Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Jacket for the Surprise Sewing Bee

Last week I entered my plaid A Line skirt in the Pattern Review Surprise Sewing Bee contest merely for the fun of it.  I was thrilled to be one of 56 entrants to move on to the next round of the bee.  This contest is inspired by the British show "The Great British Sewing Bee" and if you have never seen this show and you like to sew you really should watch it on youtube.  I loved it and would love to see the second season as well.  So I was pretty excited when I realized I could participate in an online sewing bee of sorts!  

Our second challenge was to make a garment from men's shirts.  My mind instantly went to Simplicity 1688 which is part of my Big List 'O Cool Weather Sewing Plans.   I love this little jacket and even though I think it was designed for warmer weather I was determined to make it cool weather appropriate.  In order to do this I thought of the kinds of shirts I would need and I thought of the shirts my Pa Pa used to wear in the woods, they were quilted on the inside and flannel on the outside.  I hit several thrift stores (with 2 year old in tow of course) and found the shirts pictured below (didn't end up using the X out one).   

The Fabric: 

The two I ended up using are the pale striped denim and the flannel quilt lined plaid shirt.  I could just picture the jacket in my head and traced off the sketch from the pattern and added my own coloring to it to get an idea of what it might look like.  
I wanted the sleeves from view A of the pattern and the bodice from view B.  The quilted fabric and the denim would be alternated on the bodice.  I also did something to the denim that I've never done to a garment before- I quilted it so it would match the weight of the navy quilted fabric.  To do this I just put a layer of quilting batting behind each cut out denim piece and sewed a longer stitch of lines about 1 1/3 inches apart.  So its totally quilted on the inside- which ended up giving it the structure I wanted.  Since this jacket was designed for lighter fabrics I graded the heck out of the seam allowances to reduce as much bulk as possible.  For the inside of the jacket I used bemberg rayon- slippery as all get out but wonderful next to your skin- and at the bottom of the lining I added part of the flannel shirt.  I also used the flannel shirt for the decorative piping around the jacket and the pocket on the front.  

The Pattern: 

I have one thing to say about this pattern and that is "Holy pattern pieces Batman!"  To make the coat the way I did took 14 pattern pieces (and if you decide to make the sleeves striped you can add 5 pattern pieces to that number).  But this is also why this was a good pattern for piecing together two shirts.  As far as the fit goes I love the way it fits.  My bust is a 34 and I sewed the size 10.  I sewed the side seams up with 1/2 inch seam allowances for a little more wiggle room.  I also lengthened the bottom of the jacket by 1 1/2 inches.  Aside from those changes I did not alter the fit in any other way.  Its a pretty boxy jacket but I love that.  As far as the construction methods in the directions, I only used them to keep track of my pieces and the order in which to assemble them.  I used this Grainline Studio Tutorial for bagging the lining.  I really can't give a fair judgement of the directions since I diverged from them so greatly.  


I searched Pinterest for inspiration on styling and found these jackets: here, here,  and here.  I didn't realize they were such a thing but all these versions are beautiful.  Mine is a little less patterny than the examples I showed but that same quilted, boxy, cropped style that I really liked.  You can see I'm pretty safe with my styling- standard jeans, tee, belt.  I'm also thinking a fitted white button down with cuffs rolled up would be cute too.  Or better yet over a simple sheath dress!

In conclusion I'm already wearing this jacket around and lllooovvving the snuggly feeling the quilt batting lends.  One jacket down....a bunch on my sewing list to go!!


  1. When you described this to me on the phone I could not envision it. But it looks great! Congratulations. This is really cut and looks so nice on you. The fabrics and matching are perfect. Good sewing.

    1. Thanks Mom! I've enjoyed wearing it already!!

  2. Looks great! I love how you put all the different pieces together. Congrats on moving on in the sewing bee. I love the TV show and haven't heard of this online competition. I'll definitely check it out. Thanks so much for sharing at the Make it Monday Party! Hope to see you again next week.

    1. Thanks Tamara. Its been a fun competition and that show is the best! Thanks for hosting the link party!