Category Archives: Coats and Jackets

Faux Fur Gilet – Hack of Simplicity 4032

Well I have thought quite long enough about this project. Now it is time to stop looking at the fabric and get on with the project. First step was to trace off the pattern from Simplicity 4032.

I used the back, side front, front panels and centre panel/facing/collar pieces from view D. To remove the hem flounce I added 3+5/8th inches to the length of the pieces whilst retaining the gentle curve at lower front edge on the centre panel/facing/collar pattern. I adjusted the centre back by 1 inch for my sway back and added extra width at the hips – ‘just in case’ it was required.

I am pleased that I checked out the faux fur and discovered that there was a definite nap, all pattern pieces were laid so that the pile was going down the garment.

I used some spare fabric to run a couple of stitching tests. Was I going to have the fur on the inside or the outside? I decided to have the faux fur on the outside so that the smooth knit was next to my other clothing and would reverse at the collar giving my face a frame of the Cerise Pink colour.


I tested out seam finishes. Option 1) Lapped seams with all seam allowances overlocked in the Cerise Pink thread – preferred. 

Option 2) a straight forward seam with Right sides together – not good as that left a lot of raw/fluffy seam allowances on the inside of the gilet. 

I threaded the machine with a Light Blue Grey in the needle and a Cerise Pink in the bobbins. All seams were stitched from the Right side.

For the first fitting I pinned all the seams to check the fit. After some adjustment of the seams I then stitched each one twice. First to secure the top layer in place and secondly to secure the under layer and prevent it from flapping about inside the garment. This method gives a nice smooth finish to the inside of the garment thus making it easier to put on and off.

For the armhole finishing I simply overlocked the raw edge and then turned the knit side to the outside before hand basting in place. I changed the top thread to Cerise Pink before zig-zag stitching the turnings in place.

The front panel/facing/collar piece was also applied using a lapped seam and finished in the same way as the other panel seams. The entire outer edge was then overlocked to finish the raw edges.

The gilet is big enough to lap right over left and could have a button or snap fastening but for now I will leave it as is.

A very comfortable gilet which has provided me with the new experience of sewing with faux fur. Now I have to vacuum the sewing room which is awash with Grey fluff!

A Blast from the Past – Simplicity 4032

I am planning to make a sleeveless jacket using some faux-fur lined/Pink knit fabric purchased from The Textile Centre.


A great deal of thought has gone into deciding which pattern to use. After referring to my sister ‘What do you think?’ she suggested something with Princess seaming. I knew that I wanted to have a collar to exhibit the faux fur and having browsed through my sewing record book came across a reference to this pattern – Simplicity 4032.

I originally made the pattern – view D way back on 18th February 2011. How’s that for fabulous record keeping!

So whilst I prepare for the new sleeveless jacket, I thought you might like to see the previous iteration of the pattern.

I used a beautiful Brocade fabric purchased at one of the Sewing for Pleasure shows at the NEC. The fabric may be lovely but was rather tiresome to sew in that it frayed a great deal and also left a dark Grey staining on my sewing machine (although that came off quickly with a baby wipe).

All the internal seams were neatened with the overlocker and I drafted my own self-fabric facing for the collar, revere, front button facings and also a facing for the hem frill.

I particularly like the shawl collar which sits really well on the front of the jacket. I was fortunate to find some great antiqued silver buttons in my stash. There were 4 available and I have stitched 3 for the front fastening and the spare inside the left front.

I have received many compliments on this jacket which co-ordinates well with skirts, trousers and dresses. I am pleased to say that it still fits!


Oh So Warm – Reversible Fleece Jacket

Last week I caught up with this vlog in which Angela demonstrates how to make a reversible jacket. I thought to myself – ‘I can do that’.

Using my Bianca coat pattern from Sew me Something, I drafted a few changes to the pattern to turn it from the coat to a jacket.

First I measured the back length of my latest bias hem frilled tunic top. I wanted the new jacket to be long enough to cover this tunic. The back length needed to be 32 inches. I measured the underarm seam and added 3 inches for the fold back cuff – 19 inches. The centre back seam of the collar was reduced from the original pattern to 5 inches.

The fleece fabric in Purple and Grey was purchased from Fabricland, 3 metres each x 150 cms wide in each colourway. The first jacket was cut and stitched using the Purple fabric and Parma Violet-coloured thread. Stitch length was 4mm. The jacket took just 2.3 metres and as the fabric had been a generous 3 metres I will have sufficient left over to use on another project.

I made a faux flat fell seam on the collar centre back and again when attaching the front pieces to the back. At first fitting I established the location for a patch pocket which I cut from a scrap of fabric and attached without any turnings. The top of the pocket was ‘pinked’ and has two rows of top stitching.

Then onto the Grey version of the jacket. I used the same construction method and procedure but this time omitted a patch pocket.

