Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life


#1year1outfit – The Hacking Jacket Part 5 (aka The Final Post)

There are only so many progress posts that any one garment can justifiably warrant and this is my final progress report on the “Hacking Jacket” for my #1year1outfit.


The original jacket pattern (New Look 6035) was an unlined garment, but since I’ve been following Steffani Lincecum’s excellent Craftsy course on tailoring I decided to add a lining made from shibori-dyed silk (see my previous post). I followed Steffani’s instructions much more for these final stages in the construction as I was very much moving away from the original pattern at this point.

To cut my lining pieces, I basically discarded the Back facing from the original pattern and cut the Side back and Side Front pieces as they are in the pattern. I used the Front facing, as it is, cut in the hemp, rather than the lining fabric. I realise that quite often in a lined jacket, that the front facing might be smaller than in an unlined jacket, but I didn’t feel like drafting an extra lining piece and stuck with the front facing as it is. For the Back piece I added an extra 3 cm at the centre back. The reason for this is to add extra ease in the lining. It sounds counter-intuitive to have a lining that is actually larger than the jacket, but Steffani explains that this is really essential. The outer jacket has a different “hand” with a slight stretch whereas the lining, which is a woven silk, has no give at all. To make sure that there is no distortion and the jacket hangs well with no pulling, it is necessary to make the lining bigger.

After cutting the lining out, this was sewn together. I used Steffani’s hand-stitching technique at the facing. This keeps the lining from shifting around too much at the facing and it looks beautiful. I do like these extra technique’s that Steffani puts in the course. They make the garment look extra special.


Once, I’d attached the lining to the jacket, the jacket was then turned the right way round. This is definitely the moment when you start the see what the finished jacket will look like.  To ensure that there is the correct “turn of the cloth”, Steffani recommends tacking the lapels and collar to hold them in place before you press the jacket. When pressed, the seam line should not be visible from the front of the jacket. This means that on the collar and lapels the seam line is underneath, but as you travel down the edge of the lapel and get to the button area, the seam line should then tuck around to the other side so that it isn’t visible from the front of the jacket. I had never considered this when making a jacket and it makes it look so professional.


There was one step where I really went my own way with the construction. For the back of the button-hole, I felt that my hemp fabric was too prone to fraying to be able to use the technique in the Craftsy video. The video suggests that a button-hole size hole is made and the fabric just rolled under and slip-stitched in place. I decided to sew an extra piece of fabric, as you would for the button-hole in the front of the jacket and then fold this to the inside through the hole and secure it in place with hand-stitching. This made me feel happier about the robustness of my button-hole. I found that this technique is more or less described in this tutorial on the Colette website.


Just a few more jobs to complete my jacket, finishing the jacket hem, sewing in the sleeve linings and adding the button and hey presto, finally my jacket is complete!


I’m a little unsure about the placing of the button on the garment. I checked the pattern and I have placed it correctly. Looking at the front of the pattern envelope I can see that the button is placed at approximately waist height.


I think I would have preferred the button a little higher, or maybe even two buttons on the jacket? It would have made the finished jacket more cosy and less open. I suppose though that the original jacket is supposed to be a more summery garment, so I can’t really blame the pattern for this.


Overall, I’m proud that I sewed this. It has taken me a long time to complete and I’ve learned many new techniques and taken my sewing to a whole new level with this jacket.




#1year1outfit – The Hacking Jacket Part 3 (and a little cheating)

All I can say is that I’m making slow progress, in fact very slow progress. When my hemp fabric arrived I realised that making a fitted jacket was definitely the most apt use for the fabric. However, I have become quite side-tracked in this project and the process has become a far more involved  than when I first came up with the idea. In order to create the inner structure for the jacket from natural fibres, I soon realised I was going to need steer away from fusible interfacings and get to know more about traditional tailoring methods. I therefore enrolled on the Classic Tailoring by Steffani Lincecum course on Craftsy. This has been the first Craftsy course I have enrolled on and I love it. Once you enroll the course is yours forever and it is great that I can just keep going back and refer to it. Steffani explains everything very clearly and it’s possible to ask questions too which seem to get swift responses. I can even annotate the video with my own notes so I can quickly find important points again. What can I say, it’s awesome! If you haven’t checked Craftsy out yet, give it a go, there are even some free courses too – I’ve enrolled on a free Know your Wool class too.

The traditional methods of tailoring aren’t particularly difficult, although they require some confidence in hand-sewing. Fortunately I really do love hand-sewing – it is my favourite activity in front of the TV during the evenings. However, it does take time and I’ve spent the last week or so, just sewing hair canvas to the front of the jacket and the undercollar.

Front of jacket


Here I must confess a slight amount of cheating. I wasn’t able to find any hair canvas that I knew was made in the UK. Most of the websites don’t seem to specify the origin of their tailoring supplies. I bought mine from Fabricland locally, but I have no idea where it was made. At least with buying locally I could go and feel it and check the weight. I do know that it is made of horse hair and wool. It’s natural at least. It’s cheating I know, but only a little – forgive me, please?

Whole front of jacket

I’ve also managed to make my first bound button-hole. I was actually pleasantly pleased that I pulled off this technique. I was very worried that my fabric wouldn’t cope with the manipulation required to make a bound buttonhole. Would it fray horribly? Be too heavy? I needn’t have worried at all, as it made perfect buttonholes.

Bound buttonhole

I have already bought the button for my jacket too. I decided to go for a button carved from antler. The buttons are made from Scottish Red Deer antlers. They are surprisingly light. The website also supplies smaller uncut pieces of horn and antler. Maybe I could craft my own buttons? Or maybe a belt buckle?


All this work has given me such an appreciation of old-fashioned tailoring skills. They do make a garment special. These methods are hardly seen in clothing today, except very high-end garments.

Overall, I don’t feel I’ve made much progress in the last couple of weeks, but I’m hoping now I’ve done all this groundwork that the jacket will come together quickly and I’ll have more to show you.