Unstructured Jacket

jacket fit picture

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.

jacket pattern

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.

jacket pad stitch lapel

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.

jacket collar construction

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.

jacket felt under collar

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.

jacket inside welt pocket

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 🙂 .

jacket inside seams

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.jacket fit picture
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!

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Waxed Canvas Wine Tote

waxed canvas wine tote

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.

waxed canvas wine tote

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!

Desmond Backpack Sew Along Step 10 – Strap Hardware

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.

webbing, slide, snap hook

Continue feeding the end of your webbing back through the slide over the first layer of webbing.

webbing, slide, snap hook

Repeat for both straps.

webbing, slide, snap hook

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.

webbing, slide, snap hook

Here is the completed front side.

webbing, slide, snap hook

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.

O-Rings

O-Rings, lower straps

Bring the lower strap up through the back side of both O-Rings.

O-Rings, lower straps

Then bring the strap down in between the two rings and pull tight.

O-Rings, lower straps

Tension on the strap holds everything in place.

O-Rings, lower straps

You can shorten these lower straps if necessary.

webbing loop

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!

desmond pack front

desmond pack backdesmond pack side

Desmond Backpack Sew Along Step 9 – Lining Attachment

We are getting close to finishing with Step 9 of the Desmond Backpack sew along! The exterior and lining get sewn together today and all of the hard work put in so far pays off in a big way. There is something so satisfying about putting the final touches on a project.

Lining Attachment

Leave the lining right side in (pockets will be on the inside). Turn backpack body (exterior) right side out (zipper pocket and strapping will be on the outside). Press open 1-2″ of side seam allowance at the top of the backpack body and lining. If you want to press open the entire seam allowance you can, but it isn’t necessary.

Place backpack body (exterior) inside lining, right sides together. Align side seams, side notches, and center front and center back notches. Pin lining to exterior.

lining/exterior seam

Stitch lining to exterior all the way around top of pack opening.

lining/exterior seam

Make sure to keep notches and side seams aligned, and make sure that the side seam allowances remain pressed open as they are stitched.

lining/exterior seam pressed open

Press the seam open all the way around the top of the pack.

Turn backpack right side out through the hole left open along the bottom of the lining.

exterior/lining pulled to right side

With the lining pulled out of the exterior, pin edges of bottom opening together and top-stitch closed from the right side along previously pressed under seam allowance.

lining bottom seam closed

If you don’t want visible top-stitching, you have the option of closing this seam by hand, but I would recommend machine stitching this closed. The seam is at the very bottom of the inside of the pack, and it will not be visible.

lining tucked inside

Place the lining back inside the exterior, and then press the exterior/lining attachment seam flat all the way around the pack from the right side.

exterior lining top-stitch

Edge-stitch all the way around the top of the backpack. Then top-stitch 1/4″ from edge-stitching line, creating two lines of stitching.

exterior/lining top-stitch

That’s all we are doing today. There is only one more step left, where we will deal with all of the straps and snap hooks. We are almost finished!

Desmond Backpack Sew Along Step 8 – Lining Construction

With this step we are putting the main lining pieces together. The directions and procedure are nearly identical to Step 6, where we sewed up the sides and bottom of the exterior of the pack. There is one small change in the back/bottom seam where we need to leave an opening to turn the pack right side out later.

Lining Assembly

lining corner seam

Fold the bottom corners of lining piece A right sides together so that the edges align. Pin in place. Sew the corners using 1/2″ seam allowance, stopping 1/2″ from the edge.

lining back bottom seam

With right sides together, pin bottom of lining piece B to bottom of lining piece A. Starting 1/2″ from the edge, sew in about 2″ on each side, leaving a portion of the bottom seam open (this opening will be required to pull the backpack body through the lining later).

lining back bottom seam, open

Here is another view. Each end of the seam is sewn in about 2″ on each side, and the center remains open.

lining side seams

With right sides together, pin the long sides of lining piece A to the long sides of lining piece B. Starting at the top of the lining, stitch sides together, sewing all the way to the edge of the fabric at the top and bottom.

Sew a second row of stitches for reinforcement on top of all of the seams from this step, leaving bottom opening in place.

lining_seam_pressed_open

Press open 1/2” seam allowance along bottom opening. I actually pressed open the seam before sewing up the long sides, but it shouldn’t really matter either way.

presed under seam allowance

Here is that back bottom seam from the inside (or right side of the lining) after the seam is pressed open. Again, photo taken and seams pressed open before sewing up the long sides, but the order doesn’t really matter that much.

