all my own work by ann

Sewing and textiles with Ann

Boiled wool jacket

DSCN2253I decided that I needed a boxy jacket to wear with my Katherine Tilton dress – something that wouldn’t flatten the drape of the dress, but would be quite warm for milder winter days.

And Threadcount 1603 pattern duly arrived free with Sewing Made Simple magazine, and appeared to fit the bill perfectly. DSCN2254

But it doesn’t! I measured and traced the size according to the measurements, and found that the resulting pieces were far too small. So without measuring I just traced a size 16 to see what happened. The pieces still didn’t fit together very well on my dress form, so I lost faith in ThreadCount patterns and scrapped the idea of using their patterns (ever again…..?)

But the pattern adventure continued, as I had a WH Smiths voucher to spend, so I bought Burda Style for the first time. The overlapping pieces to trace always appeared to be a bit of a nightmare, but I have the time to experiment at the moment, and found that once you focus on what you are looking for, tracing is not that complicated. I deliberately chose a fairly simple pattern, and traced the largest size, which might have made it easier. I used 120 Reversible Jacket. However, I seem to fall somewhere between Burda’s ‘standard’ sizing and Plus sizes, so to be sure, and get the desired boxy affect, I made several alterations. I added 2″ to the length and about 4″ to the width. This might have been a little bit too much, but it serves the purpose for which it was intended.

I used a button and button hole to close the jacket, rather than the press-studs suggested by the pattern, and this required a re-assessment of the centre front line to get the button placement right.

It is fully lined, using some fabric that I got from the Sew Brum fabric swap.

I have had several innovative ideas about this jacket over the past few weeks, including an idea to give it a Burmese / Thai theme, based on the attached rather poor picture, which was taken at a museum in Chiang Mai and shows a tribal jacket.


The idea was to use decorative trim on the front overlap, and I scoured several SE Asian markets looking for suitable trim. I failed, but it was fun looking! I was also looking for an interesting button, which I thought I had a more realistic prospect of finding, but failed on that one as well. The button used came from Birmimgham market, as do most of my buttons.

The trouble is that good ideas that arise in exotic places, often don’t travel very well… What looks great in Thailand, looks over the top in the UK. Any trim, foreign or homegrown, can also limit the use of garments, in terms of what they match, and particularly, how they are washed. So trim has been limited to what is becoming a signature butterfly.

I bought 4 buttons altogether, and may still change the button at some point, but this one matches very closely.  Much thought went into the type of button hole to use.

Trial buttonholes

The picture shows a couple of poorly executed trial bound button holes, using single and double strips of binding, and a machine button hole through both the fabric and the lining. I’m really pleased that I trialled the button holes, not only to check out that I knew what I was doing (Vogue Sewing – to guide me…), but also because the results were not pleasing. If done correctly, the front of the bound holes looked good, but the back was a mess, and adding in a layer of fraying lining to sew, meant that I opted for a machine button hole, as that had the neatest finish on the back. Actually neither of the buttons pictured fitted onto my button hole foot, but they were only slightly too big, so I just opened the button holder to its full extent, sewed and tested, and in fact, both buttons fit through the hole OK. See above.

Sorry – this is just a simple jacket, but a long post. I’m hoping for a lot of wear from this jacket, despite it being yet another blue jacket. But it’s a different weight to other jackets that I own. Additionally it will go well with a silk scraf that I purchased in Burma – so there will be an exotic connection.

And I may use Burda Style patterns again, although I will need to be careful about the sizing since I seem to be betwixed sizes.


One comment on “Boiled wool jacket

  1. Barbarags
    March 9, 2016

    The colour is gorgeous and I love the simple form of the jacket. Regarding the problem with the first pattern, the Threadcount one, I have found other magazines to have had errors in their giveaway patterns. It is a good job that I always trace patterns first and sort of “tissue fit” them rather than cutting them directly from fabric, it saved me from 2 major disasters.

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This entry was posted on February 28, 2016 by in #SewBrum, Burda Style, Fashion, Handmade, Jackets, Sewing, ThreadCount and tagged , , , , , .
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