All you really need is Fabric
and thread to make this jacket, there are options for embellishment which is entirely your choice. I think that embellishing your jacket should only be done if it adds to the appearance and not done just for the sake of it. This beautiful fabric speaks for itself and needs nothing to detract from its sheen and depth of colour. It is very luxurious and soft to the touch and drapes perfectly.
I have mixed feelings about this Sewing Pattern
. It goes into great depth on fitting and fabric choices but the pattern lacked for me because only the basic pattern pieces are provided – for example the collar piece if you want one has to be created yourself – and there are no balance marks or notches which makes piecing the parts together a bit random. Additionally some of the pattern pieces did not fit together correctly.
However the many design options make this pattern worth considering. For example there is the option of making a bolero which is such a useful garment to have in your wardrobe. There is a knee length jacket which you can appliqué and a finger length jacket, which is the one I made.
If you choose the appliqué then the instructions are very thorough and they explain exactly how to cut out and position each piece. Templates are provided for the flower heads with suggestions on how to add embellishment in the form of beads or buttons. A lot of the work is freehand, for example the flower stems are worked by copying the design on the instruction sheet.
The first part of the instructions discusses how to make a lined bolero jacket. This is expanded on by showing how to add a ruffle to the lower edge and how to make and add cuffs.
The basic bolero pattern has a back which is cut in two pieces but I preferred to do away with the centre back seam and so I positioned the pattern ½” (which is the seam allowance given) away from the fold. This part of the pattern is the base upon which the other designs are constructed.
The pattern also does not provide any facings. Instead it gives instructions on how to make bias binding which is used all around the jacket.
My fabric is beautiful Crushed Velvet Fabric
in a rich ruby red. I felt that the fabric needed some structure so I used the back neckline, lower back and sides to make a facing three inches wide to fit around the edges of the jacket. This is easy to do. Take some tracing paper and draw around the lower edge of the back first of all, then measure three inches up from the edge and draw a cutting line. Do the same for the back neck. For the side facings pin the front and the lower front pattern pieces together and draw around the outside. Mark three inches in from this edge as before, join your markings and cut out the new pattern piece.
If you have never sewn with velvet before you need to bear a few things in mind.
Velvet is directional. Run your hand up and down it and feel the difference. One way will feel rough, the other smooth. Look at your fabric in different positions and you will observe that it looks a different colour depending on which way up it is as the pile reflects the light differently according to the direction it is cut. It is therefore vital that each pattern piece is placed on the fabric the same way up.
However this colour change can be used to your advantage and to demonstrate how this looks I cut the upper front the opposite way up to the rest of the pieces. If you are doing this then you must think about the finished garment and choose the part you wish to reverse carefully as if you just place your pattern pieces randomly the end result will be very odd.
Having cut your fabric out, join the fronts to the back and finish the seam edges. I used my overlocker. Then join the lower jacket fronts and back and finish the seam edges. I ran a double row of gathering stitches along the top of the lower jacket so that it would make it easier to join the top to the bottom. Don’t forget to match the side seams. This is where I would have appreciated some seam markings!
Pressing velvet has to be done very carefully. Press lightly on the reverse only and always use a pressing cloth. Use plenty of steam and only let your iron lightly touch the fabric.
When attaching interfacing to the inside bands if you are using them use a dry iron and press carefully over your pressing cloth, lifting and replacing your iron as you go, do not slide it over the fabric.
Tidy up any mismatched seams and then join the facings together. If you are using bias binding as your edging then stitch that on now. Your facings will fit perfectly as long as you were careful when you made them, so join them all together – you will have a very large peculiar shaped circle – and finish the upper edge. Pin the facing onto the jacket, matching all the seams and stitch carefully.
Velvet moves around when you are sewing it because the pile on each piece pushes against the other. You can make sewing easier by using a walking foot if you have one or failing that tack the pieces together and stitch with a long stitch with a very slight zigzag. I use a Tailors Awl
to gently manipulate my fabric underneath the presser foot, but do be careful not to let it get anywhere near to the needle.
Press as before and then under-stitch to hold the facing in place. Tack the facing down close to the edge and top stitch carefully using a long stitch on your machine. If you have used bias binding then stitch it to the inside invisibly by hand.
I like my version of this jacket because it goes with so many things from trousers to dresses and I can wear it as a smart jacket or just fling it on like a cardigan.
This fabric feels very luxurious and is perfect for this season. It was a very quick make. If you are a beginner then try starting with a bolero, edging it with a purchased binding. Choose stable knit or soft linen. You need to choose a fabric which has a little drape to it so that the dolman sleeves fall nicely. If you are feeling more adventurous then do try one of the other options, you will not be disappointed.
One final thing I did was to stitch a couple of hooks and eyes invisible to the inside front of the jacket, I felt that it needed something to close it with.
Alternative fastenings would be a loop and button closure or frogging – either of which would look wonderful, especially on black velvet or a silk dupion.
Apart from a few misgivings about the pattern itself I am thoroughly delighted with my jacket. It fits me perfectly with no alteration, I chose the small size. I am a commercial dress size 12 top and 10 bottom, but don’t rely on that, it is important to choose your pattern according to your actual measurements.
I am going to make the bolero jacket and line it with a contrast silk as I feel it will be a really useful addition to my wardrobe. I am thinking too that it could be made reversible very easily...
Do seriously consider this pattern, you will have it made in a couple of evenings and if you choose a luxurious fabric like this crushed velvet you will have no need to add any embellishment. Of course if you enjoy appliqué go ahead!