Many bags will leave a portion of the top of the bag open to turn the right side out later. If that is your preferred way of working, you can do that with this backpack. I’ve decided to pull the bag through the bottom of the lining, which gives a very clean finish around the top of the pack. In the next step, we will be attaching the lining to the exterior, and pulling the pack through this bottom opening.

Desmond Backpack Sew Along Step 7 – Lining Pockets

With the exterior of the pack finished, it’s time to start working on the lining. Several of the same pattern pieces that we used for the exterior of the pack are also used for the lining. Since it essentially takes on the same shape as the exterior of the pack, the directions for completing parts of the lining are almost the same as the exterior construction, but with some small adjustments.

Lining Side Pockets

Finish all edges of lining pocket pieces E with an overlock or zig zag stitch.

side pocket hem

Fold over 3/8″ at the top of each pocket piece E to the wrong side of the fabric and press flat.

side pocket hem

Repeat, folding over and pressing another 3/8″ to the wrong side.

side pocket hem

Top-stitch folded layers down from the right side 1/4″ from folded edge at top of pocket.

side pocket seam allowances pressed under

Fold under 1/2″ seam allowance on the left side of one pocket piece, and 1/2″ seam allowance on the right side of the other pocket piece. Press flat to wrong side. Fold under 1/2″ seam allowance on the bottom of each pocket piece. Press flat to wrong side.

side pockets attached

Turn pocket pieces E so that the right sides are facing up. Align pocket pieces E with lining side pocket placement lines, and pin in place to right side of lining piece A. Pressed under side edges of pockets should be facing the interior of lining piece A.

Edge-stitch pieces E in place along the pressed under side and bottom of each pocket. Add a second row of stitches on top of first row for reinforcement. Reinforce top corner of each pocket using (Figure 2) in the pattern directions for reference.

Baste opposite side edges 1/4″ from raw edges.

Back Lining Pocket

Finish all edges of lining pocket piece F with an overlock or zigzag stitch.

back lining pocket hem

Following the same procedure as the side pockets above, fold over 3/8″ at the top of pocket piece F to the wrong side of fabric and press flat. Repeat, folding over and pressing another 3/8″ to the wrong side. Top-stitch folded layers down from the right side 1/4″ from folded edge at top of pocket.

back lining pocket seam allowance pressed under

Fold under 1/2″ seam allowance on left, right, and bottom edges of pocket piece F. Press flat to wrong side.

back lining pocket bottom seam

Turn pocket piece F so right side is facing up. Align pocket piece F with pocket placement lines on lining piece B. The sides of the pocket are cut at an angle and won’t align just yet, but make sure pocket piece F is accurately placed along the bottom placement line. Pin in place to right side of lining piece B. Pressed under bottom edge should be facing down.

Edge-stitch pocket piece F to lining piece B along the bottom edge first.

back lining pocket center seam lline

Then sew vertically along the stitch line to divide pocket piece F in half.

back lining pocket side seams

Bring each side of pocket piece F in line with the right and left side placement markings. Edge-stitch each side of pocket in place. The pocket will not lay flat, as the angled sides create some extra room in the pocket for thicker objects.

Reinforce top corners and center of pocket.

back lining pocket sides seams

Add a second row of stitches on top of first row for reinforcement on the sides and bottom of the pocket, as well as the center dividing stitch line.

That completes all of the lining pockets. On Thursday we will put the lining pieces together, and get them ready for attachment to the exterior of the pack. There are only two or three more steps after this one, so hang in there! We are getting closer to finishing the pack!

Desmond Backpack pattern available in the Supply Shop.

Desmond Backpack Sew Along Step 6 – Main Body Construction

I love getting to this point in a project. After all of the somewhat intricate work involved with constructing pockets and straps, we finally get to see the backpack take shape today as we sew the seams for the main body. This is the 6th step in my Desmond Backpack sew along.

Main body construction, Exterior

main body corner seam

Fold the bottom corners of exterior piece A right sides together so that edges align. Pin in place. Sew the corners using 1/2″ seam allowance, stopping 1/2″ from the edge. Stopping 1/2″ from the edge will make assembling the pieces that meet in the corner easier. These stitch lines create the sides of the backpack.

back bottom seam

With right sides together, pin the bottom of exterior piece B to the bottom of exterior piece A. Stitch piece B to bottom of piece A, starting and stopping 1/2″ from each end.

back bottom seam from inside

Here is what the back/bottom seam looks like from the inside.

backpack body side seams

With right sides together, and all straps to the inside and out of the way, pin the long sides of piece A to the long sides of piece B. Stitch the sides together 1/2″ from the edge, sewing all the way to the edge of the fabric at the top and bottom.

backpack body side seams

When sewing up the sides, back tack over the lower straps for reinforcement.

