Focus on Fit

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After my class at Sewing Summit, I’ve been receiving numerous requests from the ladies who attended to publish the material I presented there, here. So to catch y’all up to speed, I did a lecture style class on fit and gave some advice on how to go about the fitting process with some ideas for resources and I demonstrated a few of my favorite alterations and adjustments. I feel that the number one reason people end up never sewing again, is fit. Fitting is frustrating. Oh my gosh, it is so frustrating! What I’ve also found is that while you can get the best fit by sewing for yourself, most times this is the result of a lot of hard work. Personally, I also find (lots to find out with fit!) that ready to wear clothing actually does fit me better than just trying to recreate the look with a sewing pattern. This also usually depends on the sewing pattern in question and the particular style/garment I’m after, but goodness gracious, it can be difficult.

I think the process of fitting a garment can not only be frustrating, but intimidating. Where do I start? What is the best course of action? Do I always have to make a muslin? When I make a muslin, what do I look for? Do I make more than one muslin? What is a muslin? How do I know that what I am looking at needs to be altered and at what point do I reach crazy, and jump off that train so as not to overfit?

So I’ve decided to take you through the process that I go through when I’m looking at sewing a new sewing pattern plus we’re going to have some awesome discussions on different fitting related subjects. I’ll be showing you how to adjust a sewing pattern from a list of measurements – that you’ll take yourself – and from there how to create a proper muslin, what you’re looking and feeling for, my favorite fitting books for looking at your muslin to see what’s wrong and how to fix it and how it is possible to go through this process by yourself and fit yourself without a fitting buddy. A sewing/fitting buddy is awesome, but if you’re anything like me, and you’re fitting yourself at 11pm at night, its not like you can just call up your bestest fitting friend and tell them to get over here and help you out. Fitting is also a process. A long process when you have a fitted garment and sometimes you don’t get all the kinks out of the pattern until you’ve made it up a few times.

I’m really really excited to show you some of my tricks and I received permission to publish one of my favorite fitting tutorials here – one that came as a complete revelation to me and one that I’m pretty sure you’ll love too. Also, all the tutorials and posts for this series here on my blog are mostly finished – meaning they are practically ready to post any day! Yes! That’s means that I’ll be giving you bites every few days and you won’t have to wait and I won’t be a liar and well, you know how that goes.

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To make matters even better, this is all going to lead back into my Pattern Play series that I kind of, sort of started at the beginning of this year. I’m actually getting kind of passionate about how hard it can be to fit a single pattern and then filling your closet with versions of that pattern – easy peasy changes to create a completely different look from one pattern.

So, look for fitting posts up and coming. I hope you’ll find my process not only informative, but also easy to follow and get a feel for. Fitting is not necessarily easy, but if you tackle it all one garment at a time, you will get the hang of it. It’s about practice and training. Kind of like running a marathon or playing a musical instrument – before your big debut, you have to have built up to it.

What do you think about fitting? Is it frustrating for you? What’s the most overwhelming part of the process?

  • Tammy - Thank you so much for doing this. I have taken a few classes from Craftsy on adjusting patterns and making a muslin. However, the “in-between” steps that you mentioned above aren’t often taught. I know everyone has there own process once they get going – however, it will be so nice to learn your approach to making pattern modifications, creating a muslin, and adjusting from there. Thanks for taking this time!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - This is very exciting. I have read lots about fitting, but have never quite managed to put it properly into practice, so am always keen to learn more.ReplyCancel

  • Maga - Thank you very much for doing this. My daughter and I help each other fit patterns and have learnt a lot since 2008 when we first started doing this but we still have those “scratch our heads” moment when we have no idea what to do next. Looking forward to learning more.ReplyCancel

  • Elisa from CharmingDoodle.com - I’m VERY excited to learn from you about getting a good fit. The number one reason I focus (almost exclusively) on making kids’ clothes is because they are so easy to fit. No crazy curves. I seldom make anything for myself because it takes a long time to get the fit right, and I’m not very patient (aka – I don’t make muslins first) so I waste a lot of beautiful fabric in the process just wanting to sew quickly. Thanks for sharing your experience!!ReplyCancel

  • Lene - Thank you so much for doing this. Fitting is my big problem and the reason why I am not very productive. I have taken Craftsy lessons and acquired (and read) some fitting books and I am getting a lot better. Persistence is the key, which I didn’t apply until recently. I look forward to learning additional tricks from you.ReplyCancel

  • tanya - To be honest i enjoy this part in sewing. The first time i sewed a dress i pick my size on the pattern and got to work. i put it on and i did not fit at all. all that hard work down the drain. so i turn to sewing for my child. then years later i tried again but this time with fit for real people in had and many test garments i learned about my alteration and i took off. I really enjoy fixing pattern to my size. yes it took lots of work..but now it does not.ReplyCancel

  • Alice - I’m so glad you’re going to do this! I have so much trouble getting the right fit, because I never know what I need to fix, how I need to fix it, and where to stop fixing things and say “Yes, this does fit, actually.” My upper body is also weirdly shaped and doesn’t seem to fit into commercial pattern sizing, so sometimes I just get too too frustrated.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Carlon - I can’t wait for your fitting tutorials! Fitting issues are my greatest challenge, from bust reduction to full bust adjustment. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.ReplyCancel

  • Erin || Sewbon.com - Yessssss! I’m SO excited about this! Thank you for running this series!ReplyCancel

  • The Nerdy Seamstress - Oh my! I’ve been waiting for something like this. I make muslins, but I don’t know what I’m looking for. Everything looks fine with the muslin. Then when I sew it out of fashion fabrics, I have to make more adjustments. I might have to sew a muslin as if it’s fashion fabric. I think that’s the best way for me. Fit is frustrating, but the perfect fit is everything.ReplyCancel

  • Maike - As a beginner, fit is the part of sewing I’m most intimidated by. Like Lene and Magda I wouldn’t know what to look out for. So thank you a lot for sharing your process, I’m very much looking forward to the series!ReplyCancel

  • Maureen Cooksley - I so agree with your comments on fitting…surely the biggest bug bear of all time even to seasoned sewers. I am also eager to learn [which is what I love about your site and posts] and will be logging in regularly to follow the course. If, like me, you have been sewing for yourself for many years, you think you know your own body – that can be a trap – one I’ve fallen into many times. Once I could walk into a shop, pick up a RTW and not even look in the direction of the fitting room, confident that it would fit – and it generally did. Now – all bets are off, and each garment is a bright new revelation. Which I why I make most of my clothes now – so fitting? Yes please!.ReplyCancel

