Oh, lets’s just skip Part 2 and go right to the finish! To be honest, a separate Part 2 was somehow lost in the midst of a flurry of sewing while I concentrated on “December Dresses” for my two granddaughters. More on those another time.
When I returned to my Parisian Jacket, I was almost ready to tackle the gussets. Sewing the bottom curved seam of the gussets was easy to do on the machine. But when it came to the other two seams, working in such tight angles, I did not even try to sew them on my machine. I went right to hand sewing them, using a small tight backstitch, and I ended up with good results.
Having the gussets finished meant that the basic body of the jacket was together. Then it was on to the collar and the front facings. Following Susan Khalje’s video instructions, I was able to get a very precise finish to the collar.
There are two bound buttonholes in the right front of the jacket, and this is where I deviated slightly from the order of construction that Susan was following. Instead of partially sewing on the right front facing and then making the buttonholes, I did my buttonholes before I attached any part of the facing. I felt like I had more control doing it this way.
Whenever I have made a Classic French Jacket, I have added a slight curve to the back hem, and I find this to be very pleasing. I decided to do the same with this jacket. At the center back I marked the hemline at 5/8” below the marked hem, and then I gradually curved it up to the side point of the jacket. It is quite subtle, but I think a nice addition.
I went round and round with buttons for this jacket. Ideally I would have loved to find some pink ones, but the pink of this vintage Linton fabric is really not a clear pink. It is a bit “dusty” and finding buttons to match proved too big a task. So I opted for these vintage mother-of-pearl gray buttons, which happen to have pink overtones to them.
I expect to wear this jacket with gray quite a bit, so the gray buttons make sense to me. I actually really like them now that they are on.
I chose a pink silk charmeuse from Emma One Sock Fabrics for my lining. I would have loved to use a flowered silk, but the ‘see-through’ factor of the light pink wool prohibited that. And actually the pink lining seems to add some vibrancy to the fashion fabric. It makes a very pretty “inside”.
This was a very time-consuming project, even without making granddaughter dresses in the midst of it. The video series is 13 parts long and Susan is extremely complete in her instructions. I attribute my success with this jacket to three main facts:
- I basted every seam before machine sewing them, even the seams in the lining.
- Except for the bound buttonholes, I carefully followed Susan’s order of construction as she laid them out in her videos.
- I viewed each lesson over and over to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.
There were many couture tips shared by Susan during the making of this jacket, but these four are ones I will use again and again:
- Sew the sides of the pocket bags in by hand with a small fell-stitch rather than sewing them by machine. What a great finish this made.
- Catch-stitch the upper curve of the pocket bags to the underlining of the jacket. This keeps them in place and prevents sagging of the bag inside the garment.
- Use straight-of-grain silk organza strips to stabilize the on-bias cuffs of the bias sleeves. This keeps the lower edge of the sleeve from “growing” as bias is wont to do.
- To add a center back pleat to the lining, which is necessary of course, place the back jacket pattern piece on the fold of your lining silk, set back from the edge by about one inch. (You will not have a center back seam in your lining with this method.) The extra inch makes a natural pleat which can be secured at the neckline and at the waist or slightly below.
I am already looking forward to making this jacket again. I can visualize it in a vintage Moygashel linen – it would be beautiful for Spring and Summer and Fall. I think this jacket may become as addictive to sew as a Classic French Jacket!