Time for some sewing again… Merchant & Mills jacket!

After a long and basically threadless Spring and Summer (bare the occasional button that needed sewing, naturally) it’s time to see about firing up the sewing machine again. Yes, I know, the blue corduroy waistcoat is still unfinished, and every time someone asks I think that it must surely be time to finish it. And it will happen, I promise!


In the meantime though I’m keen to try my hand om something new. I’ve done a few waistcoats now, so how about a jacket? I did report a while back that Merchant & Mills had started doing a few menswear patterns as well, and I’ve got my sweaty little mitts on their “The Foreman” pattern. Described as of intermediate difficulty and “inspired by traditional workwear of the early fifties” this would appear to be spot on for me.


Basically it’s what you and me know and love as the rugged and simple chore coat. Unlined, boxy, patch pockets, a square collar and three buttons on the front. And typically in a blue cotton twill. So, given that I tend to accumulate blue jackets a little to readily, I decided to go a different way on this project, just to keep life a little more interesting. So olive colours Butcher’s canvas it is! Of course, a design like this could be made in almost any fabric, including denim, cordury, moleskin or what have you.


Let’s stop to consider a moment: A pattern like this costs 13 pounds. This gives you the blueprint for all the parts and detailed instructions on how to put it together. You need the tools, i.e. the sewing machine, scissors, pins and thread, and your time. And the fabric of your choice. This will most likely let you make a jacket to your own size, your own desires and hey, if making your own jacket is’t a potentially braggable moment, I don’t know what might be! Time and gumption though, that is what you really need.


Commercially available patterns are pretty clever things. One pattern covers a wide array of sizes, so whether you’re a 36 or a 46, or something in between, you’re covered. Each pattern can only be used for one size though, as part of the process is to cut out the paper bits in preparation for cutting the fabric. Take a little care in this though and you can easily make more to the same size later, and trust me, once you know what you’re doing the second piece will be done in half the time.


To be fair, it does help if you have someone a little savvy on the sewing terminology to lend a hand the first time you try to follow instructions. If not, there are a million videos on YouTube that will attempt to teach you the oddities. Failing that, it’s amazing how much you can pick up through following The Great British Sewing Bee (and I’m not afraid to admit I have done so!).


So, this is what things look like. I’m ready to start cutting. What do you reckon?


  • Jan 07/10/2016 at 21:07

    This is spooky. Just today I was googling for work jacket patterns and haven’t found anything usable.
    So, thanks!

  • Craig 07/10/2016 at 21:30

    Looking forward to following your progress on this.

  • Steve 09/10/2016 at 15:51

    very cool! I’ve on occasion found old sewing patterns for men’s clothes but didn’t realize that new [and cool] ones are obtainable. Thanks!

    • nick 10/10/2016 at 06:46

      In addition to Merchant and Mills you’ll want to look at Thread Theory in Canada. They make their own patterns and also sock other menswear patterns.

  • Making my own Chore jacket part 1 – Well Dressed Dad 07/06/2017 at 14:08

    […] I did post about it half a year back, when I thought I had worked up the gumption to give it a go (read here), so let’s let that one serve as the main intro to the project. In summary, Merchant & […]

  • maggie 08/06/2022 at 06:43

    You could try tracing the size that you want to make, leaving the original pattern in pristine condition and traceable again if you wish to make a different size. Looking forward to seeing how this progresses.


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