  • Ann - I am new to sewing, just finishing up my fourth item and first dress. I had to make three muslins before I got close to a fit (most problems relating to my short stature, and large, and apparently low, bust). Now, after laboring over the dress for days, I won’t really know whether it fits until I insert the zipper today. Fit is so very important, and elusive for me, as I do not have a standard build. I have an inexpensive, dialable dress form, that seems to be worthless, because even if I get the bust, waist and hip measurements right, the distance between shoulders a bust, and bust and waist are completely wrong. For these reasons, I am very eager to learn every technique you are so generously about to impart. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Tracy - I am so excited for this series! I *want* to sew for myself ~ I have a really difficult time finding clothing that fits me perfectly (of course, I don’t shop at pricier stores, where I might be more likely to find something ;-) but you are correct; I get stumped on the fit.
    Another big problem for me is – the fabric. I prefer knits. I am a stay at home mom; knits suit my lifestyle…. but even among knits, there is such a vast difference in how they hang and wear. I’ve made things that fit well, only to have them begin to pill in just a few washes (and I always hang my clothes to dry after just a 10 minute tumble through the dryer) I’ve used my perfected pattern, and ended up with clothes that do.not.fit. what the heck?!
    I am totally sold on the idea of using a tried and true pattern to build a wardrobe, too :-) ReplyCancel

  • Natalie - I am trying SO hard right now not to let fitting myself being the reason I stop sewing. I have no one really to help me fit myself, so I’ve enlisted my husband to learn. Yesterday I made a muslin and we worked on fitting the bodice. Our accomplishment of the evening was that he pinned the back up for me so that I could see what it looked like on. At that point we had to take a break before we both went crazy. Baby steps, right?

    So a series on fitting yourself without help would be awesome! So looking forward to this.ReplyCancel

  • Katie Emma - Looking forward to your posts! I made four shirts from the same simple sleeveless top pattern and finally felt like I got the fit right. Patterns seem to always be way too tight in the armscye and they gape at the back neck. I’d love to see advice on how to modify these spots, especially if there are sleeves or collars to take into account!ReplyCancel

  • maddie - Sunni, this will be great! I used to find fitting hard, until I became a technical designer and that was my job. I have found a certain order of fitting (i.e. fitting from the shoulders down) that works for me. It will be interested to hear your process.ReplyCancel

  • Marianne - If only I could find the mathematical formula that would work any time on my fitting issues! Your posts will be followed closely, interesting stuff!ReplyCancel

  • Mary Solan Avison - Thank you so much for your generous spirit in offering this course. When I was younger I had no difficulty using Vogue patterns size 12 and had only to add a couple of inches around the hips. Now either they have changed or I have, but now I get it very difficult to get a satisfactory fit. I think that nowadays I need guidance on how much ease is required, as I know this varies according to the style, and not the type of garment.

    Anyway keep up the good work I really enjoy your posts, I read them from head to toe and am happy that there are other people out there that still sew!ReplyCancel

  • Tasha - Awesome idea, Sunni! I can’t wait to read more. I definitely feel fit can be intimidating. It’s the “what do I do NOW?” part that’s the most confusing to me when I have those moments. I may know something is wrong, but not always know what in the world to do *about* it.ReplyCancel

  • Gail - This is going to be so great! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • LM - How exciting!! thank you so much :) I find it very frustrating…the whole process but what really dives me up the walls is the “what am i looking for?” part. and then the “how do i fix it?” sometimes i can’t find a word on the internet and i think i am a freak…anyhow, thanks and i am looking forward to this sereis :) ReplyCancel

  • Mary Pat - Fit is the most challenging part of sewing and why I have thrown away too much fabric. I look forward to reading your insights.ReplyCancel

  • Marie - Very excited about this. I have a lot of difficulties with fit, mainly because I find it hard to judge what different wrinkles mean.ReplyCancel

  • Kerri - As another new sewer I’m really looking forward to this. I started out with a pattern fitting course but the fitting myself I’m finding tough.ReplyCancel

  • Ani - I’m another relatively new sewist — rather, I’ve been sewing for the past twenty years, but only one thing a year and then I get pissy about it because it looks like a 12 year old made it.

    I’m “new” in the sense that in the past two years I’ve been learning about things like “fit” and “actually paying attention to what I’m doing”. I even have to make a muslin of pajama pants because, seriously, I have a pajama pant muslin that is somehow about 5 inches too big around the waist. Why I am incapable of choosing the correct pattern size is beyond me.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa G - i definitely look forward to reading these posts! i feel like i understand my main fitting issues, but it’s taken quite a while to get to that point. there’s always more to learn, so thank you for taking the time to post about this!ReplyCancel

  • Fara - I have been concerned that I am so slow finishing my muslins after having been working at this for a year and a half. It is good to know that it is not that I am just slow but it is hard for everyone until we figure it out. I keep saying I am going to be really good at this someday. Thank you for sharing what you know. Everything helps.ReplyCancel

  • Siri Andersen - Yes! This is awesome! I actually enjoy the fitting/muslin process most of the time, but it can be very frustrating. My biggest hurdle however, is suppressing the urge to wing it. I am bad at structure and discipline, and doing things the proper way. But when I do manage to keep myself in line, things usually turn out wonderfully in the end :D ReplyCancel

  • Diane @ Vintage Zest - For me, the most annoying part of fitting is seeing what I have to change on a muslin, but not being able to pin it on myself. No one else I know sews, much less knows how to pin! Since that is the first hurdle, I’m not sure what other obstacles would lie ahead, but that one is frustrating enough!ReplyCancel

  • Chantal - Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I desperately need this. I’m always so confused and lost when I make a muslin. I can see the problems, but I have no idea how to fix them. I was planning on making several Hawthorn dresses, but I got so frustrated with the fit that I just had to put it aside. I’m looking forward to these posts!ReplyCancel

  • Jackie - I am ready and waiting. This is what I have been looking for!!!ReplyCancel

  • marthaeliza - I really appreciate your honest and direct approach — “it’s challenging, it takes practice and you can do it!” I look forward to this so much, and thank you in advance for all the work it takes to create these posts.ReplyCancel

  • Betty Jordan Wester - I’m super excited that you’re doing this! I can’t wait to read them!

    I’ve gotten to the point where I know I always have to do a gaping neck adjustment and lengthen the waist. I don’t know if I have to do an sba until I make a muslin- and I always have to make a muslin. I’m always shocked when a pattern fits other people right out of the envelope and sometimes a little jealous ;) ReplyCancel

  • Melanie - Great series idea, really looking forward to it. I have found fitting much easier since I got a friend to help me make a duct tape mannequin of myself. She’s not perfect, but it’s much easier to see when I put the garment on Missy (as I call the headless ‘me’) and then play around with fixing it. And that in turn has helped me recognise issues that I can now fix on paper without the need for her. Who knew one shoulder was an inch lower than the other? Missy made that glaringly obvious, but I never would’ve noticed it on my body.ReplyCancel

  • Jillian - Oh my god, I kneel down before you in sheer joy! Thank you for starting what seems like the perfect series for me. I have been sewing for some time and still scratch my head about fitting issues. In fact, my standby is simply running in the side seams. I am beginning to understand this is not nearly fixing fit issues. It’s interesting to try on some of my older makes and start to see their faults with more experienced eyes, but still not understand where to start. I am excited to read your posts!ReplyCancel

  • Miss Demeanour - Oh my how happy am I about this :) The fit is what I do battle with always. It’s the joy of having the proportions of an exclamation mark all top no bottom. I don’t mind the hardwork involved but I agree the start point is the real sticking point with me. Can’t wait to read allabout it.

