My Last Project of 2016

1930s-inspired hooded wool bomber jacket.

It feels like I haven’t sewn much this year. I certainly have lapsed on the blogging, which I greatly apologize for! Everything we’ve been stitching up since October has been for next year’s 18th century sewing book and we can’t share it, so it goes without saying that it’s been very difficult to do anything other than that.

Luckily I had a couple days between Christmas and New Years “off,” and I decided to make something for myself – a 1930s-inspired jacket. I love jackets and coats, and needed something cozy but with a short waist. I was inspired by the pullover in the bottom right of this 1930s Sears catalog page:

The inspiration jacket isn’t really a jacket after all – it’s a pullover with ribbed cuffs and band and a small collar. Adorbs!

I had some lovely plaid wool in the stash and a 1970s pattern that would serve as the base:

The pattern – Simplicity 5891 – and the fabric, a plaid melton.

The pattern, Simplicity 5891, was close-ish. I needed to adjust the waist measurement, which was easy to do with just two seams. I also wanted to convert the band and cuffs to ribbing, and add a hood.

My doodles and notes with adjustments and alterations.

The jacket shell went together easily. I took the time to do bound buttonholes, which came out a bit small. I’m not sure bound buttonholes were the best choice for this project, since the wool was so thick. If they’d been larger it would have been easier to work through them, but despite my mistakes at least I know they’ll last a long time. I don’t trust my stitched buttonholing technique!

Bound button holes – there’s a lot more steps that come after this, so don’t be deceived. They look nice, though.

The ribbing was both tricky and easy. The cuffs were a right royal pain but the band was surprisingly straightforward. The difficulties come from access on a modern machine, but I’m wont to think it’s my technique that’s in need of revision. Surely there’s an easier way to do ribbed cuffs! For the band, I assembled it with the wool tab first, then applied it to the bodice. I added that little tab because I needed something sturdy to button to – you see this done in bomber jackets quite often.

The shell of the jacket assembled, waiting for the lining.

Lastly, the lining. I put the lining in by hand but only because I’ve never learned the proper way to do it by machine! I did some parts out of order – for instance, I should have stitched the lining of the sleeve at the cuff right-sides-together, then pulled it through and finished the armscye, instead of turning the lining and felling it to the cuff (what a pain!) – and it took me many hours to wrestle the lining in, but I won in the end.

Felling the lining in by hand. It took a long time, and my lining – a poly crepe – wasn’t nice to sew.

I put a welt pocket in lining, since there was no room on the exterior for functional pockets (too short). This is the first time I’d ever done a pocket like this and I’m pleased with the result, though I see how to improve next time. I’m glad I took the time to add it, too, because it’s the perfect place to stash my keys and phone on dog park days.

The “lips” of my interior pocket. These are made just like bound buttonholes, then the pocket back is applied. I used the instructions in the Vogue sewing book. This is my favorite part of the jacket, to be honest. 

All in all I’m very pleased with my last project of 2016, and happy that I carved out a little time to make something for myself that I will wear often. Wearing and loving something you made it one of the best feelings.

Cozy and cute – I’ve been living in this jacket since I finished it.

Happy New Year to you all! I look forward to your projects in 2017!

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