Category Archives: Coats and Jackets

Kwik Sew K3736 Bolero-style Jacket

K3736 line drawing

In my quest to make a nice, comfortable outfit appropriate for the family wedding in 11 days’ (yes just 11!) time, today I completed making up a bolero-style jacket to Kwik Sew pattern K3736.

I used some Violet-coloured 100% polyester linen-look that has been in my stash for years together with co-ordinating lining. If the jacket works out OK then it can be reserve to go with the border print dress (that I have yet to make!).

I cut the Xlarge size which is to fit a 43-45 inch bust. Knowing that the shoulders would be too wide for me (always seems to happen with Kwik Sew patterns) I hoped that the remainder of the pattern would also be on the generous side.

The jacket sewed up quickly, I made only 2 changes. Firstly, as anticipated, I reduced the shoulder width by ¾ inch and secondly I cut a lining for the sleeves (not included in the pattern). The sleeves fitted into the slightly altered armscye like a dream although I am afraid I hashed up one them so not 100% pleased with the result. Next time I will add ½ inch at the full bust on the princess seam lines and also omit the short vent in the sleeve hem as despite really hammering it with steam pressing, one or other side of the vent consistently sticks out.

Other than that, I think this jacket is a contender and I hope to be able to get another made up in the Black linen that I purchased from Franklins last week.

“No Fashion Fabric & Pattern Purchases in 2017” – That plan didn’t last long!

I said in a previous post that I wanted to start using up my stash and to that end I would not be buying any new fashion fabric or patterns. Well that plan has gone bust! Today I wore one of my standard dresses with the full circle skirt. As the weather was cold and wet I needed to have a coat. The only long length coat that I possess is a cashmere and wool blend which would be too slim-fitting to wear over the dress. I had a little think – what I need is a coat with a similar full circle (or near about) skirt that is made in a fabric that is not too hot, not too cold and not too heavy or too light. I need to make my own.

I visited Fabricland in Salisbury and having checked the pattern books found Butterick 6143 which is exactly what I need.

pattern envelope

line drawing

I checked out comments and reviews on the Pattern Review website and decided to “go for it”!

I purchased 4 metres of a Black embroidered wool blend fabric, 4 metres of Vilene 410, 4 metres of Bright Cerise Pink lining and 1 metre of Black background Liquorice Allsorts print to make the contrast piping.


I have a couple of more urgent projects to complete but am hoping that I can get started on my new coat within the next two weeks. Watch this space!

Meantime, here is a picture of my “Sewing Supervisor” aka “JAZZ” my cat. She loves to keep me company when I am busy stitching. Sometimes she watches from her station on the ironing board and others she likes to sit on my lap as I machine stitch the fabrics.

the supervisor

Sewing Plans for Spring 2017

My New Year’s Resolution – STOP buying patterns and fabric! Well I realise that I won’t be able to last an entire year without buying any fabric especially as I know that I will need to stock up on things like fusible interfacing, wadding, anti-static lining etc. But, I do need to start using up some of my stash of fabulous fabrics. In anticipation of the moratorium on fabric buying I did indulge on one of the last days of 2016 and purchase some SALE fabrics from New Threads Quilt Shop.

cat prints by michael miller

This first selection of cat prints are by Michael Miller, a favourite designer. I bought 2 metres of the White background to use as linings for bags, 1 metre each of the Red and Black background prints. I have already started work on a medium-sized Maggie bag using the Black background yardage which I will combine with some of the Black corduroy in my stash. The Red background is earmarked for a Sew Sturdy Organiser bag as designed by Annie Unrein so stand by for a mammoth quilting session. I plan to make a range of accessories in red-printed fabrics to go with my latest Brother (R) sewing machine. The organiser will be the piece de resistance!