    Thanks so much :) ReplyCancel

  • Lee - Awesome! Thank you so much for putting this series together! I totally agree with your observations about fitting.ReplyCancel

  • Heather - THIS IS FANTASTIC. I’m obsessed with perfect fit!! When I was in high school I had an impossible-to-fit shape and my mother made many perfect-fitting mini-skirts from the same pattern. I’ve finally realized that I still long for those perfect fitting (lined skirts) and have taken up sewing for just this reason.ReplyCancel

Country Cutie

Having not tried any of Steph’s Cake patterns as yet, several months ago there was a call for pattern testers and so I signed up. I thought it would be a good chance to try one of her pattern offerings and see what I thought. Having seen so many amazing versions of her patterns out there, they seemed really accessible. And I feel that knitwear is definitely something that needs to be beefed up in the pattern industry. The Big 4 have completely wacky knitwear patterns and I don’t mean the designs either. The drafting is basically the same as their woven patterns and I know this because every single time I use one of their patterns designed for knitwear, I have to go down 2 sizes to get even close to the right fit. So weird. So, I feel there is a serious hole in this branch of sewing and something that I definitely support.

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This is the latest, Red Velvet, put out by Cake. The versions I’ve seen are really lovely and they really flatter many people. The sizing process is easy to grasp and wonderfully customizable. Its truly genius. This dress will work in many different knit fabrics and its really versatile not being too overly dressy or too casual. Very much like the Tiramisu, it has a wonderful shape.

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Right out of the envelope or should I say printer (if you get the PDF version), this pattern has a few things that you should be aware of. Starting from the top, the bodice pieces are a tad on the short side. They cut off right in the middle of my breast. This was something that I actually checked before making up my first muslin and had to add 2 inches! Not really a huge deal, but something you should definitely check before you make it up. Additionally, after my first mock up, I ended up adding another two inches to the bodice piece – resulting in four inches total. The original styling, with the midriff seam right under the bust is something I always have problems with. I really do feel that it makes me look pregnant and so I usually always lengthen things like this. Definitely a personal preference and something I don’t feel confident that I pull off very well. Having that midriff more around my natural waist area feels much more….me. To make up for the fact that I added 4 inches to the bodice, I took out an inch at the midriff. Proportionally, I think it does my figure much more justice.

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Surprisingly enough, after adding so much length to the bodice, I didn’t have to add anything to the skirt section. Well except pockets! ha! The pattern itself comes with a train ticket pocket with invisible zipper. Though I’m sure those pocket styles have their place, I definitely wanted something different. So I drafted on my own using Casey’s pocket tutorial. Note that my pockets aren’t shaped with scallops like the ones in her tutorial, but instead just curved side pockets. These are my favorite types of pockets and I do, usually, add them to any dress or skirt that make. Sorry, not sorry!

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Since I was technically testing this pattern, and the pattern line, I did make a muslin in a solid blue double knit. I had hoped that I could possibly still wear the blue knit but found that I had too many problems with it so sacked it and started afresh. I was planning to use another solid double knit, but realized that the muslin – double knit – ended up being too bulky and stable for this style. Instead, I went and grabbed up some yardage of this floral knit jersey. People, I rarely buy floral prints like this, but for some reason, this one really really appealed to me. For those of you living here in SLC, Utah, this fabric is from Nutall’s (the one in Murray) and if you don’t know, this store has like a billion bolts of knits. Seriously. Its the most amazing knit collection I have ever seen. So if you dig the knit – get over to Nuttall’s and get some before its all gone. Ha! This fabric is definitely not something that I usually go for, but the colorway really struck me as something from my 80s childhood and I just knew I would love it. It’s a poly/cotton/nylon blend, not my favorite, but it works great for this dress. Its lighter weight than a double knit, falling into the light to medium weight knit category. The colorway will go perfect into fall I think, with oxblood tights, boots and a cardi.

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Overall, I’m pleased with how the dress turned out. Really not a hard make. You can click on over to the Cake site to see what other alterations I made and such. And I think that’s it! Have you tried any of Steph’s patterns? Thoughts? They are rather brilliant and I’m digging this dress. And…. what do y’all think of this floral print?

  • martha - So darn adorable! the print is great with your hair. Nicely done!ReplyCancel

  • Gail - I love the floral print for this dress. I haven’t tried this pattern brand. My recent foray into self drafting has made me think about any commercial pattern purchases. Your post has also reminded me of a similar printed knit in my stash.ReplyCancel

  • Miss Crayola Creepy - I just ordered this over the weekend and now I am super anxious to get my hands on the pattern! Your version is so beautiful, the pattern and fabric compliment each other perfectly.ReplyCancel

  • Kirsty - That dress is gorgeous! It’s the first version I’ve seen that makes me want to buy the Red Velvet pattern – I love the print, the way it fits you – everything!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - I really love this! I’ll have to think about that pattern. I’m still a bit afraid of knits being too clingy as dresses, but I think it might be all in my head. Your version looks really fantastic!ReplyCancel

  • EmSewCrazy - I really like this fabric! Good to know about the pattern changes you made. I like things at my natural waistline so it’s good to know what to expect.ReplyCancel

  • sewdooley - Very cute, looks like the kind of comfy dress you can throw on and be set for the day. I was at the American Sewing Expo over the weekend and participated in a focus group for the McCalls/Butterick/Vogue/Kwik Sew group. It was interesting to hear all the comments related to pattern sizing. They have a new president who is much more interested in hearing from their customers.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer @ Workroom Social - Cute! Looks really easy to wear. I’ve never used a Cake pattern before, but I should try one!ReplyCancel

  • lisa g - very cute! loving that floral knit. it is nice to see more patterns for knits, and big 4 sizing in that arena absolutely defies reason. definitely an opening for the indie pattern makers!ReplyCancel

  • Diane @ Vintage Zest - I have yet to try any of the patterns, but they’re high on my holiday wishlist!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy Nichols - Love the print, and I am right with you on dropping those empire lines to at least rib cage bottom for a more flattering line. I for one would love to see this in a solid, maybe with 3/4 sleeves for cooler weather?
    I haven’t sewn knit dresses in a long time, but I remember struggling with a surplice wrap one of Vogue’s that I ended up re cutting and patching out of scraps when I couldn’t get the thing to fit and still be able to slide over my shoulders! of the big four I find Vogue gives you the most consistent fit. But then I haven’t bought a new pattern of theirs since 2001, so they may be wackier.
    Love the blog!
    Nancy NReplyCancel

  • Doris - The dress is just as cute as you are! Keep on keeping on!!!ReplyCancel

  • Fashionable Stitching & Structured Hems « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World - […] used a floral jersey fabric and inserted pockets into the side seams, you can read about it on her blog.  If you have Tiramisu, it’s easy to use the pocket from Tira for this!   Sunni opted to […]ReplyCancel

  • Mariann C. - That is an amazing looking outfit! :) ReplyCancel

  • jackie - I’m not much of a floral print person but this one looks amazing on you. The colors are wonderful.ReplyCancel

  • tanya maile - Great dress! I love the fabric an the style is very flattering on you. I can’t wait to try this pattern!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - Love it! The floral purple is really pretty, and it looks awesome with your hair ;) ReplyCancel

  • Judi - The fabric is beautiful and the dress looks perfect on you!ReplyCancel

  • Marie C - Great look, gorgeous fabric! I must agree about the Big 4 — they do not know how to draft patterns for knits. In addition to the wacky sizing, I have noticed: sleeves eased into armholes (totally unnecessary and usually ugly on knit tops), as well as edges finished with woven bias tape or bulky knit facings. We need to support pattern makers who can do better!ReplyCancel

  • Sewhopeful - I love your version Sunni. Fabric is gorgeous and I like how the extra length changes it from a midrif band to a waistband, it really works. And those pockets are a great idea too. Okey dokey, I’m now off to your shop to order some lovely things that I can’t seem to find for love or money over her in Oz.ReplyCancel

  • Shelly - The colours in the print are perfect for the cooling weather. They attracted me too!

