Monday, 23 May 2016

My first jacket - Francine @sewoverit

I set myself the task of making myself a few jackets this year- something I've never done before. To get started I signed up for the Sew Over It Francine jacket class, taught over 3 evenings with the lovely Julie.

First up getting all my materials ready. I was super excited (well still am!) about the amazing fabric from Mood NYC- it is the most  delicious reversible wool and proved to be a total joy to sew. Along with that I have lining (black spotty) interfacing and buttons. 

So I m packed and off to my first class with 5 other ladies. The first class involves no sewing at all!! Julie walked us through the process and we got started on choosing the right sizes. What is very cool is that Sewoverit have jackets made up i each size so you try on to find the perfect fit. For me that was a 12, but the arms were too tight so we went for a 14 on the arms. Julie then helped all of us amend the pattern pieces to be right for each of us. Then it was cutting out time. 

I thought I was good to go but then I was asked if I d measured the grain line. Why would I do that? I be always ignored the grain line, I thought they were for patterns. Anyway now I know, you need your grain line to be measured correctly so the fabric hangs right. Measure the grain line from the selvege in- keeping perfectly parallel. 

So then I did really start cutting! Lots of pieces- for the outer, lining and then the interfacing.  Didn't get it all finished in class so my homework starts here.  Next job iron on the interfacing. This is what it looks like at this stage:

Now sewing time! Julie shared a very cool way of doing darts using some extra fabric to even it out so the dart lies flat:

How fancy does that look!!
So then sewing all the easy bits together wraps up my week one homework:

So onto my second class! Good news, what I did for my homework was correct except I found stay tape I was supposed to have put in the shoulders but forgot. Tacked it in quickly by hand in class. Big job this class is the neckline and lapel. We start by attaching it. Then comes the interesting bit with how you bend it slightly to ensure you don t see the under side and tailors tack it. 

Glad I m at class for this bit as there is no way I would have worked it out from the instructions!! Then we roll the collar back, pin in place then hand tack in the ditch so it holds in place but stitches can't
be seen. I hate hand sewing but I do see the value in this!  It's so exciting seeing it come together, the contrast lapel is starting to look brilliant!

So next job the sleeves. I learn how to 'ease in' excess fabric with the use of a lot of pins. I was convinced the sleeve was much too big for the hole but Julie promised it won fit and it did of course. Tack the sleeve in and try on.  Unfortunately I m not 100% happy with the fit so we decide to take the jacket and sleeve in a bit. Julie pins it right for me whilst I wear it, then I get on to making the adjustments: 
Adjustments done & the  sleeves can go in.  Do you think I used enough pins?!
So thats my homework for wk2 done. Class for week 3 starts with sleeve head wadding and shoulder pads !  Who ever knew such a thing as sleeve head wadding exists and that I would be doing it!!!
So sleeve head wadding is some stuff (thin fluffy material) that you sew along the inside of the top sleeve so it looks nice & full (opposite where shoulder pad would go.  Its simply tacked  in:
 then you put the shoulder pad opposite it.

Now thats all finished, I can start sewing the lining into the jacket!  The bottom facing piece is tacked in & then the lining is hand stitched to it.  Not my favourite job, I have to admit.

Then sewing the lining in at the armholes....

And nearly there... Just button holes to do!!  On recommendation from Julie I took it to DMButtons in Soho to get the to do the buttons on their industrial machines- they literally did it in seconds and they look much nicer than I would ever manage on my machine:
Then just to add the final buttons & give it a final press!

AND after months & months of work, I can proudly say its finished!! I so enjoyed making this and feel very proud that I have made it - I m still a bit in shock that I managed something 'tailored' and I really think it looks & fits great.  I will have a break before doing another jacket (as its such a big undertaking) but I will do another for sure & put all I learned back into practice.  I would highly recommend doing this course at Sew over it.  It was really great- There is no way I would have a jacket finished like this without the course & I learnt so so much from Julie- thank-you!!

Messyessymakes.  x
Join me on Instagram @Messyessymakes


  1. WOW. It looks great. The color-block is really fantastic. Very good job!

  2. Wow, that's fabulous. Unfortunately I'm not London based and so can't commit to these classes over several weeks

  3. Have you tried Craftsy? They do fabulous classes for sewing and tailoring. I have taken a few and the good thing is they are on video on line and you can watch it as many times as you like. Down side is you don't have a Julie to help fit.

  4. thanks Maureen- I actually have a voucher for a Craftsy class, you remind me to use it!! Do you have any you have done that you would recommend?