I bought the last of this Burgundy background Chrysanthemum printed Cotton Poplin. There are a good 4 metres of fabric, plenty to make my TNT Bettina dress with full circular skirt. I will probably make the lined cap sleeves as this print is ideal to wear with a fantastic cable patterned cardigan that a good friend knitted for me last year.

mystic breeze by balson-hercules group

Again, I bought the last of this printed cotton, “Mystic Breeze” by the Balson-Hercules Group. There is enough fabric to make a 3/4 length sleeved blouse.

Reviewing just some of the purchases from 2016 that never got made up I have a length of beautiful wool blend Green-based jewel-coloured tapestry-type fabric in an Aztec-style weave that I bought from SEW OVER IT. Unfortunately, I mis-read the pricing thinking it  was per metre when it was per half-metre. I ordered 3 so have ended up with just 1.5metres x 152 cms wide. I will have to check through my patterns to find a short length coat or long-line jacket to make up this fabric – ready for the Spring.  The colour is a little more Emerald than shows in this picture below but you get the idea.

aztec tapestry wool

Also on reviewing my “recent purchases” stash I came across these two lengths that are calling to be made up. First a pretty mid-Blue floral-printed chambray/light denim fabric that I think I bought from M Rosenberg & Son when visiting the Quilt Show at Sandown Park. There is sufficient to make a button through dress to replace an ancient M&S dress that I bought about 20 years ago and is really  ready for the “cut up and recycle” bin.

floral print chambray

The second length is a very stretchy textured polyester jersey. Floral print again on a Dark Navy background. Although the fabric is very wide it is not over long but should be sufficient to make a similar tunic top to the Sparkly Sequinned Stars jersey that I made for New Year’s Eve. Whilst the overlocker is still threaded up with 4 Black threads there is a good chance that this top will be sewn sooner rather than later.

floral textured jersey

So that’s it for now. This selection of fabric is just the tip of the iceberg from my stash. Here’s hoping that I will be able to convert the quantity into quality garments.

Good weather = gardening!

I notice that it is sometime since I last posted on my blog. What can I say? I have been busy. With all the lovely Spring weather we have been enjoying I have been out and about, mostly gardening but also I have done just a little sewing.

On 30th April I tutored the workshop for a Kimono-style jacket using Simplicity 1318.


I had just one student, Sue, who received one-to-one tuition. We had a most enjoyable day and by the end there was an almost completed jacket made from some lovely batik printed cotton.


1st May saw me in my sewing room where I used some old pieces of ironing board covers to make a new ironing pad. I used two rectangles of the best parts of the covers which I stitched together. I then applied a fat quarter of 100% cotton print to one side and overlocked the entire outside edge. This pad is quite substantial and plenty thick enough to place on a work bench at the sewing workshops. To add to the ironing/pressing “accessories”, I made a new tailors’ ham. I downloaded the pattern from the internet using plain White 100% cotton (from an old sheet) and polyester toy filling. I have printed out the instructions and pattern so that I can pass on to students should they want to make their own. A tailors’ ham is so useful, especially in dressmaking and tailoring when pressing small and/or curved/shaped fabric. I would not be without mine.

Kimono Jacket – Simplicity 1318


I shall be tutoring a workshop for this very”on trend” kimono-style jacket on Saturday 30th April, 2016, so this week had to make a sample.

The suggested fabrics on the pattern envelope are silky lightweight woven fabrics with drape such as batiks, charmeuse, cotton types, crepe de chine, double georgette, linen types, silky types and for view C also border prints. For a first make of this pattern I would suggest that one avoids fabric with too much drape and silkiness.

I used two different prints of fabulous linen blend fabric from New Threads, Weyhill Fairground to make view B in a size L which is equivalent to 18-20. The drape on the fabric was just right and I hope that my students may choose something similar.

As the garment is very loose-fitting this time I did not pre-wash the fabric. There will be no problem if the jacket should happen to shrink when first laundered.

The jacket has only 3 main pieces, a back, two fronts and two sleeves. Additionally there is a back neck band & facing, sleeve hem bands and two front bands & facings. I cut the main pieces from the Red print, the facings and bands were cut from the contrast Beige fabric.