    I have the Tiramisu pattern but haven’t as yet made it. It will be added to my list of projects as the weather warms up here.ReplyCancel

  • Ioana - Your dress so so pretty! Your blog is one of my favorite. I wouldn’t have picked the fabric in the store, but now, seeing how good it looks on you, I might just change my likes…and wild!ReplyCancel

  • Ioana - …..and GO wild!ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - This is so, so pretty! I love it on you!ReplyCancel

  • Angeia - I love this print! Your dress is much cuter than the picture on the envelope! I might have to try this one!ReplyCancel

  • Abbey - This fabric is gorgeous!I wish I could get my hands on some of it!ReplyCancel

  • Solange - I love this fabric, after seeing many plain, striped, polkadots versions which I loved btw, this one is really different! I’m making a printed one very soon, let’s see how it goes!ReplyCancel

  • F. K. - I love that floral print!ReplyCancel

Plaid Jacket Chronicles: Prepping the Pattern Pieces

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Mahahaha! And you thought I wasn’t going to finish this series just like everything else I’ve been doing lately, huh? Well friends, you were wrong! Ha! I am determined to finish talking to you about plaids this week. Ok, okayyyy, it might spill over into next week, but then after that, I’ll have conquered plaid and given you tips and secrets for how to do it yourself. Today I’ll be covering how to prep your pattern pieces for cutting out your plaid jacket. Ok, remember way back in this post when I talked about visualizing T-shapes in the three main pattern pieces? Remember that those three main pattern pieces are: Jacket Front, Jacket Back and Upper Sleeve? Yes, yes those are the main players here and I really really really do feel that if you focus on these three pieces, you’ll make life so much easier on yourself. I’ve read so many books and such that talk about plaids and its usually just a one page stint that says something like – “match the plaids at the seamlines.” That’s it? That’s all you have to tell me about planning a plaid? Its frustrating to say the least. So hopefully throughout this looooong series, you’ve felt like plaids are not insurmountable, but fairly conquerable. Anyway, back to those three main pattern pieces….

You’re going to be creating those t-shapes. This directly builds on the previous lesson, so you’re also going to need to remember/know approximately where to place your dominant stripes. Remember that horizontally they go across the upper bust/upper back and vertically you can choose to have them coming down the bust/shoulder blade line or down your center front and back. Let’s gander at the Jacket Front first. First you need to find the bust point. Usually on pattern pieces from the Big 4, they’ll include that info on the pattern. Its almost looks like a bulls eye. However, if you’re working with a pattern that did not include this info – shame on the pattern by the way – then let’s figure out where that is.

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You’ll need to get two measurements from your body. First measure from your shoulder point (the part where the sleeve connects to the bodice) to your bust point. Then measure from your center front over to your bust point. Now you’ll mark the intersection of these two points on the pattern. First measure down from the shoulder point, diagonally to approximately where your bust point is. From there find the center front – again should be clearly marked on your pattern, but if not its usually the edge of the buttons, or zipper or closure. Measure over to your bust point. Mark the intersection and now you know where your bust point falls.

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This info is important because your first vertical plaid line is going to fall right over the bust. Now if you’ve opted to use the Center Front for your vertical dominant stripe, then follow the same direction, but do it over the Center Front of the pattern. To mark the vertical line, you’re going to use the grainline as the reference point. Simply mark a line that is parallel to the grainline over the bust point.

To find the horizontal plaid line, you need to know where your high bust falls. Measure down from your shoulder point to your high bust (I mark my high bust with an elastic tied around the area) and then cut that measurement in half. The horizontal line should fall about in about the middle of the armhole. So to mark your pattern, simply measure down the half distance from your shoulder point to your high bust and mark a line that is perfectly perpendicular to your vertical plaid line. I love love love my 1/8″ gridded ruler for this job – probably my most used sewing tool. Don’t have one, get one! Yes!

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Moving onto the Jacket Back. You’re going to use the Jacket Front as your reference. Match the shoulder seams and mark the vertical plaid line. To get the horizontal line, lay your pattern pieces side by side, with shoulder tips level and mark the horizontal line from the front in approximately the same place.

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From there, extend the vertical and horizontal lines across the pattern in reference to the grainline. The vertical plaid line should be perfectly parallel to the grainline and the horizontal plaid line perfectly perpendicular to the the grainline.

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Upper sleeve is the same deal, with a minor exception. Its very possible the the plaid will not match at the back sleeve and in that case it is more important to match the front plaids. To get your horizontal plaid from the Jacket Front, you need to walk the seam lines. To walk walk seamlines, simply put the pattern pieces on top of each other like you’re going to sew it. Start at the shoulder tip and walk the seamline from the tip of the sleeve to the horizontal plaid mark on the jacket front. Then you’ll need to add about half of the sleeve cap ease. To find out how much sleeve cap ease you have, you need to measure the armhole and then measure your sleeve (both the upper and under) where it connects to the armhole at the seamline. The sleeve will have a larger number and you subtract the armhole measurement from this and voila! you have how much sleeve cap ease is in the sleeve. Divide that number by 2 and relocate the horizontal plaid mark for the sleeve.

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Then, of course, mark the vertical and horizontal lines in your upper sleeve pattern. I like to put the dominant plaid down the center of the sleeve or at the shoulder tip. Again, the horizontal plaid line is perpendicular to the grainline and the vertical plaid line is parallel to the grainline.

The other pieces will be cut based off of these three main pieces. I’ll go over that in much more detail in the next post.