Although in the video, Angela leaves the two jackets separate, I have combined the two jackets by placing wrong sides together and stitching with a 4mm straight seam 1 cm from the raw edges. I stitched all around the outer edge of the jacket and at the hems of the sleeves, which were then turned back as cuffs to expose the contrasting colour.


The jacket is extremely warm and I am sure will be very useful in the cold and windy days ahead.

Lady in Red – Simplicity 2289 Fleece Tunic

Building on the success of the Fleece Tunic in Blue, I made another Tunic top,this time in a cheerful RED!

The fabric came from Fabricland at just £4.44 per metre and as I bought 2.2 metres I still have approximately 30 inches remaining that I can combine with the same amount of the Blue colourway to make ‘something else’. I have no idea what, let’s just wait and see what inspiration strikes. Possibly a colour-blocked Lekala 5656 Raglan sleeved top?

Again I cut an XL with sleeves extended by 3 inches and this time I changed the neckline slightly. I dropped the point of the collar insert by 2 inches and extended the collar piece accordingly. It has not quite worked but at least it is now comfortable with more ‘breathing’ space and not too close to the neck.

The entire tunic was sewn on the machine using a jersey needle and straight stitch, length 4.5. Again I reduced the size of the pocket width and set them 2½ inches in from the side seams. There were no other alterations to the pattern.

The sleeves are now just the right length although they could be reduced in width slightly – a note for if and when I make a THIRD version – maybe in Dark Forest Green? The tunic goes easily over a basic vest or if required – a long-sleeved polo neck when the weather is very frosty.

Simplicity 2289 – Secret PJ’s Fleece Tunic Top

A very long time ago I made this pattern in a Grey fleece fabric that had been gifted to me. The tunic has always had a place in my wardrobe ‘just in case’ the weather turned exceptionally cold or I needed a cosy top to wear. As we are expecting to be in the wake of Storm Caroline (sic!) over the next few of days, I thought it would be a good idea to re-visit this style and a fleece fabric.

I bought some 150cms wide Dark Blue Fleece from Fabricland at just £4.44 per metre to make this new tunic top. The fabric is a lovely Blue colour and has a pile that is very soft and velvety. A real pleasure to wear.

Referring to my original top to double-check measurements, I cut an XL. The pattern took just 2.2m so this works out to be a very cost-effective tunic top at £9.76. The thread used came from my stash and no other notions were required.

The entire tunic was sewn on the machine using a jersey needle and straight stitch, length 4.5. I reduced the size of the pocket width and set them 2½ inches in from the side seams. There were no other alterations to the pattern.

On completion I have found that the sleeves are a little short and I have therefore not turned back the cuffs. In future I will increase the sleeve length by 3 inches and continue to wear the cuffs unfolded.

The close-fitting shawl collar

I also found the shawl collar comes up tighter to the neck and is altogether a closer fit. Next time I will not double fold the hem on the collar and maybe this will provide a little more ease and a looser fit.

Whilst in Fabricland I bought an additional length of the same fleece fabric in Red colourway. After the weekend I plan to make another 2289 with that and will therefore be set up and ready for whatever the Great British Weather throws at us!

Bianca Blanket Coat by Sew me Something

When I visited the Festival of Quilts back in August I purchased a couple of patterns from ‘Sew me Something’. The first was an Helena tunic dress which I completed back in August – the same month and year that the fabric and pattern was purchased!

Fast forward three months and I have now completed making up the second pattern – a Bianca Blanket Coat using some fab-u-lous wool blend coating that I bought the same day from M Rosenburg & Son.

It appears that I learned nothing from the previous construction in respect of sizing of Sew me Something patterns. Let me tell you now – they come up LARGE!

I checked the measurement chart and decided to make the coat in the large size. It has turned out very roomy. Still that is no bad thing, it shall certainly be warm and able to layer up with sweaters beneath the coat, so bring on even more frosty, freezing weather – I am ready for it!

The only changes made to the pattern were to shorten the front, back and sleeves by 2 inches. I prepared the fabric pieces by overlocking all raw edges as I had decided to make the coat reversible. To do this the seams would be lapped and double top stitched in place. This may be a time-consuming method but I have used it in the past when making up boiled wool with excellent results.

Due to the bulk of the fabric, I used a 90 quilting needle with a stitch length of 4.

When wearing the coat I do not style with the waterfall collar, instead I wrap myself up nice and cosy. All that remains to do is buy and stitch some large press studs at the collar to ensure that the hem stays level when overlapped. Meantime I will use one of my many brooches to secure the overlap in place.

Plans for October 2017

Despite going ‘off plan’ with several projects in September I did manage to complete some of the items on my list.

