Dressmaker’s Jacket- Fourth Class: Perfect Notched Collars, Setting Sleeves, and Bagging the Lining! VOILA!

In our final class, the whole jacket came together at last!  We began by making our samples for absolutely perfect notched collars.  Who knew, that in order to get the collar to lay perfectly flat, you’d need to leave a tiny gap at the intersection of the points?!


Here is the collar, before completing our collar notches…DSCF0086

And behold: a thing of beauty!  Not only did this technique result in flawless collars, but the edgestitching underneath helped the collar to roll naturally.  Love the way these samples turned out!DSCF0092

Another great feature of this class is that Jacque has a plethora of jackets made up in myriad fabrics, and in different stages of completion.  Not only is this a helpful visual reference for the process, it also gives you an idea of how many different ways you could take this vintage jacket pattern.  Below you can see just a few of the examples… From top, clockwise:  Ice Princess (!), Classic Plaid Tweed (with a bold lining), Vintage-Look Suiting, and Solid Woolens.  DSCF0102 The final steps to completing the jacket involved sewing in our (optional) shoulder pads, setting our sleeves, and sewing the lining into the jacket.  The image below shows the bottom of the lining being pinned across the bottom of the jacket- which means… you don’t have to hand sew in any of the lining!  DSCF0095

We prepare to be amazed as Jacque reaches in through a hole that was left in the sleeve lining, and ….DSCF0096

Like a magician pulling a perfectly tailored bunny out of a hat, the entire completed jacket flips out!DSCF0098

A view of the inside lining (it’s pinned instead of sewn for the demo).DSCF0099

And to think, the whole garment came out of that little sleeve lining gap!  Now all that remains is to sew up that little hole (which can also be done by machine) and add our buttons.DSCF0101

Now, after consulting with Jacque on the last class, I realized the issues I had with my sleeve vents occurred due to cutting my sleeve linings incorrectly.  Like a puzzle piece that didn’t quite fit, the linings were just an inch too long.  Therefore, I ripped them out, and am ready to re-cut them and finish the garment!  It wouldn’t be one of my projects if I left the seamripper untouched during the process ;).  I promise to post pictures of the completed jacket, in due time!

In the interim, we will be posting a review of the pencil skirt class for your consideration…


Dressmaker’s Jacket- Third Class: Mitered corners, Funtional Sleeve Vents, and Buttons!

In the third class, we got into the tricky stuff… this class was all about sleeves! We started out learning how to make both even and uneven mitered corners for the hems of our sleeves.  Then we began the process of sewing the linings to the sleeves, during which the order of operations is critical to the finished product.   Look at that beautiful, flat mitered corner!DSCF0048

And below you can see a progress shot of the lining being attached to the sleeve.  These pictures are samples that we can keep and use as reference when we are working on our garments at home:  SO helpful.


By the time we have left class, we’ve put together our sleeves entirely by machine!  That’s right, NO hand sewing in the lining!

DSCF0049And voila!  A sleeve vent that opens and closes!  Jacque also went over how to install our cuff buttonholes by machine, which included a section on different types of fusible interfacing and tearaway stabilizers that make the job much easier.   To keep up with the class, I’ve sewn my sleeves and linings together (after much head-scratching at home… moral of the story, take detailed notes- especially during this section!)  Most of the body of the jacket has been constructed, and the lapels and collars have been stitched together at his point as well.

Next week is our last class, wherein lining and jacket will be joined!  Of course I’ll post pictures of the final garment when it’s finished.  I’m getting very excited to see it come together!

Dressmaker’s Jacket- Second Class: Construction, Ease, and Fit


In the second class, we dove right into construction techniques!  Jacque had some great ways to put our jackets together- and an order of operations that really made it a streamlined process.  We sewed samples of a few different techniques that she showed us in class (which is great way to remind yourself, when you’re scratching your head at home, and trying to recall exactly how that thing worked so flawlessly earlier…).  Here is an image of a crimped edge, which is a great way to ease the lining of the bust curve into the garment.  DSCF0027Below is a finished example of the jacket we are all making- and as you can see, there are some fun ways to insert a little personality into your garment.  The piping in a a complimentary color serves as a decorative and functional detail between the lining and the outer fabric.

DSCF0028We learned some fail-safe ways of attaching our collars to our collarstands, about the different types of interfacings that might be appropriate for which parts of the garment, and even a fantastic method for getting the lapel to roll at the right place!  All fascinating stuff- and things that will make our jackets so much more professional-looking when they’re finished.

DSCF0029One of our classmates had made up a beautiful muslin after her alterations, and got additional help with fitting after our techniques section was finished.  Since this jacket is so close to the body, and has so many pieces involved, getting a good fit is critical to how polished the final garment will look.DSCF0034

DSCF0035This weeks homework involves partially constructing both our linings/facings and our outer layers, so that next week we can get into the tricky part of attaching the two!

Dressmaker’s Jacket- First Class: Fitting and Pattern Alterations


For the Dressmaker’s Jacket class (and with most other garment classes at Nancy’s), Jacque has made up all the different sizes of the pattern, so that the students in class can try on all the sizes and see which will work best for their measurements.  Pretty handy!  Then, with an impeccable eye for fit, she pins the jacket to each individual- marking the alterations that need to be made to the pattern.  You can see in the image above that I’ll be taking a wedge out of the back and altering the princess line a tad on the front to fall in a more flattering way.  We’re also shortening the sleeves a bit.  Since this is a vintage pattern, it runs a little smaller than most modern patterns do, and thus I’ll be making a size larger than I normally would.  Some features of this particular pattern are functional sleeve vents, a two-piece sleeve, collar stand, princess seams, minimal shoulder pads, and a bagged lining. 


The next step is to make the necessary alterations to our patterns.  It’s great to have a pattern that’s personalized to your body, because hardly any of us fit perfectly into a pattern right out of the envelope!  I’ll be doing my sewing “homework” during the week, which consists of cutting the pattern out and fusing interfacing to certain areas for reinforcement.  After consulting with Jacque, I decided on the sapphire blue wool, with a beautiful paisley lining in a matching tone.  I’ve got my eye on some iridescent blue buttons to finish the jacket off…


Wool at Nancy’s

Wool at Nancy's

So, as part of the process with any project, I’ve scoured the store and come up with four different fabrics that have great potential for this Jacket. If I’m going to be putting a lot of time and effort into a garment, I want it to be made of something I truly love and will enjoy working with. There are all sorts of opportunities to pick fabulous, exciting lining fabrics or vintage buttons to really jazz it up during the process of putting it together. I’ll hold off on purchasing my yardage until after I’ve met with Jacque, had my initial fitting, and seen how the jacket feels. Until next week…


Dressmaker’s Jacket

Dressmaker's Jacket

This is the Vintage Burda pattern that we will be using for our “Dressmaker’s Jacket” class, taught by Jacque Goldsmith. We’re doing a little experiment this time around… I’ll be taking the class along with the other students and blogging about the experience so that our readers can get a little taste of what a class is like at Nancy’s. We’ll follow the process from the initial fittings through to the finished garment!


The Great British Sewing Bee

If you haven’t discovered the Great British Sewing Bee, check out this video. This reality show features British home sewers racing against the clock to complete a range of sewing challenges–from re-styling ready-to-wear to completing (and fitting) a garment for someone else. The judges are very exacting. No glue guns (a la Project Runway) allowed. Amazon UK has credited the show with a surge in sewing machine sales. And it’s already been renewed for next season. The episodes are available online in the US.