropped and has quite fitted sleeves, so it doesn't fit well over loose tops. I began hunting for a pattern - preferably raglan sleeved - that would accommodate more sleevage.

Online I fell in love with a vintage pattern - Vogue 9057 from 1957. I soon had a copy winging its way to me from the USA. It was at least a couple of sizes too small for me but I was happy to take my time over this and grade it up.

My first step was to trace all the delicate pattern pieces so that the original stayed intact. Then I made a rough muslin without any alterations to check the sizing. To my surprise it was more generous than I expected, and a friend explained that vintage jacket and coat patterns were often drafted quite large to accommodate layers of clothing underneath.

I did need a bit more room though, and widened both back and front bodice. I also lengthened through the bodice and upper sleeve to deepen the armscye, for extra layering room. I consequently had to alter the front facing and collar pieces to match. I widened at the side seams around the hip, and also shaped in a bit through the centre back seam to remove some fabric pooling.

front bodice
back bodice

sleeve back & front
I took quite a lot out at the shoulder curve - a combination of my narrow shoulders and not wanting to add shoulder padding which may have been the vintage style.

A second muslin confirmed a pretty good fit - I just needed to move the bust darts a little towards the centre.

The fabric I chose is a denim-like Japanese twill, which is yarn-dyed in a kind of tea colour and then printed on the face side in a lovely faded-jeans type blue. It's 100% cotton, and a bit lighter and softer than traditional denim. It was very nice to work with and I think it complements the vintage jacket style.

I chose to make the jacket unlined, with seams bound in Liberty bias tape I made.

There were a couple of tricky points in the construction. Firstly, curved welt pockets. Yikes. Obviously it would have been a really good idea to do a test version on some spare fabric first but after two muslins, I just wanted to get on with it. Haha. For a start, the method was the kind where the welt's short ends are attached with hand-stitches on the outside of the jacket. I find this quite flimsy, given how much I tend to use pockets. (It might make more sense in a much thicker or fluffier fabric, perhaps.) The second issue was a mistake in the instructions. For some reason I feel like vintage pattern instructions should be infallible! The upper and lower pocket lining pieces are put in the reverse positions, which I didn't work out until I'd sewn them in, cut the welt and so forth. Anyhow, I carefully unpicked, soldiered on and figured out how to make the welts with sewn-in corners and the innards in the right positions. By making the welts a little longer, I was able to cover over my first attempt.

At the time I was all excited about working it out and thought I might put up a little tutorial but my brain isn't quite up for it right now. Anyhow, they're not perfect but I have two functional and quite pretty curved welt pockets!

The other part of construction that had me quite frustrated was the collar insertion. I remembered after a while that I'd had similar issues with a Pauline Alice jacket I made a few years ago. Instead of the collar being sewn separately then inserted like a shirt collar, one half is sewn to the body, one half to the facings then all sewn together in a continuous line, pivoting at the collar, and then turned right way out. This means a large amount of clipping where the rounded ends of the collar come down to meet the bodice, in order to try to get this junction to turn through cleanly. I can't imagine how it would work in a bulkier fabric! In the end I had to reduce the curve of the collar a little to decrease the severity of the angle of the join, and then clipped and clipped and clipped and bathed the inside of the corner in Fray Stopper in the hope that all that clipping didn't just result in the area falling apart! If I make this pattern again, I'll draft a small facing for where the collar meets the bodice back, so the collar can be constructed in full and then nicely sandwiched between facings all the way.

There was quite a lot of hand finishing on this jacket, with part of the collar and all facings stitched down by hand. I was in the zone for this and found it quite a pleasure.

I realised when I got to the button stage that the pattern showed bound buttonholes. There are some minor instructions at the end referring to incorporating these with the facings, but no actual instructions about making bound buttonholes. Too late... so I was lucky that my vintage Singer buttonholer did a beautiful job on some keyhole thread ones.

And I had some perfect chunky vintage buttons in my stash.

Look at the pretty insides!

I love my new jacket and it's already had plenty of wear. It's easy to throw in my bike basket, over my arm, in the car and over the back of a chair. It's that simple extra layer that goes on over (and goes with) just about anything. I'm really happy that I spent plenty of time on the fit, and I think there's a good chance I'll use this pattern again.

Thanks for reading, I hope it was a pleasant diversion!

- Jane xx
March 26, 2020 by Jane Goldney
Tags: denim Jacket

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