Making my own Chore jacket – part 2

Reading Time: 6 minutes

I left you at the end of part one having cut out all the pieces required to make the jacket, and applied interfacing to the bits that needed the extra rigidity. So far it was really just a case of following the simple and logical process of identifying the right size, carefully cutting out the pieces and doing a little ironing. I was a proper happy-go-luck seamsman and my first jacket seemed within easy reach!

The other parts:

Of course, at this point I had completed step 1 of the 17 steps in the process and the sea ahead was calm. Step 2 is to assemble the pockets and this is where a lack of sewing experience can be a problem. Or, not really the lack of experience, but lack of vocabulary. I’m a veteran of every season of the Great British Sewing Bee (and the Norwegian variant) and I’ve heard “top-stitch” and so forth mentioned innumerable times, but then I come across something like “Pull up ease stitch thread.” and my mind is filled with fog. This is where good illustrations can help a lot, and being able to read them. The pattern includes a brief guide to understanding the illustrations and it’s a cracking idea to actually take a look at this before heading into despair.

Pay special attention to the colour codes showing the back and front of the fabric. I stared at these illustrations of a long time before I managed to work out the intricacies of folds, yet in retrospect it’s actually dead easy and straightforward. At this point though it’s worth mentioning something I think must be a mantra for a seamsman: Do it properly while you’re doing it, as any shoddy work will come back to haunt you later on when it’s too late to fix it. How do I know this? Guess once.

Pockets sewn and pressed and it’s time for step 3, sewing them into place on the front pieces. After a tough step 2 this is actually an easy one, at least to understand. The placement of the pockets is transferred from the paper pattern and then it’s just a question of sewing them in place. Naturally, this is top-stitching and you have to be super-duper neat or else it will look like you made it yourself. One tip here: If you’re using a thread colour that matches the fabric colour very closely, it’s that much harder to see that the top stitch isn’t 100%.

Step 4 and 5 is where things get tricky again, the collar. According to the instructions there are three pieces involved here, the upper collar, the lower collar and the collar stand. I spent an entire day first trying to grasp how this went together, sewing it together and trying to see how this could possibly work.

As shown on the photos, the collar stand is attached to the top collar. This is basically a matter of lining the bits up carefully, pinning them in place and then running a stitch along the seam allowance (i.e. 15mm from the edge), then trimming it a bit and cutting notches to let the fabric curve easier. When that is ok, you iron it so it sits nice. This is one of those things that you get used to doing and to be honest, it’s really pretty pleasing when it works right.

Next the under collar was attached to the top collar in much the same way, outside fabric against outside fabric and sew along the edge. Turn outside out and steam it nice with the iron. Then try to do a neat top stitch along the edge. This one actually worked out quite nicely for me. Well pleased!

Now is where things got a little fraught. The collar is to be attached to the front and rear pieces and the instructions and diagram is not clear. Often you can hold pieces against each other and work out how it has to fit, but here I was desperately uncertain. In the end I just went for it.

It was obvious that this was not right. I looked at every jacket I have to see if any of them had a collar that was similar enough, and none was. I called upon the wisdom of a friend that is more of a seamsman than I’ll ever be, and he has actually sewn this very jacket. He was able to show me the way forward and we deduced that the pattern has a mistake, there should be two collar stands. Once that was sorted the clouds lifted, the sun shone and the collar actually made sense. Phew!

I’ll pick up again at this point in the next post, ok? A sewing blog cliff hanger, who even knew that was possible!

The other parts:

The pattern I’m using is available from Merchant & Mills

 

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5 Comments

  • Making my own Chore jacket part 1 – Well Dressed Dad 14/06/2017 at 10:33

    […] Part two can be found here. […]

    Reply
  • Alex 15/06/2017 at 17:43

    I’m intending to make this very jacket in the near future – if there is in fact a problem with the pattern, it would be great if you could go into a bit more detail about what was necessary to fix it!

    Reply
    • nick 16/06/2017 at 08:47

      I’ll include some extra details on this, thanks the input!

      Reply
  • Martin Kalinowski 17/06/2017 at 08:11

    Wow dude your amazing! I just discovered your site, your one awesome gentleman. Keep up the great work ?

    Reply
    • nick 17/06/2017 at 08:13

      Thank you!

      Reply

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