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Dressmaking/ Jacket

Tartan Jacket

With this Jacket I won a Stitcher of the Year competition with Love Sewing magazine, Sept 2016

I recently made this ¾ length jacket ready for the Autumn. The pattern for the coat is based on a Burda princess line coat pattern 8292, which I have had for some years, but I chopped it up to create the various panel pieces of the coat.

The main tartan fabric is from Linton Tweeds, the background is black with a white and dark red threads woven through to create the tartan design. For some of the accent panels I used a dark red fabric which has little squares embroidered on. To this I added a layer of wadding and quilted each panel either with just straight lines or oblongs to mirror the tartan design. I used a black suede leather on the sleeves, lower collar and pocket welts. The back of the coat also has black suede and red panels. The trim used to highlight some of the design lines is a silver and black stripe. 

Several toiles where made up beforehand to check and change the design lines and panel piece sizes.  The princess lines where moved from the underarm to the shoulders. Laying the pattern pieces on the fabric and the cutting out had to be precise to ensure that the pattern of the fabric lined up at the seam lines. The coat is underlined with a silk organza and lined with a red silk twill fabric. There are six bound button holes on the front. For the upper three I used black suede and for the lower three I used the quilted red fabric. I also quilted the red fabric for the front facings. There are two lower welt pockets which line up with the front lower panel. Silver buttons on the front and sleeves completed the coat.

I hope you enjoy looking at the photograph of my coat as much as I enjoyed making it.

TJsleeve2 TJCollar TJBack

Dressmaking/ Jacket

Navy Boucle Jacket

I bought a length of navy blue wool boucle which has a few sequins woven into it, so thought I would make it up into a simple cardigan type jacket. It went together quite quickly using the overlocker but as is my usual way. mid way through the construction I decided to add a silk lining! I also added a sequin trim to the centre front neckline and sleeves and made frog closures for the front opening.

This is the result.

Sequinback Sequinfrog

Dressmaking/ Jacket

The Making of a Chanel Style Jacket

On a recent fabric buying trip (yes I have lots of them) I purchased a length or two of fabric from Linton Tweeds. In case you are not aware, Linton Tweeds, up in Carlisle, have traditionally supplied the big designers including Chanel for many a long year, and the iconic Chanel Jacket was/is traditionally made using Linton Tweeds fabric. 

So, the only thing to do with my purchase is to make my own ‘Chanel’ style jacket……… here goes.

The Ingredients

I accumulated all the necessary ingredients together

Black & White check fabric for the jacket
White silk Charmeuse fabric, ordered from China
25mm Black trim for the edges
25mm grosgrain ribbon
Buttons for the front opening and sleeves
Silk thread for the construction
Chain for weighting the back
Cotton for the ‘Toile’


Before cutting into my expensive fabric I made a mock up of the jacket, (a toile) I was then able to make fine adjustments to the fit and shape of the jacket and transfer those adjustments to my paper pattern pieces.


The jacket front and back pieces where cut out from the black & white check fabric.


The white silk charmeuse fabric I will be using for the lining has winged its way all the way here from China and as you can image was a little creased after its journey, so I had to iron out all the creases before cutting the jacket lining out.


I used a ‘English Couture’ fusible interfacing for the centre front left and right pieces, removing the front seam and hem allowance from the interfacing before fusing.         


Use a piece of scrap cotton fabric on your ironing board to protect the board from the glue of the interfacing!    

Stabilise the centre front              

A 3/4″ cotton twill tape is added to the front opening seams to stabilise, give weight and support. The tape is pinned into place then stitched just inside the seam allowance making sure not to catch the face fabric. The tape must be equal in length on both sides of the front openings, this is checked by using the paper pattern as a guide. 



The centre front and front pieces are then stitched together. The fabric frays badly so must be handled with care!


The darts are stitched into the 2 back pieces, then stitched together down the centre back seam and pressed. 



Seams are carefully pattern matched and basted by hand.

The underarm pieces were stitched to the back. The back lining pieces were then constructed in the same manner.


Seams are pressed open then serge stitched down, this both keeps the seams flat and helps to prevent further fraying.


