Making my own chore jacket – part 3

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Greetings once again from the lab of sewing ones own clothes, or the den of slow fashion as it may more accurately be called. This instalment is part three of attempting to sew my own workwear style coat, using the “Foreman” pattern by Merchant & Mills.

The other parts:

I left you last time in something of a lather, having discovered that there was no way the collar was going to come together as described in the instructions. And I was struggling to really get a good grasp of the instructions and the diagram, so there was a distinct possibility of the problem being down to my limited experience as well. I did shoot a mail to Merchant & Mills though and they confirmed that I was indeed right, there was an error in the pattern. Specifically, the text on the paper pattern is correct (it actually says to cut 2 of piece 7, the collar stand), but the cutting layout and instructions do not mention it. Hopefully you will now not walk into the same pitfall as me and save a days worth of wasted time.

So, to make it absolutely clear: Cut two collar stands and attach one to the upper collar and one to the lower collar. Things then attach quite logically from that point.

Once the collar completed, top and bottom, four pieces in all, the job get’s a little more straightforward again. In step 4 the backpiece and two front pieces are attached to the collar. At this point I actually deviated a bit, though not intentionally. I came to step 4 and 5 while I was still missing a collar stand, so I tried to assemble it in a half-assed missing-a-piece way. And game to a grinding halt. Rather than unpick it all, I just unpicked the bits that were strictly necessary to redo. It’s probably a lot easier to get it right the first time!

This ended up giving me a collar looking like the photos beneath. A couple of points here: The value of using a thread that matches the fabric is obvious, as unless you’re a much better seamsman than me (granted, not a tall order, please carry on) then any mistakes will be highlighted by using a contrasting thread. Also, I made heaps of mistakes and retries when assembling this collar, but almost all of them are hidden away once finished. Those that are not hidden add character (I’ll pretend to believe that, though I’m crying inside).

Now, at this point, if you’re following the actual instructions, you will have got a collar and not much else. As mentioned, I had to go back and forth a bit, so from the above photos you’ll see that my jacket looks a little more finished in the carefully cropped photos. I’d actually got to step 7. Step 6 is easy, it’s just sewing the two front pieces to the back piece, a little zip-zagging to prevent fraying and it’s on to step 7. Step 7 is where you attach the collar to the front and back pieces. This was another step where I found the instructions less lucid than just looking at the available pieces and seeing how they would fit. Pin them properly together, double check, triple check and sew carefully.

Step 8 is another thankfully easy step, all we do here is sew the two front facings to the back neck facing (I was struggling to come up with a better term than what the pattern calls it, so be it). It’s really quite the same job as step 6, but for the inside bits. Another round of zig-zagging and it’s done. And lo and behold, we’re almost at the end of the first page of instructions here!

This page ends with step 9 though and this is where things start coming together, in that the outside and inside is sewn together. I think I might have preempted this step a bit as well when I was in a kerfuffle around step 7, so best to look to the diagram there if you need help. It’s really quite a logical step an mainly includes long seams, careful notching and making sure all is good before you turn the page.

And when you turn the page, find step 10 is just turning the assembled pieces right way out and pressing them, you’ll rejoice in that it’s actually starting to look like a jacket! Granted, the air-vents on the side are massive, it’s decidedly one size to fit all, and there are no arms, but compare it to the pile of fabric we started with at it’s come a long way.

Step 11 is another easy one (we’re on quite a roll at the moment!), topstitching the “back neck facing” to the back piece. A little care must be taken here as there are three points to line up: The notching on the facing piece must first line up with the centre seam of the back piece, then the shoulder seams must match the seam between neck facing and front facings. It makes sense once you see it, but you’ll save a lot of pinning if you have it in mind the first time.

Step 12 as another milestone, and an easy one at that (yay!), sewing the side seams in place. This closes up the side seams so we could at this point saw we’d prefer to leave it as a vest and be pretty much done (no, I don’t think that would be much of an idea either). Just match up the side seams front and rear and run a stitch down it. The rear piece is still not hemmed, so the front hem needs to be folded out and sewn to the rear .

I’ll stop for today with step 13 and would you believe it, it’s another easy one. It is a little bit critical though and it will test your topstitching skills as the seams are long and will be visible. A seam to run each side down the front pieces, offset 6 cm from the edge, and a seam round the hem, offset 5 cm from the edge. This is a case where you want to measure carefully, twice, and dig out a long ruler or straightedge. And when you’ve chalked it carefully, do as straight a seam as you can manage.

Will one final installment be enough? I’m not sure, but at this point there really is only the arms to be constructed and inserted, and then adding buttons and buttonholes. Sounds like a walk in the part to me, though I see mention in step 14 of “ease stitching”. If you want to stay one step ahead, I found this decent guide on YouTube. The end result of this is that we are now looking at a garment such as illustrated below!

The other parts:

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

 

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