The Pink floral print jersey ‘Elmira’ ballet wrap cardigan was completed and with the remnant of fabric I made a co-ordinating tee shirt. The Dark print viscose jersey for Kwiksew 3915 for a friend was also completed and again another tee shirt for me from the remnant of fabric. I did not get to the Cobra corsage lawn dress but I have today washed the plain Black lawn that I will use for a lining so maybe that project will finally make it to completion. The other dress using a Lewis & Irene cotton print, ‘Our friends in the garden’, was started in September but was not completed until earlier this week. But still with tights and a cardigan it should get some airings until the really cold weather sets in.

Whilst I have made several samples for the classes to be taught in the Autumn and Winter terms, there are still a few outstanding plus the workbooks to be prepared. The final outstanding item from September is the Sewing print linen-look seat covering. That should not take too long as is basically a shape with elasticated hem so hopefully that will also make it to completion in October.

Now, let’s think about sewing plans for the coming month, the list looks like this:-

  1. Cover for sewing room chair in sewing theme linen-look
  2. Samples for classes – Coat hanger peg bag, Scissors Case, Dresden Plate Blocks (2) and Zip top Window Project Bags.
  3. Cobra and Corsage print cotton lawn dress. Style as yet undecided.
  4. Cobra and Corsage print luxury scuba top with asymmetrical hem & cowl collar. Fabric just arrived from Sewisfaction. Absolutely yummy!

    5. Paisley print jersey trapeze tunic with cowl collar. Fabric just arrived from         eBay. Fine weight with a good drape.

  5. Coat with waterfall collar.                                                                                                                                         This is probably too much considering that we are already 7 days into the month but still it is good to have targets!

A Fun Day out at Festival of Quilts

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 8am a group of forty-plus ladies gathered together in a car park on the outskirts of Andover, all excited at the prospect of visiting the Festival of Quilts at the NEC, Birmingham.

I have visited the NEC many times before but never before visited the FOQ so this would be a first for me. I had a list, my packed lunch, spare shoes and a camera plus of course, cash and credit cards!

The journey was completed in good time and we were dropped off at the door of the main entrance. A short walk and we arrived at the three exhibition halls for the event.

Between our ‘sub-group’ of 5, we agreed to meet again at 1am for lunch and to discuss progress (and purchases!). I teamed up with Lizzie who is also a ‘newbie’ for FOQ. Where to start? We decided to approach the halls in a systematic manner by following a route up and down the various aisles of traders – to be followed by a tour of all the fabulous quilts.

Well, what can I say? Next year we will be visiting for TWO days. One is simply not enough. The plan should be to spend on day 1, and view on day 2 – it really is not possible to see everything in one day.

Lizzie had a pattern for a ‘poncho’ style cape and was looking for some wool tweed or boiled wool to make up the pattern.

Lizzie’s poncho pattern – is something like this

First port of call was the Rosenberg stall. We were reminded that washing boiled wool is a ‘no-no’ as it will shrink! Better to find some tweed – which will still have to be dry-cleaned but my not show quite so grubby quite so quickly. On the same aisle we came across the ‘Sew me Something’ stand where, would you believe it, Lizzie’s pattern was displayed. After an animated discussion with the ladies on the stand Lizzie and I ‘invested’ in some dressmaking patterns. Lizzie bought the Helena dress pattern and I bought the Bianca coat and Helena dress patterns.


Our Bianca Coat is deceptively simple to make yet stylish and works in both heavy woven and knit fabrics.


Helena is a relaxed easy to wear dress. The front curved yoke anchors the pintuck detail at the centre front, but this could easily be changed to pleats or gathers. The back yoke also lends itself to adaptations with the  gathers changed to pleats as well. The elbow length sleeves in view 1 can be extended into the 3/4 length sleeves in view 2. And the simple button and placket hold the turned up sleeves in place. Side pockets are a must and keep the lines of the dress clean and simple.

Now we were ‘armed and dangerous’ in our search for appropriate fabrics.

After a thorough investigation of all the traders’ stands we ended up with everything that we required, with the exception of a Pineapple Log Cabin ruler that Lizzie was seeking – she will however be able to order this online – probably on Sunday!

I purchased some fabulous wool mix fabric for my Bianca coat from Rosenberg’s.

Wool blend fabric for my Bianca coat

Both Lizzie and I bought some pretty floral print chambray for our Helena dresses.

Floral printed chambray for Helena dresses

I bought a pack of lovely Calico from Lady Sew & Sew and Lizzie acquired some great Grey Pure Wool Tweed for her poncho which will be lined with some terrific Tula Pink cat print cotton.

Tula Pink fabric for lining – I must have some of this!

During our 2 plus miles walk around the halls we viewed many quilts (and patchwork chairs!), checked out sewing room chairs, sewing machines and overlockers, met several famous names from the Patchwork & Quilting world and had a thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring time. We dropped in on Janet at Quilters’ Dream and Meg’s stand of New Threads was really buzzing!

