I finally finished my first jacket! I’ve been working on this forever, about 16 months, which is way, way too long. It is a two button, unstructured, side vent jacket with a minimal lining. I made it out of a piece of textured cotton I’ve had laying around in my stash for a while.
The fit isn’t perfect, but as usual, these things are a work in progress. I wanted a classic look, not too tight, not too loose, not too short. I also wanted a fairly wide lapel when I started out. Having said that, I would probably shorten the length just a little next time, and narrow the lapel a bit. I’m still not a fan of really narrow lapels, but I would probably shave a 1/4” or so off of this one for the next jacket.
For the pattern, I used a draft I found on the Cutter and Tailor forum to start, then made adjustments to the fit from there.
Even though it’s just cotton and not a nice wool, I wanted to practice pad stitching for the lapels. I also pad stitched the collar using felt, and assembled the collar by hand.
As far as construction techniques go, I used a Roberto Cabrera and Patricia Flaherty Meyers book called Classic Tailoring Techniques: A Construction Guide for Menswear.
My hand stitching could use some more practice. I really loved this method for attaching and building the collar. Rather than using a piece of the jacket fabric as an under collar, attaching it right sides together and then turning the collar right side out, like you might do with a shirt, this was much more satisfying. The felt goes directly on the outside of the collar line to the right side of the jacket fabric, and then the top collar ends are folded over like a tailored suit jacket or sport coat. This made for a much cleaner look.
There are two double welt pockets on the inside facing and hip patch pockets on the outside. The cuffs are functional surgeon’s cuffs, you know, in case I ever have to roll up my sleeves and get dirty and don’t have time to take my jacket off 🙂 .
I lined the sleeves, and put in a couple pieces of “floating” lining fabric over the shoulder area to be able to easily slide the jacket on and off, otherwise it is unlined. Then I used bias tape throughout to finish all of the other seams.
The weather in Nashville can be quite warm in the spring, fall, and summer, so I wanted something as light weight as possible (without using expensive linen for a first jacket). This meant that I didn’t want a full lining, and except for the lapels and collar, I left out most of the traditional structure you might find in a jacket.
There is a time and a place for a structured jacket that is fully canvased with shoulder pads and lots of shape, but I rarely find myself in that sort of time or place. I actually really like the unstructured look. The less structure, the less formal and more natural the look in my opinion.
I’m hoping for more sewing in 2017 than I was able to do in 2016. I’ve already started work on a new trouser pattern, have plans for a different type of jacket, updated shirt pattern, and perhaps another bag pattern release!
Here is a little preview of my latest project for The Sewing Party, a waxed canvas wine tote. You know all those holiday parties this time of year? Well, now you have the perfect host/hostess gift. Head over to The Sewing Party for a free downloadable pattern and a full set of instructions to make your own! Fill it with wine, beer, or your beverage of choice and celebrate!
I’m really happy with the way it turned out. This was my first time working with waxed canvas and I love the stuff. The inside is lined with a soft table felt to protect glass bottles. A small pocket on the outside is big enough for a compact bottle opener.
I can’t wait to use waxed canvas for other bags. Over time the fabric will change as new creases and scratches add character to the exterior. Happy holidays everyone!
We have arrived at the final step of the Desmond backpack sew along. This has been a ton of fun for me, and I’ll admit I’m a little sad to be concluding my first sew along for my first pattern. That being said, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the process, and I love seeing all of your packs coming along and taking shape. If you use Instagram, be sure to tag your photos using the hashtag #thedesmondpack. You can search the hashtag to see how other people are interpreting the pattern, and various construction photos that I’ve been posting.
We need to do a couple of things to our webbing and hardware to make the pack fully functional.
Roll top slides and clips
To make the backpack close, we need to install the snap hooks and slides. Feed the end of one of your roll top straps through a slide, then under and over the snap hook opening. The view below is of the top side of the strap.
Continue feeding the end of your webbing back through the slide over the first layer of webbing.
Repeat for both straps.
Here is the backside. Both layers of webbing are fed through one side of the slide. This is a little bit different than how a slide normally works, but this method allows for a simpler installation with less webbing.
Here is the completed front side.
This makes the roll top straps adjustable. I suggest using the pack for a while to see if the roll top straps are the right length for your individual needs. I’ve purposely built in a little extra length to these straps so that they can be shortened if necessary. You have the option of sewing a loop at the end of the webbing (image towards the end of the post) or leaving the end of the webbing flat. If you are using natural fiber webbing, sewing a loop is probably a good idea so that you can hide the raw end of the webbing. The ends of synthetic fiber webbing like the nylon I used can simply be melted with a lighter.
If you do sew a loop, note that you will no longer be able to remove the slide or snap hook without ripping out your loop stitching, so make sure they are installed correctly before sewing a loop at the end of the webbing.
Bring the lower strap up through the back side of both O-Rings.
Then bring the strap down in between the two rings and pull tight.
Tension on the strap holds everything in place.
You can shorten these lower straps if necessary.
Once proper strap length is established, fold over and stitch a loop in place at the end of each lower strap.
If using natural fiber webbing, for both lower straps and roll top straps, you can double fold the ends of the webbing 1/2″ and stitch in place, which will help hide the raw end of the webbing.