I do hope this is clear. If it ain’t, speak up! Also, do yourself a HUGE favor and reduce the sleeve cap ease on the sleeve piece on any of the Big 4 sewing patterns (sometimes other pattern companies have too much ease too, just check) by following either Casey’s tutorial or Jessica’s or Sallie’s. I like to have 1.5″ sleeve cap ease in jackets. You might like a little more or a little less. Usually there’s something like 2 – 2.5″ of sleeve cap ease in Big 4 patterns, sometimes more. Makes it impossible to put the sleeve in and they end up being uncomfortable and if reduced it also gives you a fighting chance with the plaid match-up. And please, don’t get me started on the “zero sleeve cap ease” thing because I actually don’t think that sleeve cap ease is a myth. I’ve tried so many times to get rid of all the sleeve cap ease in a set-in sleeve and have yet to succeed at not having crazy drag lines up and down my arm. Instead, I slowly drive myself insane thinking its something that I can accomplish. While I do believe that it could be/can be/has been achieved (like many things in sewing) you really have to know what you’re doing to achieve that and additionally, Kathleen recently linked to a 400+ page dissertation on this subject. Yup. Basically you have to be a brilliant pattern drafter to achieve zero sleeve cap ease. I don’t know about you, but I have better things to do, especially when having 1.5″ of sleeve cap ease works for me and my sanity. Additionally, I remembered this sage advice from Sallieoh when she tried to achieve the same thing:

“don’t get caught up in chasing the mythological sleeve. its not worth it and you’ll end up trying to prove something to yourself, which is, in the end, pointless. just make a sleeve that works and move on with your damn life!

Yes. Just make the sleeve that works for you. If you have achieved perfect zero sleeve cap ease, this is awesome. If you haven’t, this is awesome too! OK, rant over. Go ye forth and get ready to cut your plaid, which is up next! Yay!

For all the Plaid Jacket Chronicles posts, click here.

  • kathi giumentaro - I have some black and white plaid shirting that I bought to make a shirt dress. Going on vacation soon but will be referring back to your plaid posts once I am ready to get started.I like the idea of visualizing T-shapes. This is very helpful.
    Thanks for the time you put into these posts.ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen - I completely agree. Doing sleeves is my absolute least favorite thing to do but if you’re cutting thousands of jackets, it pays to do it. Only one, probably not worth it.

    For an enthusiast to spend endless hours reiterating to achieve a perfect match stripe is akin to a given homeowner to get a contractor’s license to build their own simple back deck or get an accounting degree and CPA licensing in order to do bookkeeping for their one employee sized business. Pattern making is a profession like any other, it’s why adept professionals make the big bucks (pattern makers are engineers; experienced ones earn twice as much as designers do if not more).

    Personally, I found it very interesting to see Sunni’s process although it is not how I do it. However, if it works for her, it may work for you so what’s not to like? Like she said, life is too short to invest in it for a one-off.ReplyCancel

  • Sunni - @Kathleen – Thank you! I have loved your posts on sleeve cap ease, but yes, I know now that for an enthusiast – like myself – to achieve zero sleeve cap ease is really really hard. After you linked to that 400+ page dissertation, I knew I was way out of my league. It is the vocation of professionals like yourself and it does pay to perfect balance on a sleeve, especially when you can achieve that much desired plaid match both horizontally and vertically at the sleeve cap. What I have come to realize from your posts on sleeve cap ease is that its not a mortal sin to take some out, because most times too much has been put in the pre-made commercial patterns available today. Oh the heartache of sleeves!!!!ReplyCancel

  • marwa - Thank you it looks so easy I really enjoyed and ll try to do it myself xoxReplyCancel

  • Siri Andersen - I am itching to make a plaid something, but I am terrified of it! This series of posts are so incredibly helpful, I cannot stress that enough! Thank you sooooo much for this! AWESOME!ReplyCancel

  • adelaide blair - Thanks so much for doing this! I love plaids, but have been completely mystified as to how to match them.ReplyCancel

  • Kaylene - Hi Sunni,

    I’ve never commented before, but I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your blog and all of the helpful information/inspiration you post here. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Gail - I am really grateful for your tutorials – they provide solid information about difficult aspects of sewing.ReplyCancel

  • Maureen - I read your blog regularly and haven’t commented before, but having read this post through again I realised how valuable it is. I have made a plaid jacket – by hand – because I was paranoid about matching the plaids. NOW I realise how much easier my life would have been had I read this before! duh! Once I had marked all the usual stuff off the pattern, I thought that was it and the rest was up to me to be careful. I love your series – please do more. I want to save all these posts and refer to them again and again. I have been sewing for fifty years – it just shows you are never to old to learn new tricks. Thanks SunniReplyCancel

  • Pat - Again a very interesting post on your blog. I like your videos as well. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Taryn - Being a relative beginner I don’t think I’ll sew a plaid jacket in a while, but am learning much about what to do for a first non-plaid jacket. (like sleeve ease) Thank you for such a wonderful blog, Sunni. Being a novice, I haven’t commented here before but must say your blog is always the FIRST I check for information on something and for new posts.ReplyCancel

  • Seattlerain - You’ve just saved me a ton of time regarding sleeve cap ease. I’ve been thinking it was high time to tackle it prior to stumbling onto your links. Thank goodness I won’t have to reinvent the wheel! It might not save my lace Macaron dress where I switched out sleeves with sad scary results. I have to see if I feel like unpicking the sleeves or not. . .but future projects will benefit!ReplyCancel

Thoughts on Teaching

I completely forgot to say anything – bad Sunni! – but I’m teaching at Sewing Summit again this year. Actually, I’ve been pretty low key about everything this fall (more like everything this year). I found that last fall/winter I kind of OD-ed on conferences and well just sewing stuff in general. Wow. I kind of actually didn’t want to see a sewing machine for a little while. Just needed a break after so much. It was overwhelming and a little exhausting. I remember wanting to write about it so much but forced myself not to because I had a lot of negative things to say about a lot of things. I’m glad I didn’t because I really hate being negative. Yuck. Anyway, let’s forget about that, shall we? I thought I would capture a few photos before I toted my Sewing Summit class goods to the conference.

Sewing-Summit-3

I’m teaching a class on fitting and I have a pretty good feeling about it this year. I totally get vibes with teaching and I’m getting a good vibe this time around. Having taught this class in several different forms at Yellow Bird Fabrics, I feel pretty good about my stance on what I have prepared and the information I’ll be doling out. The thing with fitting – as many of you, no doubt, know – is that its such a big process. The other thing that I find with sewing people – like me and you – is that many don’t know or don’t realize how many resources are available to them as regards fitting and really, that’s what this class is going to be about. I feel that I have a wealth of knowledge about this subject and its one that I love to talk about and share with others. I went a little overboard with my materials this year. I put together fancy folders with little dresses that I glued onto the covers – cute non? There’s several handouts and a few basic supplies for some adjustments and alterations we’ll be doing in class too. I felt like a regular school teacher putting this stuff together! Only thing missing is crayons!

Sewing-Summit-1

I also thought I would give a few thoughts on teaching since I’ve been making a pretty big dent in that field over the past couple of years. I never actually thought I would be a sewing teacher, but find that I love – absolutely love – to talk sewing with people. I don’t know that I feel so much like a teacher, but rather a connoisseur of all things apparel sewing related and when I get with other people who are excited about sewing, its really really cool. I just feel like we’re having a discussion more or less and I find that I have a lot to contribute to that discussion and that just gets me all sorts of jazzed. All in all, I enjoy teaching quite a bit, though I still have desires in other sewing related directions which I’m planning to expand on and share with you all in good time. So, here’s to the joy of sewing!

Sewing-Summit-2

Do you teach sewing? Do you enjoy it?

