It has been a slow start to the new sewing year of 2023. Although I had anticipated the completion of my first project – this black jacket – to be a speedy endeavor, I anticipated incorrectly! (Has anyone ever said fashion sewing can be very humbling?)
I was making this jacket to go specifically with a wool sheath dress I made two years ago – and also, hopefully, to pair with other dresses or skirts which might benefit from the addition of a somewhat dressy black jacket. I had the pattern, and I had the fabric, a very soft light-weight cashmere (which I found a number of months ago at Farmhouse Fabrics.)
I first needed to make a fitting muslin (toile) and I needed to determine what changes I would make to the original pattern. That ended up being three items:
- I changed the neckline to match the neckline of the sheath dress.
- I added a dart to the top of each sleeve, using that method as a substitute for the running stitches normally used to facilitate the insertion of the sleeve into the armscye. I have used this alteration frequently as it seems to fit my shoulder anatomy well.
- I shortened the sleeves from full-length to 7/8 length. I did this as I enjoy wearing bracelets, thus giving them a little “breathing room.”
Before I started making this jacket, I had the perception I would need to tie the sheath dress and the black jacket together in some way. Without a shared element, I wasn’t so sure they would necessarily look like they were made for each other. The only problem was, I had very little yardage remaining from the sheath dress, as I had made it from a limited piece of vintage wool. What to do?
Covered buttons would limit my ability to wear the jacket with other pieces, and besides, I thought they would look stark as the only two small embellishments on a very black jacket. I did not have enough fabric left, even for a small neck scarf, so that idea never had a chance. I’m not sure when it came to me, but in a eureka moment, I thought a fabric flower made from the vintage plaid would be just the thing to make this outfit work.
I knew M & S Schmalberg Custom Fabric Flowers in New York City would be my best bet (or only bet) for having a matching flower made. I wasn’t sure I had enough fabric even for that, but I contacted them, sent pictures and measurements of my scrap of wool, and they made it work!
I chose a 3” camellia option for my flower. Look what they did!
A few other details for the construction of the jacket: (1) I under-stitched the facing to control the front edges and neckline of the jacket.
(2) I used a black crepe de chine lining (and lots of extra light when I was sewing it in!) I should mention that I underlined the jacket with silk organza.
(3) The only bit of whimsy I added to the interior was to cover up the ends of the loops for the two buttons with two small jacquard ribbon pieces appliqued on. No one will ever see these except for me, but I like them.
(4) I covered the required snaps with the lining fabric.
I am so happy to have this jacket completed. Most of my projects seem to take longer than they should, but that makes completing one just that much sweeter.
53 responses to “Completion – How Sweet It Is. ”
I love this!! I cannot make out the pattern number. Would you share it?
The perfect finishing touch. Classic elegance as always!
Thank you, Deb! How kind.
Hi Lisa, the pattern number is 6399.
Thanks for sharing this. It is absolutely gorgeous. Fabulous job. Love the flower, and your other little touches. 💖
Thank you, Jinine!
Very lovely! It all sounds like a wonderful sewing adventure. The fabric flower was a good idea and the couture idea of ribbon covered button loops is a nice addition!
Thank you so much! An adventure it was!
Beautiful, and the flower detail is the perfect finishing touch to tie it all together.
Thank you! I was so pleased with the custom flower and glad I went to the trouble and expense to have it made.
I love your choice of buttons as well! It was worth the time. It’s just beautiful.
Thank you, Kathleen. I was in a quandary about the buttons, and I went into my cedar closet and found a jacket (RTW on which I had changed the buttons years ago) I no longer wear. I took the buttons off of it and used them on this jacket!
How lovely an ensemble Karen……just beautiful and the flower and finishing touches are worthy of praise on its own!
Thank you for sharing!
Thank you Arleen! I’m so happy to have a jacket to wear with this dress, which I adore. Now my arms won’t get cold!
I love it! And the flower is the perfect touch.
Thank you so much, Nancy!
Lovely! And the flower is a great idea and touch. I’m with you on feeling like 2023 sewing is going slowly!
Thank you, Heather. So nice to hear from you again. Maybe 2023 will pick up sewing speed as it progresses?!?
Superb, such creative solutions.
Thank you, Cynthia!
I love the dress pattern so will you show a photo of just the dress? And you could use the same pattern for a summer outfit, with or without a jacket. Or you could wear the summer dress with a beautiful shawl.
I actually used a different pattern for the dress. If you click on the link in the post to the dress, you will see the pattern I used. Thanks so much for your interest and your comment!
Oh, Karen, your outfit is just wonderful. That should add some cheer to this season. I hope you don’t have to wait until next winter to wear it. The world needs perking up. The sight of a smiling lady in a fine outfit lifts our spirits.
The pin flower is perfect. I don’t know how you plan to store your flower, but I stumbled onto an idea that worked for me. To keep it protected, I stored a cloth flower (it too was a camellia, a realist looking one) in the box that previously contained the kind of bath powder that comes with a puff. Camellias don’t have fragrance but they look like they should. A bonus was that it picked up the fragrance from the box. Occasionally someone dove in to sniff it and complimented. I figured that if they didn’t know camellias don’t smell, I needn’t disappoint them.