WE ARE FINISHED!!!
I greatly appreciate everyone who has purchased the pattern and has been following along. Finally releasing the pattern and seeing people enjoy the process of making their own backpack has been an amazing experience for me. So thank you for the support!
Just because the sew along is over, that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop 🙂 These posts will be up indefinitely to help anyone who wants to make the backpack in the future. The pattern is available in my Supply Shop.
Oh, and here is my finished pack!
Hey y’all, it’s step 4 of the Desmond Backpack sew-along!
You might want to check out #thedesmondpack hashtag on Instagram. Some cool packs are starting to show up! I love seeing the different fabric choices and interpretations of the pattern. If you need a refresher from where we left off last time, you can check out Step 3. At this point, all of the pockets on the front/sides of the pack (exterior piece A) should be complete.
If you like your shoulder straps to have a little padding, now would be the time to think about adding some. My personal opinion for a pack of this size and purpose is that padding isn’t a necessity. I don’t plan on carrying heavy objects, and don’t plan on walking really long distances with the pack. My straps will be made as written in the pattern, with no extra padding.
That being said, thin foam or batting are probably the best options for adding padding to the straps if you choose to do so. Depending on what type of material you use, you might need to adjust the seam allowances to account for the extra thickness. Also, have your padding material prepared before you sew the straps together. Thin foam could be inserted after the straps are sewn and turned, but batting should probably be basted in before sewing and turning the straps. If you add padding, be sure to leave the top 2″ of strap padding-free.
Pin two strap pieces H with right sides together and stitch, leaving tops (straight ends) open.
Repeat for other two strap pieces H. Trim seam allowances on bottom curves to 1/4″ (clip curves if desired), but leave side allowances at 1/2″ and press seams open (the extra seam allowance adds structure to the straps).
Turn straps right sides out so raw edges are concealed inside. Press straps flat from the right side, making sure to keep seams straight and aligned with the edge of straps. Starting at the top, edge-stitch all the way around each strap.
Cut two pieces of webbing 21″ long. If using synthetic fiber webbing, melt each end of webbing to prevent fraying. Align webbing, centered at the top of the strap, and edge-stitch in place. There should be about 1/2″ of strap on each side of the webbing. Stitch all the way to the bottom of the strap, across the webbing, and back up the other side.
I changed the color of my thread to match the webbing so that the stitching wouldn’t show on the right side.
Place two O-Rings over bottom end of webbing, and fold remaining webbing to other side of strap. The end of the webbing should come up the back side of the strap by about 1-1/4″. The O-Rings should move freely, but there should not be too much slack or extra room in the webbing.
Feel through the strap to make sure top layer of webbing is lined up with folded under bottom layer of webbing. Stitch across bottom end closest to O-Rings with 5 rows of close stitches, starting and stopping at edge of webbing. Cut threads.
(note: O-Rings are not the only option here. D-Rings can be substituted, or plastic or metal strap adjusters can be used too)
Sew an X-Pattern through all layers of webbing and strap following the numbers in (Figure 12) in the pattern instructions. Start sewing at #1 and sew to #2, stopping at each number with the needle down, and pivoting to sew towards the next number. If you are using natural fiber webbing, the top line of stitching in the X-Pattern should be fairly close to the raw end of the strap on the back side. This line of stitching should prevent further fraying.
Repeat for the other strap.
Here is the finished front side of the straps.
Here is what the back side should look like.
Lay each backpack strap with sewn on webbing facing up. Dedicate one strap as the right strap, and the other as the left strap. At the top of the straps, on the inside of each strap, measure down 1-1/8″ and make a mark.
For wide to medium shoulders, measure across the top of the strap 3/8″ and make a mark. For narrow shoulders, measure across the top of the strap 1/4″, and make a mark.
Draw a line connecting the two marks, then cut along the line, creating an angle at the top of each strap.
This cut will allow the straps to be set at an angle, giving a more comfortable fit and even weight distribution as the straps lay over the shoulders.
That’s all for today! We are taking it nice and slow. Next up, we will finish all of the straps including the handle, roll top straps, and lower straps.
Buy the pattern for the Desmond Pack in my Supply Shop.
How about a little break from the Desmond Pack sew-along? Here is a preview of my second post for The Sewing Party! I made a quilted ukulele bag with some fabric I, eh, “borrowed” from by wife’s fabric stash. I think she was going to make pillow cases or something at one point, but never got around to it. Since she doesn’t really sew any more, I’ve slowly started to claim her fabric stash as my own.
Over on The Sewing Party’s website there is a full tutorial on how to make your own custom sized instrument bag. There are directions for making the pattern, which is actually pretty easy with only two pattern pieces to make based off of your instrument. The pattern can be adapted to fit any small instrument, not just ukulele’s. Go check it out!
I am contributing to The Sewing Party’s blog this year and I am thrilled to be part of the program. There are lots of other fun and interesting articles from the other contributors, as well as contests, including one right now where they are giving away a sewing machine and a bundle of McCall’s patterns! Details about the contest are here.
Even if you don’t have a small instrument, you should probably make one of these anyway. Apparently they make great small animal beds too!
Head over to The Sewing Party for the full set of instructions and lots more step by step images.