Sunday 21 August 2011

Season Six Tweed jacket –
making the body

If you have been following what I have been up to recently, you will have seen the Prototype Shetland Tweed Jacket I made, followed by a couple of proper jackets.
All have been made using the THE original Shetland Tweed from which Matt’s jackets were cut (see left).

Well now I have nailed what I need to do, I thought I’d share a few bit of making them.

First up I need to cut and make the body of the jacket.
The pattern was based closely on my basic Edwardian Lounge Jacket, which I original cut to make my Tennant Suit.

I have had to distinctly up my game for this jacket.
There is no room for error or allowance for adjustment later, so I have to be a lot more disciplined when making it.

Why you ask? Well, the fabric has a pattern to it, sure, but it has an annoying irregular pattern repeat.

There is a horizontal orange stripe which is spaced 35mm apart, then 40mm apart, then 35mm apart again. This makes the true vertical pattern repeat some 75mm.
As an FYI, form what I have seen the Abby Shot rewoven fabric has missed this subtly completely, and has made the spacing equal between all their orange stripes.

Okay, so we got that. But there is a further complication: the horizontal stripe needs to match across from the body to the sleeve-head. This means I have to cut the fabric to within a few millimetres tolerance, limiting me to where I can position them on the fabric.

To make sure I always cut the fabric in just the right place, I did make a quick calico test and pencil-marked balance points across the seam joins.
I then took this apart and transferred the balance points back to my pattern.
These I drew with a highlighting pen to show the positioning of the stripes vertically and horizontally.

Once I cut the pieces, I then interfaced the front edges and hem areas as well as around where the pockets will be set. I have distinctly moved away from fusible interfacing, but this is one occasion it is a must.

First bit I need to do is the breast pocket.

The breast pocket welt needs to be on a slight angle, so I have cut the pattern accordingly. I also need to align it across the chest, matching the pattern all the way (see above, left).

The pocket welt is folded in half, right-sides together and I mark a one inch seam allowance either side and a parallel line to show the height of the desired welt (see above, right).

I then stitch the vertical edges of the welt (dee right, top) and clip to the bottom edge of the stitch line, as close as I dare (see right, centre).

The welt is then turned right-sides and firmly pressed (see right, bottom).

I then chalk-mark the lower level of the welt position (see below) and pin the welt in place, aligning it carefully with the cloth pattern.

I then stitch the welt into place (flipped vertically) between the clipped points on either side (see below, far left); before sewing a matching pocket facing above it (see below, centre left); once I have slit the pocket opening between the welt and the facing (see below, centre right); I then clip to the ends of the stitching as usual (see below, far right) before turning the welts and firmly pressing everything.

I then construct a pocket bag below the welt and pocket facing (see right).

It then just remains for me to top-stitch the ends of the welt in place at either end to finish the pocket off (see below).

The next thing I need to sort out are the outer pockets. I first attache the side panels to the fronts as the pockets need to span the seam between them.

The welts of the pocket are just classic welts (see below, left), so I won’t go into detail here. You can read about doing such welts on the Tennant Coat Blog.

The difference for these pockets are the flaps.

Again I have had to cut the fabric with the cloth pattern in mind, as they need to align over the flap to the body of the jacket.

I cut a matching piece of lining (see right, top); and pin them together before sewing the three sides with rounded corners.
These have to be carefully sewn to make sure I stitch at the right point, and then turned and pressed.
The flap is inserted under the upper welt and stitched in place (see below, right). Pocket bags are added behind to finish them off.

I now need to create the internal structure to the jacket, which will help give the right shape and fold-lines to the lapels.
I am using horse-hair interfacing and I attach a panel of hessian along the roll line of the lapel, sewing a length of linen tape (see below, left). This defines the location of the roll line ensuring the lapels do exactly what I want. This has to be positioned carefully as once set it is near impossible to adjust later.

A panel of fusible wadding then covers the hessian to give some bulk to the upper chest, and comfort to the wearer (see below, right).

This interfacing is attached to the front panel along the linen tape and the lapel area pad-stitched to give the support and direction required.

Assembling the back is very straight forward, all that is worth mentioning is a panel of horse-hair interfacing I put across the upper back, extending down under the arms (see left).

It’s then quite quick to assemble the body and put it up on my mannequin to see how it is looking (see right).

If I turn the jacket inside out on the mannequin, you can see the internal structure in position around the body (see below, left & right).

With the body together, that’s a good point to leave things for the moment.

Check back soon to see how the sleeves are made.

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