Sew a second row of stitches for reinforcement on top of all of the seams sewn during this part of the construction. Like the shoulder straps in previous steps, these seams will take on the weight of the contents of the pack, so we need to make sure they are strong.

backpack body side seams

This completes the exterior portion of the pack, and you can set it aside for now. Up next on Monday, we will start work on the lining. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Desmond Backpack Sew Along Step 5 – Back/Straps

Today we are working on the back of the pack where all of the strapping comes together. It’s important to make sure the straps are adequately reinforced since they will be carrying the weight of the pack. Last time we left off after completing the shoulder straps.

Handle/Strap Attachment

With right sides together, align top edge of strap backing piece G with placement line on exterior piece B. Stitch pieces together 1/2″ from the edge of piece G.

exterior back and piece G

Press seam allowance down, toward the other side of piece G.

piece G seam allowance pressed downd

Fold piece G along fold line so that both long edges of piece G are touching. Press flat.

handle strap attachment

Cut a piece of webbing 12″ long for the handle.

Align webbing for handle on each side of center mark on exterior piece B. Edges of webbing should be touching each other at the center point. The bottom edges of webbing should rest against piece G. Baste in place 1-3/4″ from piece G.

(Optional: if using lightweight fabric, reinforce wrong side of piece B behind strap attachments with fusible interfacing.)

roll top strap attachment

Cut 2 pieces of webbing 20″ long for the roll top closure straps (22″ for natural fiber webbing, ends of webbing will be folded over and stitched down later to hide raw edges). For each closure strap, place piece of webbing directly next to each side of the handle (one on the right side, one on the left side of handle). The bottom edges of webbing should rest against piece G. Baste in place 1-3/4″ from piece G.

Shoulder Strap Attachment

The shoulder straps are placed face down (webbing to the right side of fabric) to the right and left of the roll top straps. The cut angle should be parallel with, and should be resting against the edge of the webbing for the roll top strap, right and left side respectively. Non-angled corner of strap should rest against piece G. Baste in place 1-3/4″ from piece G.

shoulder strap attachment

Starting at basting stitches, stitch 5 reinforcement stitch lines (1/4″ apart) through each shoulder strap, roll top strap, and handle. Reinforcement stitch lines should be between basting stitches and bottom of piece G.

Press piece G up towards straps to cover reinforcement and basting stitches. Press flat.

piece G edge-stitch

Edge-stitch piece G to exterior piece B along top edge. Over each shoulder strap, roll top strap, and handle strap, edge-stitch an additional 5 lines of close reinforcement stitching. Stitch through piece G, the straps, and exterior piece B. Edge-stitch bottom of piece G.

finished shoulder straps

Your completed upper strap area should look like this.

Lower Straps

Cut two pieces of webbing 21″ long (23″ for natural fiber webbing, ends of webbing will be folded over and stitched down later to hide raw edges).

Place each piece of webbing within lower strap placement markings on exterior piece B. Align bottom corner of webbing with edge of fabric. The other corner of webbing will be overhanging edge of piece B. Mark a stitch line on webbing parallel to edge of piece B 1/2″ from the edge.

(Optional: if using lightweight fabric, reinforce wrong side of fabric behind strap attachment area with fusible interfacing.)

lower strap assembly

Sew webbing to fabric just inside stitch line using 5 lines of close stitching. Move over 1/4″ towards edge of fabric and sew another 5 lines of close stitching parallel to the first within the seam allowance. This webbing attachment area needs to be reinforced to handle the weight of the backpack.

Up next on Thursday, we will be assembling the exterior of the pack. Since I am taking my time with these sew along posts, and spreading them out over several weeks,  you still have plenty of time to grab a pattern and sew along!

Desmond Backpack Sew Along Step 4 – Shoulder Straps

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.

Shoulder Straps

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).

strap seam

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.

strap topstitching

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.

strap webbing attachment

I changed the color of my thread to match the webbing so that the stitching wouldn’t show on the right side.

strap ends before O-Rings

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)

strap x pattern

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.

straps finished front sides

Here is the finished front side of the straps.

finished back of 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.

finished top of straps

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.

Quilted Ukulele Bag: Tutorial

quilted ukulele bag

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.

quilted ukulel bag, cat bed

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.