In addition to this first visit to FOQ, I also made my first ever visit to Wetherspoons where we enjoyed our lunch!

By 5pm all the ladies were gathered outside in the sunshine as we waited to be collected by our coach and driver. The return home was accomplished in just over two hours and I noticed that although there was a lot of chatter, it was all more subdued as we returned home, tired and happy. A grand day out!

Jazz, the Inspector Cat checks out the chambray on the washing line!

p.s. As I type this post, my chambray fabric is already washed and on the line to dry. I hope to cut out the Helena dress later today – or maybe early next week.

Appliqued Denim Jacket – Subtle it is not!

Be warned! This post is text and picture heavy.

Kwik Sew 3736 is fast becoming one of my favourite patterns. I have long been hankering for a distinctive denim jacket and the current trend for boho-style embroidered garments has prompted me to get stitching. Using some of the vintage Jan Constantine appliqued cushions as inspiration I spent a pleasant morning sketching and then cutting patterns for the flowers, bow and butterflies that would adorn the back of the jacket.


Sketched ideas

templates for motifs

Using some bold-coloured felts bought in a pack from The Range I then auditioned a variety of styles and placement of motifs.


I drew out a large heart shape for the back of the jacket and ‘toyed’ with various designs to fill it (so I could make a statement as I left a room!). I finally settled on a favourite and proceeded with constructing the jacket.

First step was to cut out the main pattern pieces and where they were to be embroidered, I used a fusible interfacing to add stability to the denim which had a slight stretch in its composition. I transferred the heart outline first and stitched this with a Red thread using a decorative stitch on my Brother 4000D sewing/embroidery machine.

Next I placed the various motifs and chalked in the design lines for the ‘stems’ of the flowers. A couple of stitching sessions later saw the back design completed, but like a Chinese meal – I still wanted more! I decided to add a motif to each lapel and at the hem of each sleeve – this is probably overkill but there again, just because I am old does not mean that I cannot enjoy a flight of fancy now and again.


sleeve hems



Having completed the applique I then made up the outer jacket. Now was time to find some fabric to use for the lining…. I checked out my stash and in the first box came across a length of this fabulous colourful cotton printed of a variety of fruit in bright colours. It co-ordinated so well with the colours of the applique that it was obviously the right choice for the lining.

colourful lining fabric

Although the Kwik Sew pattern does not include a lining for the sleeves, I drafted my own pattern when making the previous versions and was pleased to find that I had sufficient of the printed cotton to make the entire lining in this fabric. Again, although not included in the Kwik Sew pattern, I added a pleat at the centre back which was basted top and bottom but provides extra ease for movement across the shoulders.

Once the lining was completed but before stitching to the outer jacket, I had a final fitting. I decided to use some thin shoulder pads – just to lift the shoulder line and give a more structured silhouette. The lining and outer were sewn together around the outside leaving a gap for turning at the centre back hemline. A good press and lots of clipping and layering of seam allowances meant that once the jacket was turned right side out, the next pressing produced a good finish.


Lining front and back

Finishing: I used a prick stitch to join the seam allowances along the collar and lining seam to the underside of the collar. I used an ‘anchor’ stitch for the sleeve heads to the shoulder pads and also at the underarm points. The ‘turning gap’ at the centre back hemline was slip stitched closed. The sleeve lining hems were slip-stitched to the sleeve facings.


This jacket was the first thing I made having recovered from 10 days of illness, it has cheered me up so much that I think it should be called ‘The Tiramisu Jacket’!

Black linen-look Bolero Jacket – KWIK SEW K3736


Here is the finished ensemble and I am so pleased with the results. Having previously made KWIK SEW K3736 in a Violet-coloured fabric as a wearable toile/muslin, I now knew exactly what changes I wanted to make.

The completed ensemble

Construction notes.

Materials used: 1.75 yards x 60 inch wide Black linen-look fabric outer shell, 1.75 yards x 42 inch wide Lilac satin for lining, crisp calico for interfacing collar, front facings and sleeve hem facings, scrap cotton floral print for piping between facing and lining.

Again I cut the Xlarge size which is to fit a 43-45 inch bust. This time I reduced the shoulder width by 1 inch and added ½ inch to the bust point on the princess seam. As regards length, I added 1 inch to the back bodice and re-drew the curve on the two front bodice pieces to give more ‘coverage’ as I felt that the original design lines were that little bit too short.

The final version of the jacket just hits the waistline seam of the dress at the back and provides just the right amount of coverage at the front. The lapels are a great opportunity for the placement of a brooch (of which I have many!). The ¾ length sleeves have a wide facing which was interfaced and this time I omitted the vent.


Apart from wearing the jacket with this dress, I can foresee that I will get a lot of wear from this garment in the Autumn and Winter to.