For our Quilted Jacket sew along, the first thing that needs to happen is selection of a pattern. So many future decisions depend on the jacket style, so let’s talk about patterns this week, and we’ll get started with the sew along next week. Full disclosure here, I am not an expert on jacket sewing. I’ve made several but it has been many years, so I am going off memory and the books I still have. If you have more experience, please feel free to add your tips to pattern selection in the comments. Also, the patterns I will show in this post are vintage and no longer available. They are only given as guidelines. To begin, decide how you want your jacket to fit. Would you like a close fit, or would a less structured jacket be better for your frame? How much work do you want to put into the construction? Once you have an idea, begin looking at your patterns, either ones you have in your stash at home, in the pattern books at the fabric store, or at the quilt shop for independent designers. Many patterns are specifically designed for the patchwork look, but they tend to be loose fitting.
Choosing a pattern that is more tailored will result in a more sophisticated look. Pay attention to the jacket length as well, some of us look better with shorter lengths. Also, if you are petite, be sure the pattern has petite adjustments. Petite in clothing means under 5’4″ in height, not skinny.
The baseball jacket style may be easier to sew with raglan sleeves or off-shoulder sleeve seams. These are not fitted at all, and tend to be boxy. The seams will dictate how the patchwork will show.
Do you want your closure to be in the center front, or would an asymmetrical closure appeal more? This vest pattern could easily have sleeves added, and might be the perfect thing for those Asian prints I have.
The jacket on the left here is designed for heavy fleece. The one on the right is shown in leather.
The good thing about the one on the right are the princess seams, which allow nice fitting and give some breaks for putting pieced sections next to solids. Don’t be afraid to subtract elements you don’t want, like the yoke flaps on the left, or the inset on the right. The high armseye will have closer fit and a more tailored look than a raglan sleeve.
For me, I am deciding between two different patterns. First this one, which has multiple seams. It doesn’t have a side seam, rather it has a pattern piece that spans the sides, connecting to the front and back with princess seams. Extra darts give more shape. I’d eliminate the collar, and likely finish it with binding as trim. I may re-draft the neck edge to be a smoother curve. Not sure how I feel about the sleeve seam running down the back of the sleeve rather than next to the body.
The other pattern is this one, a straight side jacket without darts, but would be much simpler to sew. The ‘B’ option looks like it has binding as trim to finish the edges, and no collar. I can always add darts if I feel like I need them. Don’t be afraid of darts, they aren’t hard to do.
Before you make your final choice, be sure the pattern is designed for heavier fabrics. Some are not suited to quilted fabrics. If the fabric suggestions are for knits and jerseys, the pattern won’t have the cut for fabrics without stretch. Look for fabric suggestions like denim, leather or corduroy, if not specifically ‘quilted’.
Once you have selected your pattern, check your size for fabric requirements so you will know how much you need to create. Add more if you will have placement requirements, like getting certain patchwork in specific spots on the pattern. Since we will be using quilted fabric, you can eliminate interfacings and linings.
One last thing to do. When you have made a decision on the pattern, choose your size, and cut out the pattern pieces. I also press the pattern pieces to be sure my cutting is accurate. Make any adjustments you may have, such as taking up for petite sizes by folding the pattern along the petite lines and taping them together. Then, make a muslin test garment to adjust the fit. Many people will skip this step, but you don’t have to do the whole pattern. If you want to ensure a good fit, cut out the front, back and sleeves, then sew those pieces together. Pin the darts if you have them. Try it on and make any additional adjustments. You may need to lengthen or shorten the sleeve length, lengthen or shorten the overall length, make darts deeper, or add more flare to the bottom side seams. Better to find this out with cheaper muslin (or ugly stash fabric) than to have a problem with your patchwork. Share your selections and progress in our Facebook group.
How do you want your jacket to fit? What kind of pattern will you be looking for?