McCalls 5106 Jacket

Miss Me? There’s a great saying that goes, “If you ever want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans.” Boy, that can describe my weekend to a tee! I had planned to have this up by Saturday, but snowstorms and friends made for a difficult time achieving my plan. Oh well. The snow is melting, the friends are good company, so it all turned out okay. And I got back to the sewing room today.

My goal was to finish my jacket project. The quest for this project was to take this pattern from McCalls, 5106:

and glam it up, á la D-Squared, the Milan fashion house:
I wasn’t interested in an exact copy of this look. Rather, I was interested in an “inspired by-” look. I had a couple of yards of imported wool denim wanting to be made into something, and this seemed like the perfect choice. So to the cutting room I went.

To achieve this look, I had to do a few things. First, I did all my standard alterations for a full bust. Next, I sliced 3 inches from the bottom of the pattern pieces to crop the jacket and sleeves. Then came the tricky part, slicing the pattern up to add a bib-yoke front. To do this, I took the original front piece:

And traced it off. I decided where I wanted the yoke lines to fall. I used a muslin for this, trying it on and marking it up with a sharpie. Then I sliced the front of the muslin piece along the style lines. I used tracing paper to trace the resulting pattern pieces, and I added seam allowances.

I sewed up the front and yoke pieces first, essentially reassembling the front. The other critical part here is making sure that you line up your yoke pieces carefully when sewing to ensure that they meet across the center front. It’s not difficult, but it involves some hand basting to ensure proper matching. If you do it, you’ll get great results. If you don’t? Becky-Home-Ecky. It’s definitely worth the few minutes.

I had to stop work for a couple of days because I wanted exactly the right closure. I had ordered some Riri zippers from Zipper Stop, and I thought they would be perfect. BUT, the ones I had were 22 inch separating zippers. I needed 16 inch. Never fear! Call Jeff at ZipperStop and ask him to cut them down for you. I called on Friday during the snowstorm. They arrived, perfect, yesterday.

While I was waiting though, I debated. I had bought some really great screw-on nickel grommets at Pacific Trim in New York when I was there with Gigi and Phyllis in January. I thought they would look great on the mini-patch pockets I was putting on the jacket.

They do, just not with the zipper. Had I been using a nickel zipper, it would have been fine. But the two elements were in competition, and I think that had I put them both on the same jacket, it would lose the designer look that I was after. Diva Phyllis has a great attitude about embellishment. She thinks that you have to be like Jackie Kennedy. Put everything on and then take one thing off. When it comes to trims, less is definitely more in most cases. And if you are ever unsure about whether you have too many trim or design elements on a piece? You do. Better to leave them wanting more, right? That’s my attitude in singing, and I used it here.

The rest of the construction of this pattern was quite straightforward. I eliminated the overlaps at the center front so I could insert the zipper. And I lined the jacket in a lovely silk charmeuse that I bought a couple of years ago. It all went together beautifully, and I am quite pleased with the results.

Here’s a picture of the lining:

And finally, here’s a picture of my exhausted self in the jacket:

Some notes on using this fabric, which is available for sale over at Gorgeous Fabrics. It’s heavy enough that, though I used some lightweight interfacing on the collar and facings, I think you can get away without it for a jacket like this. You’d need it if you make a trench, but don’t try to put a heavy horsehair canvas with this. Also, when you hand-sew with this fabric, use a thimble. It’s very, very tightly woven. Use heavy steam for shaping. It tailors beautifully, and it wants to do what you tell it.

All in all, I think this turned out pretty okay! It will make a great jacket for spring evenings (if Spring ever makes it up here!). The moral of this story is: Patterns are guidelines, not gospel. Play with them, use them as starting points for design decisions, but put your own stamp on it. After all, that’s why we do this, right?

Happy sewing!

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