  • Robyn - I love to teach sewing. Especially to children. I get a kick out of their little creative minds and also when I see that their minds are figuring out how the processes are all coming together. The icing on the cake is of course, the pride on their faces when they have completed their projects. :-) ReplyCancel

  • johanna@projects by me - I teach, but I don’t teach sewing. And I enjoy teaching a lot. In French class (which I teach) I always ask “Ca va?” The students answer “Ca va. Et toi?” And I always smile and say “Ca va bien!” and the other day they asked me if I’m actually that happy every time we have French. And Yes! I am happy every time. I guess it comes down to sharing knowledge about something you like, like with you and sewing. Though it would be interesting to teach sewing, which I also like a lot!
    Happy summit! :) ReplyCancel

  • Toby Wollin - Teaching sewing classes is something that I have been chewing over for a while. There is a huge part of me that believes that although there are a lot of resources out there on the internet, there are folks out there who just need to have someone actually physically there to say encouraging things, show them specific things and so on. But there is also a part of me that is afraid that I’m not…good…enough. And I’m not sure why exactly – I’ve made scads of different stuff – wool topcoats, snow suits, soft furnishings, knit stuff of all sorts, skirts, jackets and so on. But are these items perfect? Do they look as if they came ‘off the peg’? No. So I don’t move forward and I keep kicking myself that even if I’m not perfect, I could help people, but I’m frankly too scared.ReplyCancel

  • Jean Rudolph - I opened a home-based sewing business last year called Threads Become Stitches. Having been a special education teacher with a Masters +30 in education and a degree in Clinical Psychology, I know how to teach. What is different about teaching sewing is the transformation you see in people who are really invested in learning. I bought a new IMac computer recently and the sales associate I worked with at the Apple Store loved designing dresses (her sketches were beautiful) but knew nothing about sewing. She started lessons with me and has a complete new outlook on her future. She was in a college major she really didn’t enjoy, but I convinced her that a Bachelor’s degree in her field should be completed – then go on to design school. Her self-confidence has blossomed, and I know she has found her passion. There is a term called “flow,” which occurs when we are engaged in a process that is what we are meant to do. Three hours can seem like minutes. If this has happened to you when you sew or do anything else you love, you MUST pursue it for optimal enjoyment and self-actualization!ReplyCancel

  • lisa g - i’ve thought of trying to teach sewing classes, there’s even a co-op craft studio nearby me, but i keep not taking that step because i always feel that there’s so much i don’t know yet! i think it would be great fun though, so hopefully one day i’ll give it a shot.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - I’ve never taught sewing formally, but in highschool I helped friends make simple skirts and I’ve worked with my (then kindergarten aged) son to learn some machine basics. I used to enjoy teaching knitting classes a lot. But, it was a hobby and I eventually ran out of time for it. I think being prepared and supplying handouts (and in some cases the materials) as part of the class really helps everyone get on board with the lesson and can generate a lot of excitement and reduce that overwhelmed feeling that beginners can have.

    I’ve been a long time reader (infrequent commenter) on your blog and have watched for you to teach near me…or enough advance notice of your Salt Lake City classes to possibly make a vacation of it. I’d love to be able to come out and make something in a long weekend.ReplyCancel

  • AnaJan - Isn’t it amazing how, even though we all might be passionate about sewing, we’re enjoying different aspects of it? For example, I love pattern drafting, and anything construction wise. Fitting is not my favorite topic, even though I try to do it the best I can.
    I tried teaching sewing, but again, I prefer teaching pattern drafting. That side of sewing is where my talent stands out, I believe.ReplyCancel

  • Maddie - I’m a corporate gal right now, but it is a dream of mine to one day teach. I hope that when/if that day comes, I’m as prepared with pretty folders and such just like you!ReplyCancel

  • Ellen - I am proud to say that I taught Family & Consumer Science (Home Ec) for over 30 years. Sadly, this subject is no longer offered in most school systems. I consider myself very fortunate to have had such a wonderful career teaching a subject that I loved and teaching students that I loved as well. Recently retired, I miss having that “kid fix” and the classroom environment, but have started a blog to perhaps channel some of that teaching energy!ReplyCancel

  • misty - I’m going to teach my first sew class tomorrow, I’m a little nervous. It’s on sewing and fitting jeans, hopefully it will be a small class.ReplyCancel

  • Jodie - I am going to start teaching a young lady next Thursday. I have been sewing for over 40 years. I started when I was 7 years old in 4-H but didn’t really start making all my clothes until I was about 16. I have sewn and make just about everything you can name.
    I am nervous about teaching because I read an article about how you need to have samples, overhead displays, or posters etc. This is a one on one class that will be ongoing so I am not sure how much I really need. I have a book of knowledge in my head, I hope I can just teach the way teaching is suppose to be done. I believe in starting with the basics of machine and a fabric store field trip. Any suggestions you might have for me I would welcome. Thanks for your post. I love your blog.ReplyCancel

  • Karen - I’d love to teach sewing. My “backup plan” was always to teach at a community college but I ended up being a mostly-stay-at-home mom and helping out a little bit with the family business. Now the kids are grown and I have a lot of free time on my hands to brush up on my sewing skills. I guess it’s time to follow my dreams, wherever they may lead!ReplyCancel

  • Lucy - I love teaching sewing. Children are especially enthusiastic and daring with sewing and are so much fun to teach. I’ve been running summer sewing camps for 13 years. My adult classes seem to be harder to make arrangements for. When I do have adult classes, many of the moms focus on curtains or baby sewing and not sewing for themselves. Basically I love it all.ReplyCancel

  • Jane - I live in New Zealand and I own and operate my own sewing school called Sew Know How. It will be 5 years old in November! I was a nurse but gave up work to be an at home Mum, when the kids started school I wanted to do something but still be at home, so my lovely husband gave up half of our garage for me! Anyway I teach 5 adult classes a week and 12 kids classes (8yrs to teens). About 80 students all up each week! It is the BEST job. I have found that sewing is a journey, not just the end result. I teach home sewers and help them unravel the mysteries of commercial patterns and get a perfect fit. I also teach some pattern making and encourage creativity. We have a fashion show at the end of every year so students can show off what they have made. If you would like to see some of my students work visit my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/sewknowhow
    I encourage any of you who are hesitating to teach to just go for it! It is a learning journey teaching too but very rewarding.
    Oh and Sunni, your blog is just great. Thank you for sharing all you do! You inspire me!ReplyCancel

  • Burke - I think teaching unfortunately opens you up to criticism. I took your Craftsy course on zippers and thought it was wonderful (been sewing for 2 years) but there were comments re. your methods and that there are easier ways to do them. I’m assuming none of the commenters had ever taken the time and energy to make a free course like you did, so it was a bit annoying. The point of the course was to showcase a new method, and I have to say my zippers have never looked neater! I think you have a lot of courage to teach and more power to you for stepping up and doing so to encourage others to enjoy the fine art of sewing!ReplyCancel

  • Hanne - I teach sewing to both children and adults and I must say: teaching sewing to children for me feels to most rewarding. They usually are very open to learn new things.
    I also love talking sewing with other people that are as enthusiastic about it as I am. I feel like I can talk about it for days!ReplyCancel

  • CarmencitaB - I’m not a teacher, but I’ll show any kid who shows interest how to operate a machine and how to sew. I cannot get enough of their glowing faces when they actually make something (usually a bag). This is how I learned, going to my neighbor and making a skirt, and I love to pass on the information.
    One kid, Morgane, who came to learn a couple of years ago, just got into the L’Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture de Paris and I am just so proud!
    She’ll be the one teaching next, I can’t wait!ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn - I don’t teach sewing, but I do teach in my work-related field. I feel the same way as you though – it’s so rewarding to be able to contribute to a conversation that you happen to know a lot about. Plus I love talking to others who are genuinely interested in my field – it gets me all jazzed up, as you said. :) Best of luck at Sewing Summit, and hope you have a better experience this year!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - I wish I was going this year! It seems like a great line-up.