I came in from a rather grubby outdoor project that I expected to complete in an hour Saturday morning. I cleaned up and sat down to look up something clean and pretty, and here was your message. Perfect timing. Your black jacket was definitely worth the extra time. It will surely add the perfect period to a variety of outfits.
What a wonderful idea for storing fabric flowers! Now I just have to hunt around and see if I can find one either in my things or my daughter’s things. The only addition I might make is to line the powder box with some acid-free tissue.
Not sure I’ll have a chance to wear this outfit this year. It certainly has a winter holiday vibe to it, and I’m thinking early Spring vibe is more in tune right now. I’m trying to decide if I go for one more winter outfit now or just March (pardon the pun) right into Spring sewing? I’ll be doing some sewing for my granddaughters so that may put other projects on the back burner for a while. Happy Spring to you, Mery!
This turned out beautifully! I love seeing all of the special touches that you add to your garments. The jacket is such a classic silhouette and I’m sure that you’ll get much wear out of it!
Thank you so much, Cheryl! I already have another pairing in mind for the jacket, but it will probably have to wait for awhile to bring it to fruition.
Not only did this ensemble turn out absolutely lovely…it is so cute. I did not know you could have fabric flowers made. Brilliant. Good to know.
Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Sheila. Isn’t it wonderful things like fabric flowers are still handmade in the USA?
A beautiful garment beautifully executed. The flower is an inspired solution- it would work on the dress by itself, or as a hair ornament and on other plain coloured jackets that may work with the dress. Your posts always inspire, thank you!
Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, Tricia. I have worn an emerald green wrap with the dress- and the
flower would look lovely perched on that as well. Good idea!
Lovely jacket, Karen! It goes beautifully with your plaid dress and hopefully will be versatile in your wardrobe. All of your handwork is perfect, as usual… I purchased this pattern after seeing it previously on your blog, so I wonder if you might comment on the jacket pattern’s fit and styling compared to others you’ve worked with?
Thank you, Joan. For some reason, this pattern seemed to be very full in the bust. I had to make pretty significant adjustments, both in the toile and in the jacket itself as I was working on it. Otherwise, not was nicely engineered.
Thank you, Karen — I appreciate the feedback.
The love and attention to detail that you put into every make never fails to inspire.
Thank you, Duane! I’m just trying to keep up with you!
I enjoy all your makes and this is certainly no exception. I just love the flower to tie it all together, absolutely perfect and simply, just enough
The little detail inside will make you smile each time you put on this jacket, I know it would do that for me. All your details are perfect. Another beautiful addition to your wardrobe.
What a perfectly lovely comment! Thank you so much!
Absolute perfection! Beautiful jacket and dress. Your patience is remarkable and your skill has no comparison.
You always inspire me.
Thank you Gwen. What a lovely compliment! My patience was tested a bit on this jacket, but it was mostly due to the fact I was sewing on deep black – very difficult to see at times.
So lovely. The reason why the 7/8 sleeve length works is because your sleeve and hem length match when your arms are by your side. I did this same look to a little French jacket but my jacket length is too long. So you solved my problem. I have to redo the hem on the jacket. A daunting task on a French jacket… but I won’t wear it like it is. Thanks so much for your thorough posts. I also appreciate that you dress so beautifully. Rare these days.
Thank you so much, Lynne. Yes, redoing the hem in a French jacket is daunting. Good luck with that. You will be happy once it’s done, but what job that will be…
Superb. A great outfit. Thank you for sharing this. I would love to have seen a photograph of the dart on the head of the sleeve. It intrigues me and if it is an easier way of fitting in the sleeve, I’m all for it!
Thank you for your comment and interest, Mercedes. It was so difficult to photograph that dart – in black – that I decided it wouldn’t really show enough to warrant using it. I’ll try to remember to show it next time I use it in a more photographical fabric.
Always so very pretty. You are so talented. I enjoy all your projects and gain nice hits to improve my sewing. Thanks for posting.
Thank you, Betty! What a kind comment!
Thanks for another informative post and wonderful creation. I have this pattern and you have inspired me to tackle it, particularly as we’re slowly moving into autumn here in Western Australia.
I forgot to mention in my post that the sleeves have two elbow darts! Such is the precise engineering in these vintage patterns. Thanks for you comment, Loz!
Such a lovely outfit and the fabric flowers sure works to pull the jacket and dress together.
Thank you, Susan. The lower does what I had hoped it would do!
What a lovely jacket, Karen, and the plaid flower is the perfect addition to take these from separates to a set!
Thank you, Kathy!
Dear Karen – I’m late responding as I’m cruisingthe Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile and it’s taken a while to get back to the laptop and see what your project was. Let me say that the fabric flower is the perfect finishing touch. One of the best things about your blog is how you share your resources with us all. For that, I’m grateful. Your black jacket is the perfect basic fashion separate that will always look wonderful. I’m itching to get home and start sewing myself. I left a blouse I made in our room the hotel in Buenos Aires and luckly I have lots of the same fabric and will remake the lost blouse. Next time I check out a hotel I will thoroughly check room closet!!!
Sounds like a wonderful vacation, Peggy! I always worry about leaving behind in a hotel room something I love… How fortunate you have enough fabric to recreate it! Enjoy the reminder of your trip and thank you, as always, for reading and commenting.