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