    I’m really, really shy and could never see myself teaching. One-on-one? Sure. Big room of people? Instant sweaty palms! Ha ha.ReplyCancel

  • PendleStitches - I’m planning my first ever sewing class this autumn. I’m part exhilarated, part terrified. I think once I’ve got everything in place I’ll feel a little calmer.ReplyCancel

  • Beth - I just taught my first sewing classes this past summer, to both children and adults. It has been a blast, but as a full time teacher I knew that I would love it. It is, however, very different from my day job. Teaching students who are excited about what they’re learning makes all the difference, I think!ReplyCancel

  • Becky T - About a year ago, my job with the federal government was in precarious straits with all the looming cuts and I was all set to cash in my savings and start a fabric shop/sewing school in my little town. Where I live, you have to travel 20 miles for the nearest elastic. I’m not a professional seamstress by any shape or form, but I wanted to work with the 4H, Scouts, & local school to have classes from sewing crafts for the younger set, to alterations, repairs, home dec. There’s so much more to sewing than just garment construction, which I’m not very good at BTW. I believe every youngster should at least know how to sew on a button or repair a hem, and you’d be surprised how many of them do not have the slightest idea. I wanted a small shop in the front and a larger classroom in the back – free coffee, ladies can stop by to visit or mend a hem, inspiration galore, etc. Believe me, I was THERE. And then my job was firmed up, hubs refused to support the dream (right now), and I sighed and tucked the dream away for after I retire in 15 years. Oh well, wasn’t meant to be (today).ReplyCancel

  • Karla - Thanks for teaching, Sunni! Your class was (not surprisingly) GREAT! You’re a very talented teacher!ReplyCancel

  • Lynn - Sunni your class was fantastic and the cut out dresses on the folder were so cute. I was the crazy person and came up to you after class and said hi. I took a lot of great classes at sewing summit but yours was the one that made me want to go home immediately and measure myself and my patterns and get sewing! Thank you for being so inspiring and taking the time to explain everything in a thoughtful manner. I wish I lived on Utah soon could take more of your classes. I think teaching a class at a conference is so hard because you have a large class and a huge variety of skill levels. I’m not a teacher but really admire you for teaching despite all the hard bits.ReplyCancel

  • Jodi - The folders where such a nice touch and your ribbon trick for measuring pretty much blew my mind!!!!!!

    Sadly, I missed your talk about underarm gussets, because my son was having a meltdown. Is there anywhere I can read up about it?

    Thank you for teaching and I hope my son wasn’t too much trouble.
    Signed,
    The lady with the babyReplyCancel

  • Jennifer @ Workroom Social - I love talking all things sewing too!! Maybe one day I’ll get out west and we can talk shop. Can’t wait to hear about all the new fun sewing projects you’ve got in the works. I’m sure it’s all going to be awesome.ReplyCancel

  • tanya - i wish i could go to your class!..i have been wanting to teach sewing to others but dont know where to start?ReplyCancel

  • Sylvia - Are you going to be offering a download for those that couldn’t get into your class at sewing summit? Do you still teach at Yellow Bird? Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Shawn Schumacher - Sunni your class was great. I can’t wait to get started using some of your advice. I already went out and got some of the tools to make it easier and just need to find the time to start a new pattern.

    I am teaching my first class in sewing this next weekend. I look forward to it.ReplyCancel

score

It’s very very rare that I buy clothing from the mall or store anymore. If I do get a shopping bug then I’m prone to thrift rather than anything else and lately the thrift store has been really picked over. Meh…. I was on my way home from the thrift store after finding nothing but a couple of belts (sigh) and spotted a consignment shop that I had long wanted to go into and never had. I thought the next best thing to the thrift was consignment and boy I was surprised at how much nicer it was than I had even thought. Consignment, of course, is carefully curated and so it was that I entered this pretty fabulous consignment shop not too far from where I live. I was amazed at what they had. Never had I seen such beautiful second hand offerings.

Then I spotted this jacket. Then I tried it on and it was then that I knew that someone would literally have to cut me out of the jacket in order to get me to give it up. This is a Rebecca Taylor jacket and seriously, the only thing I know about designer names is that I’ve seen Rebecca’s name on a couple of Vogue patterns before. Ha. I’ve not been on the up and up with designer clothing for a long time. It’s out of my financial reach, quite frankly. But sometimes, when chance comes along, its best to grab it up and roll yourself up in it and shout hip hip hooray…..

This jacket is, quite literally, perfect. It’s loverly. And I wanted to show it all to you because I thought you might find it interesting from a sewing standpoint. The really unique thing about this jacket is that its 100% silk, through and through. To boot, its quilted. I don’t know about you, but whenever I think of a quilted jacket, I think “quilty” and that involves something crazy like patchwork. And you know, for a jacket, I don’t know that quilty is so great, or at least I never thought it could be so great or so incredibly sophisticated. So anyway, yeah, this jacket is quilted. Quilted silk. Crazy right?

The sleeves are lined in silk and at the sleeve vent (if you will) there is a zipper. Additionally, at the sleeve cap there is a curious addition which gives this jacket the half look of a moto jacket style. But then there’s the peplum which gives it a crossover into riding jacket territory. Personally, I find it gorgeous and it doesn’t help at all that its amazingly comfortable. The inside has some hong kong finished seams which only add to the overall beauty. Its seriously exquisite and quite candidly I find this amazing because what I had previous thought before was high end RTW (ready-to-wear) was really not what is high end RTW. I mean I’ve felt that I had some nice RTW items that did cost me quite a bit back in the day, but I’ve never come across a silk jacket. Especially one that was lined in silk too. Usually linings are polyester or acetate which is so awfully sad, but true.

I read an article in one of the more recent Threads mags that talked about picking the right fabric for the right pattern. The article was really well done and right at the beginning, the author stated something to the effect of “there really is not bad fabric, only inappropriate fabric choices for specific patterns.” Though I do have to state that I think polyester double knit is a really bad fabric and I have yet to hear of or think of a good application for this fabric, I do think that statement holds true. But what about when you are completely surprised by the fabric choice of a particular garment? This jacket is one of those instances, and yet thoroughly well executed.

