Who wants to do a Tailoring Sewalong?

I’m planning to make a jacket or coat shortly, and that’s a perfect opportunity to show you some ready-to-wear tailoring!  By “ready-to-wear tailoring”, I mean the fusible method that is used in most garment manufacturing today – where everything is completely machine sewn.  The only needle that needs to be threaded is the one on your sewing machine!

This is a great method for those of us that don’t have the time, patience or expertise to do traditional hand-tailoring.  Speedy machinists can sew a jacket in a couple of hours, but I’m not that quick – it used to take me about 4 hours to assemble a jacket using this method.  But quick construction does not mean inferior results – we’ll be using the same high-end ready-to-wear techniques used in that $800 jacket you were admiring while you were out shopping the other day!

So are you keen?  Do you want to sewalong with me and learn how to assemble a tailored jacket efficiently and with professional results?  Let’s do it!

To give everyone time to select patterns and fabrics, I thought a start date of 1 April would be ideal – that gives you about three weeks to decide on a style.  I suggest a fairly standard tailored jacket or coat design – either single or double breasted with a collar and lapel and two-piece sleeves, as this is the type of design and construction I will demonstrate the method for.

I’m thinking of making this vintage pattern for the sewalong, but I might change my mind still!  Something I do want to demonstrate is how to adapt a commercial pattern to suit this method of construction, as home sewing and industrial methods are quite different.  A bit of pattern adaptation at the start really minimises the sewing time.  So you’ll need some paper, pen and a ruler too!  And paper scissors, because you weren’t thinking of using your fabric scissors for cutting paper were you…..

I’d like to start the sewalong at the stage where you have your toiles/muslins fitted and any pattern alterations done.  I did consider of covering fitting but that could take a month in itself to do properly!  So it might be best to discuss any personal fitting issues you are having within the Flickr group as you post your photos, and then everyone can offer their advice there.  Do you think that sounds ok?
(Note to self – start Flickr group!)

For fabrics, I suggest good quality, medium weight fabrics in natural fibres as they are easy to tailor – and sewing should be fun, right?  Good quality might cost a little extra, but consider how minimal that extra is for just 2m of cloth – $10?  $20?  In my opinion that is a small price to pay to avoid sewing with fabrics that blatently misbehave and make you cross, and the end result will be a better quality jacket too.

100% wool is a classic choice – it presses into shape beautifully and you can’t go far wrong.  You could also choose silk or linen if you are heading into spring.  Firmly woven fabrics like wool gabardine and many manmade fabrics are more difficult to tailor so you might want to avoid them unless you are experienced.    You will need a few other materials too – fusing, lining, shoulder pads, sleeve head wadding, etc – and I’ll cover those requirements in more detail in another post soon.

Are you excited?  I am – I love making jackets and coats!  So if you want to sewalong, here’s what to do:

  • Sign up for the sewalong in the comments below
  • Choose your jacket pattern
  • Go shopping for fabric
  • Get to work fitting your toile/muslin, so you are ready to start on April 1
In the meantime I will start a Flickr group, try and design a sewalong badge and a link to all participants in the sidebar, and generally just get organised!  
Happy pattern hunting and fabric shopping!
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I'm a designer/patternmaker who loves to share my sewing knowledge with others! Follow me as I sew my personal projects, sharing my favourite tricks of the trade along the way.

129 thoughts on “Who wants to do a Tailoring Sewalong?

  1. This is a fantastic idea! I'm currently making the Lady Grey coat, using Gertie's previous sew-a-long posts, and while I am loving how it is turning out, the copious amounts of hand sewing are driving me nuts!

    If I'm done soon on the Lady Grey, I will definitely join – thanks for such a great idea!

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  2. This sounds like fun! I've got a couple of coat patterns and I was planning on starting one in April. I'll follow along but I might be a little behind – there's so much going on at the moment that I (probably) won't have a muslin done by April 1st.

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  3. Great, I might be tempted but like Helen I don't think I can have a muslin done by 1st April. Have other projects ongoing still and no idea yet what pattern of fabric I would use.

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  4. I'm in. I just bought a great tailoring book and have some beautiful camel coloured cashmere. But I want some of your expert advice along the way.

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  5. I might have to hunt me down a coat pattern. I've never made one before. But i've seen plenty of home made ones that were ghastly! I have great faith in you though. Is there a tried and true pattern that you'd recommend ? Something that you've done that worked out without too much drama?
    lore
    x

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  6. If I can get my hands on some decent wool coating, I'm in. Might be the kick I need to work on it. Perfect timing for S. Hemisphere, too… I totally noticed that.