A back neck facing is fused to give support to the area and shaped using the iron.



With wrong sides together the lining was pinned to the centre back seam and permanently hand stitched into place. 

The lining is then opened up across the back, basted into position then quilted to the check fabric through both layers. This can be done by machine but I did not want the machine stitching to be visible on the right side of my jacket so chose to quilt it by hand. The front pieces were quilted in in the same manner.


Next is the pockets. I interfaced the inside of the fabric to give them strength and body. The grosgrain ribbon followed by the black trim was hand stitched to the pocket fronts. On the wrong side the seam allowances are turned in and serge stitched in place by hand. The lining is slip stitched into place, and invisibly stitched to the jacket fronts.

Pocket1 Pocket3 Pocket2 Pocket4


After a good pressing, the shoulder seams are machine stitched and serge stitched down.



Interfacing cut on the bias was fused to the hem to give it strength & support followed by the grosgrain ribbon and trim hand stitched to the right side front edges and hem. This alone took over 5 hours to do!


The hem of the lining was then hand stitched into place along the back.


I have spent about 35 hours on it so far and it is still  ‘Work in Progress’


Next to create was the collar. A strip a fabric is cut and steamed to shape the collar, this preserves the fabric design around the neckline whilst shaping at the same time. The seams were turned in and stitched down and hand stitched to the jacket.

collar3 Collar


The collar facing was prepared in the same way as the outer collar by steaming and shaping into the correct shape and hand stitched to the outer collar being careful as always in matching up the fabric design.


Then the sleeves. There are 3 pieces to this sleeve and they have to cut out precisely matching up the pattern of the fabric. The underarm piece was machine stitched to the front and back pieces, leaving the centre seam open. The seams are then hand serge stitched down for a neater finish. I fused some interfacing to the lower edge for support, turned in the seam allowances around the same and stitched the gros grain ribbon trim to the right side followed by the buttonholes. The lining sleeve pieces are then machine stitched together in the same way and  hand ‘quilted’ to the face fabric as previously done on the main jacket front and back pieces. They are then sewn into the jacket.

sleeves3 sleeves2 sleeves1


I created some ‘faux’ bound buttonholes for the inside of the front facings, hand stitching them to the worked buttonholes on the inside and to the interfacing. This makes them look neat from the inside. The front facings are then hand stitched into place along the front seam and hem,  and openings created for the buttonholes on the inside of the right hand facing.


The collar facing was prepared in the same way as the outer collar by steaming and shaping into the correct shape and hand stitched to the outer collar being careful as always in matching up the fabric design.

Chain Weight

Then a chain weight is stitched to the hem of the jacket, this helps to balance out the weight of the jacket and is traditionally added to all ‘Chanel’ Jackets.


Once the buttons have been sewn into place the last thing to do is to add my labels. The Linton Tweed label I stitched to the inside left facing and my own ‘Plumleia’ I stitched to the inside back facing.

Label2 Label1

After some 75 hours of work it is now FINISHED


Dress/ Dressmaking/ Jacket

Sue & Ted’s Wedding

About 18 months ago I got engaged to my wonderful man, Ted, and since then I have spent many months thinking about and designing my own wedding dress. My engagement ring is an aqua marine and this was the deciding influence on the colour for my dress. 

The main body and skirt of the dress is made from a duchess satin with a lace underskirt decorated with pearl beads which just shows through at the front, I also used the lace for the 3/4 length sleeves and finished the edging around the neckline and top sleeve with more of the lace edging. The back has a laced up panel and by using 4 laces it created a lovely finish I think. It has a structured boned bodice with 12 boning channels and a hook & eye fastening at the back to keep it secure, it was very comfortable all day.

I was unsure of the weather and how warm or cold it might be on the day so I made a bolero jacket to go with it. I used piping to edge continuously around the collar and front and lower edges and also the shaped sleeves. I then added some lace inserts in the sleeves to reflect the skirt of the dress.

The dress and jacket is underlined with both silk organza and a brushed cotton for warmth and of course fully lined.

I also made some lace and fabric flowers which were added to my bouquet.