Anyway, spiffy right? What do you think? Have you ever thought that a jacket could be made of out quilted silk? It kind gives room to the imagination as regards sewing and creating your own silk jacket. I mean I never would have thunk, which is the whole reason why I wanted y’all to see it. You know, from sewer to sewer, just giving you ideas. Thoughts, anyone?

  • Elaine - That is one gorgeous jacket. I wish you could magically send us all one in our sizes. All silk, Hong Kong seams, & gorgeous material. WOW!!! Thank you for the post.ReplyCancel

  • Isabel - Is this your jacket on Lauren Conrad? Looks like it. What a find!

    http://www.starstyle.com/seventeen-march-2010-sp45271.htmlReplyCancel

  • Carlee - It’s beautiful, but I’d love to see it on, just to get a better idea of how it fits.ReplyCancel

  • Ruth - Fabulous jacket. Wow… Isabel’s link lists it on sale for $255, down from $450, and it’s no longer available. Great find!ReplyCancel

  • DeAnna - Lovely jacket. I just love it.ReplyCancel

  • zilredloh - This is such a gorgeous jacket, Sunni. Thanks for sharing. (The insides look like art.)ReplyCancel

  • colleen - That is an amazing find. It is so gorgeous and I’d love to see it on you, soon! What inspires me is to learn and use Hong Kong seams. I just made an Anna dress from Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen (ridiculous name for what is basically linen/cotton) and the dress is so beautiful outside but inside is a NIGHTMARE. Since it isn’t lined, it calls for fancy seamwork.

    Your jacket is beautiful. I would sleep in it.ReplyCancel

  • Terri Gardner - I have never seen a quilted silk before. But, I love the inside finishing-this jacket is going to be a joy to wear. I love consignment shops. The prices are a bit more but the quality is always great.ReplyCancel

  • Norma Gordon - Great Jacket, I used to find some great clothes in Dallas at consignment stores. I enjoy your e-mails very much. They are factual and fun at the same time.
    I think you should work on creating a similar project to share with us. You are very talented and I know we could learn a lot.
    Thanks NormaReplyCancel

  • Gaild - That is just stunning – I’m so glad you went ahead and bought it! I really appreciate the close-up shots too – so inspiring!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - Wowzers, that is lovely. I bet it feels luxurious against the skin. It could be totally worn dressed up or down too, star buy I’d the season (year?) I’d say. Enjoy it! :-)
    Thanks for sharing too, always nice too see good craftsmanship and pretty things.ReplyCancel

  • Erin || Sewbon.com - Gah! How cute is this?! I louvre!ReplyCancel

  • true bias - its so gorgeous! i have a little crush on quilted fabric all of the sudden.ReplyCancel

  • Bella - Total Score! Wowza. I am seriously thinking how fun it would be to make something similar, dying my own silk to get there.ReplyCancel

  • Carol - Hey, I was wondering if you could give the name of the consignment shop you acquired this beauty at? I live in SLC and would love to check it out.ReplyCancel

  • Claire (iwanttobeaturtle) - The title says it all – this is a great score. It is such a beautiful jacket and I loved reading about it. The inside is very pretty too! And as it’s made of silk, it must be wonderful to wear.ReplyCancel

  • Melanie - This is an unusual piece, beautifully made. Silk, quilting, quilted jackets. That’s very Asian to me, specifically Chinese. I can recall seeing lots of photos of Chinese peasants in quilted jackets, usually of a more boxy shape. So it’s a westernised silhouette, but the fabric choice isn’t so random when you think about it from an Asian perspective. Love how all these references get rolled in together in good design!ReplyCancel

  • Pohutukawa - Just gorgeous! You lucky thing what a great findReplyCancel

  • Gail - One of the things that puts a brake on my buying impulse is the poor workmanship – even in top designer labels. I love the fact that your jacket has bound seams. Its a cut above!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - It is really pretty. I love to see RTW that is not all synthetic disposable clothing,It was interesting to see the hong kong finish and I was surprised that a quilted jacket could look so refined.
    Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • ZoSews - Wow, those seams are stunning!!! Love.ReplyCancel

  • Veronica Darling - I’ve never seen anything like it! I bet it looks gorgeous on you!ReplyCancel

  • Sue - I am a real fan of consignment shops – I have sold all my “corporate” clothes in one and then bought heaps of clothes and jewellery as well. This jacket is absolutely gorgeous in every sense of the word.ReplyCancel

  • crystalpleats - Its an amazing jacket and the quilting is such a neat feature.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - It’s gorgeous! What a great find. I can’t believe it’s 100% silk. More and more I look at designer labels only to find the garment is polyester or some blend. And for outrageous prices! It’s really lovely.ReplyCancel

  • Margaret - Don’t make the mistake of confusing quilting with patchwork. Quilting is layers of fabric, usually with a center layer of padding/batting/something warm sandwiched between two layers of fabric, held together with lines of stitching. (If it’s just tacked together, that’s not a quilt.)

    One (or both) of those outer layers of fabric can be made up of pieces sewn together; that’s often called patchwork or piecework.

    Wholecloth quilts are just that: not patchwork but a single piece.

    And older wholecloth quilts, especially French ones made for the upper classes, are often silk.

    That said, it’s a gorgeous jacket and a wonderful find!ReplyCancel

  • Tasha - Goodness, what a great find!! I was sucked in right at the first picture. Interestingly quilted garments are something that I’ve seen very few times. The only example I have in my wardrobe is perhaps an almost-as-surprisingly-unique vintage quilted robe that’s rayon! Not only that, it’s reversible: quilted on one side, plain on the other. It kind of is something that still boggles my mind when I think about it.

    Thanks for sharing this lovely piece, now when do we get to see it modeled? ;) ReplyCancel

  • Sewing Princess - Sunni, that’s a great jacket. I love those Hong Kong seam finishes. But the real reason I was writing you is to say: I love the new blog design. I must admit I normally read your posts via Feedly…but today I popped over to send your princess seam tutorial link and I saw this beauty. So clean, so stylish. Would you mind telling me what fonts you used for header/banner? Congratulations again!ReplyCancel

  • Siri Andersen - That jacket is fabulous! And what luxury :)
    I totally get what you mean about quilty… Whenever I hear “quilted jacket”, my mind goes “No!”. But I might have been wrong! This certainly changes my view on the matter :) ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Sinclair - I can’t see the sleeve cap “curious addition” that you reference. Can you post another picture?ReplyCancel

  • Reyna Lay - Wow. This jacket is pretty awesome. We are making jackets in design class and I think these hong kng finishes would be awesome instead of lining it. I’m kind of in love, and a tad jealous. Great find!

    Reyna
    http://www.mysewinghabit.blogspot.comReplyCancel

  • Sara - So beautiful! Especially those Hong Kong finished seams. I’ve honestly thought a lot lately about making a silk Victoria Blazer because I have the most beautiful fabric (although not the skills at this point). This just makes me want to make one more! And maybe try a quilted jacket? Great find!ReplyCancel

  • lsaspacey - Quilted jackets were very popular for evening in the 1940′s. Now if they were silk or not I guess depended on what country you lived in, what time of the war, and how rich your were, but many of the big-sholdered evening jackets were quilted in luxurious looking fabrics.ReplyCancel