Sunday 7 February 2016

Simple Sew: Notch Collar Jacket

Last year I was struggling to find sewing inspiration. Even all the beautiful makes I saw on other blogs couldn't inspire me. That changed in December when I got hold of the December issue 21 of "Love Sewing" magazine

On the cover was a beautiful notch collar jacket. It might have helped that there were flowers on the fabric *cough*. And I have a scuba jersey with similar flowers on it. Perfect. The jacket does not have any fastenings, no lining and no complicated collar. So as the pattern says, it should be simple to sew!

However, before cutting into my precious scuba jersey, I made a wearable muslin and that's what I'm showing you today. So bear that in mind when spotting the imperfections. If you wonder why I show you this muslin, let me tell you: I love it despite it's imperfections.

Size: I cut a size 8 at the bust, 10 at the waist and 12 at the hips. 

Fabric: Left-over denim that I bought 6 years ago in Cloth House in Soho, London. Hm, writing this, makes me wonder if I ever washed it, gulp.

Alterations: Before cutting out the pattern, I made some flat pattern alterations. 1) 5/8" forward shoulder adjustment: I added 5/8" to the back shoulder seam and removed the same amount from the front shoulder seam. 2) To accommodate my broad shoulders, I lengthened the shoulder seam line by 1" (ending at size 16 for the shoulder length). Then I redrew the armhole seam line so that it connected with the size 8 seam line at the arm pits. I did that for front and back bodice. 

3) Now the question was, which sleeve size do I need? Thus I measured the length of the armhole seam line of the front and back bodice. I also measured the length of the sleeve cap and to my surprise found that the size 8 sleeve cap had only 1/2" ease and would thus nicely fit into my armhole. As I had done a forward shoulder adjustment on my bodice, I also moved the shoulder point on the sleeve cap 5/8" forward. I used this tutorial by Phat Chick Designs for the forward sleeve adjustment - one of the best ones I've found so far.

4) I also moved the bust dart down by 1" which seems to be one of my standard alterations with every pattern I'm sewing.

I then cut the jacket and as you might notice from the photographs had more adjustments to do! The problem was that the front bodice was not hanging straight but tilted towards the back. So basically the side seams where running towards the back at the bottom. I managed to solve that problem by pinching out some fabric at the neckline - so these are the darts that you can see on the photographs. 

I know they are not the prettiest, but I don't care. They are doing their job and I was able to pinch out the same amount from the paper pattern. I also had to change the facing. As I had the facing already cut, I had to pinch out a dart there as well. Hence the slightly ugliness.

Construction: Sewing was straightforward and I finished all seams with my overlocker. The instructions didn't say, but I understitched the facing. I also hand-stitched most of it to the main fabric because it just didn't want to stay inside the jacket. I also attached the pockets, although I have to admit I prefer the jacket without. 

Have I worn it yet? I have worn the jacket once and have to admit it is not the comfiest one. My arm movements are quite restricted towards the front. It might be because the jacket is made from denim. Or because I have to add some more fabric to the back in the shoulder area. Or both :)

Nonetheless, I really like the jacket, because it goes with so many of my clothes. I'm sure it will get loads of wear as soon as temperatures are rising. I especially like how this jacket looks with my McCalls Shirt Dress that I made 2 years ago - yep it is still alive. So how about you? Would you wear a wearable muslin or a not so perfect garment in public?


  1. It's a cute jacket. I'm hoping to make up a similar style unlined cropped jacket soon, as I have one that came with a simplicity dress pattern. I have only made cardigans from stretch fabric before, so it will be something new for me!

    1. Thanks Colette. I'm still very thrilled about how fast unlined clothes can be made - almost as fast as stretch cardigans I imagine :) I can only recommend you make a muslin first just to make sure your arm movement is not restricted :)

  2. Interesting to hear you graded between sizes from the shoulder to armpit - I hadn't ever considered trying that! I'm currently trying out a broad shoulder adjustment for my next dress but I guess that does much the same thing with less faffing about.

    I really like the cropped style of your jacket and the colour really suits you. I imagine the restricted arm movement will resolve itself if your next version is a stretchy scuba jersey.

    1. I'm just trying loads of different things and the grading between shoulder and armpit seems to work good :) But yeah you are right essentially it is a broad shoulder adjustment. However, the 2normal" broad shoulder adjustment turn never out as well for me than my new "method".

      Yes the scuba jersey version is lovely - it will be soon on the blog :) But I'm planning to make another jacket from some leftover wool I have and thus I have to solve the tightness issue!

  3. It's a beautiful jacket. The colour looks wonderful on you!

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