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  7. Oooh. I should like to join. It would be great to learn to do decent speed tailoring. Right now there seems to be a big gap between my jackets made with fusibles and the jackets I make with “full tailoring”. I have pattern, fabric, lining and bottons ready for a coat, but was just waiting because I couldn't decide with methods to use.

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  8. This sounds wonderful! Don't know that I'll sign up, but I certainly will be studying your advice. I taught myself by studying the insides of RTW garments (while making alterations), but I'd love to have some real instructions, and yours are always amazingly good.

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  9. I have a trench coat pattern that I cut out about two years ago and never got around to sewing it. This sew along may be the very thing I need to help me finally get this jacket done.

    So count me in.

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  10. Count me in! I don't wear blazers much, so I might sew some mandarin collared jacket, but I assume the tailoring techniques are more or less the same.

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  11. I would love to join. I have my fabric and pattern ready to go!!!! A coat is on my list of projects!!! In fact, I am so excited that I have to go and look at my lovely wool again. Hmmmm the more I think… i do have a more than one fabric choice. I better look at all my wools!

    Lorna

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  12. I won't be making my first coat or jacket until next Fall (in the Northern hemisphere) but I would LOVE to see your techniques and will come back to them when I'm ready! Traditional tailoring is pretty unappealing to me right now.

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  13. I probably don't need to be putting more things on my plate for the next 6 months but this does sound like a great distraction from exams and thesis-writing and maybe if it's speed-tailoring there'll be time. I'm extremely tempted to sign up for this (but not necessarily to finish on time) and make a light spring/autumn jacket. Just one question – will we need an overlocker/serger or will just a sewing machine do?

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  14. Why didn't this sew a long come three months earlier? It might have saved me so much cursing and a disaster of a coat! :p hehe, well, I'll start over again and join in 🙂

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  15. I lurk here a lot, and I'm totally tempted, but seeing as how I'm just finishing sewing projects #3 and #4 (ever), I think I'll watch the fun for now. At least the posts will still be there when I'm ready to try my hand at a coat!

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  16. I'm Northern Hemisphere, would a Spring jacket work? I have my eye on Burda's tweed blazer (model 109) from this February's issue. Would this work? Or is loose tweed to fussy? Tweed is one of the few things that is a relative bargain here in Britain!

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  17. I am so excited but I don' t think that I manage because my holiday is starting just in 1 April. How much time do You plan for this project? Maybe i will manage to take part.

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  18. Count me in too. This will be my first sew-along so a bit nervous. Great timing as I have on my sewing table a beautiful 100% wool to make a jacket – just deciding on 1 of 3 patterns. I'd love to join.

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  19. Wow! I think I am interested. I am currently participating in the 12 Jackets in 12 months sew-a-long over at the Stitchers Guild and am only sewing quick and fun unlined jackets for that. Why not follow along with you and make one of them tailored and lined? Count me in…I will do my best to stay on task. I currently have McCall's M5935 & M5759 in my stash to choose from. Maybe you can suggest these to some of the ladies?

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  20. I am a little nervous because I don't know if I will keep up to speed. But, I have always wanted to learn “tailoring”. I have a ton of coat and jacket patterns, so I'll look thru my stash. As far as fabric I do have some tweed, no wool. Since we are approaching Spring season,is twill good for a trench?

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  21. I am over the moon with this announcement. I'm in !!!!
    There are so many Burda tailored jackets I wnat to make but lack confidence to start on my own.
    Thanks
    The flickr fitting process is a great idea

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  22. I might join in since I was planning anyway to make a jacket for winter soon… a few months ago I bought Vogue 8333 which is a pattern featuring “custom couture construction techniques” which I'm quite excited about trying out, so I might not be joining in the fusible totally machine made thing that you are proposing, but I'll still sign up if you are OK with me doing a slightly different thing? I'll be using a wool/silk blend I bought in Japan specifically for this project.

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  23. I've been tentatively planning a couple of jackets so if I can get my act together in time I'd love to be part of this – and your tips and tutes are always so clear!

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  24. I would love to join. I am traveling a lot for work in March, but hopefully I can be reasonably up to speed by the time you start.
    count me in!
    Caroline
    4-sisters.blogspot.com

    Like

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