I recently re-visited the Hong Kong seam finishing method (the wraparound skirt) and as the jacket is unlined decided to repeat this technique for all the seam allowances plus the hem. It took 4 packs of Light Sage Green bias binding and quite a long time to complete this aspect of the construction but I feel that it was worth it. However, as this method does add considerably to the construction time, I will not be repeating it to the students on Saturday. Most of the seams can be finished with over-locking or zig-zag and for those that are a little more confident they can use French seams to enclose the raw edges.

Apart from the Hong Kong seam finishing the most time-consuming part of the construction was the application of the neck bands and facings. The stitching of a convex curve to a concave curve takes a little time and manipulation so that is something that I will be concentrating on in my tutorial.

Although a kimono-style jacket is not within my usual style profile I think that I will enjoy wearing the jacket with denim jeans and a shell top.


Simplicity 1318 Front View B                                        Back View B


Close Up of Hong Kong Hem & Seam finish

Longline Sleeveless Coat – Kwik Sew K3977 versions 1&2

kwik sew 3977

Whenever possible I enjoy making Christmas gifts for my friends and relations. This year has been a slow start in the preparation but now I have got going.

I have seen lots of sleeveless Vests/coats on the internet and having browsed through the pattern books came across Kwik Sew K3477 which looked very promising. Would it really be a quick sew?

Having made two, yes TWO, versions in approximately three hours I can confirm that the project is definitely a Kwik Sew!

For the first version I used a Black wool mix tweed fabric that had been donated by a friend. Having noted that the seam allowances were a mere ¼ inch I cut out the Large size and added ½ inch at the side seams so that I could make faux flat fell seams. The remaining seams were sewn with the overlocker and all outside edges also finished with the overlocker. I omitted the pockets as I wanted these vests to be really streamlined.

The second version was cut from some bold Black,Grey and White “tartan” wool blend that I purchased on Saturday from Fabricland’s Salisbury branch. Pattern matching at the side seams was straightforward and having already made the first vest, this second one also stitched up really FAST!

So that is two Christmas gifts made, now on to the other dozen!

Fully-Lined Wool Waistcoat – McCalls 2797 (hacked!)

mccalls 2797 pattern envelope highlighted

This pattern dates back to the early 2000’s and I have made it up in blouse form many times. It is also the basic blouse pattern for which I draft new collars – mostly using the shawl collar from McCalls 6438 which I have featured elsewhere on my blog. As you can see from the above photo of the pattern envelope it really is well-used and I have therefore ordered a new copy from

Having completed the Vogue 9096 coat I had a great deal of fabric remaining and so decided to make a waistcoat using view C of the McCalls 2797 pattern. This time I would sew the garment with the “right” side facing out, i.e., the “spots”. I would use a contrast Black Satin from my stash for the shawl collar and line with some of the anti-static lining purchased from New Threads, Weyhill Fair.

I re-drafted the collar/facing and also the front pattern pieces to accommodate a lining. Utilising as many of the odd-shaped remnants as possible (easier when the garment has princess seamlines and is panelled) but at the same time taking care to match the weave pattern of spots, I cut out the wool fabric for the waistcoat. I used Vilene 401 weft insertion fusible interfacing for the collar/facing and also across the back bodice as this is my “go to” method for speed tailoring.

The waistcoat went together really easily and quickly, so quickly infact that I fitted and stitched the side seams before remembering that as the waistcoat was to be lined I should have left them open! I pressed on with lining the garment by stitching the outer and lining together all around the outer edge. I was then left with the raw edges of the armholes in the wool fabric and the lining. I stay stitched both fabrics 5/8 inch from the raw edge, clipped the curves and then tacked them together by hand.

To finish the garment I used my trusty twin-needle to top stitch around the entire waistcoat. I started at the centre back hem, along and up the front bodice then stopped at the roll line of the collar. I switched the side from which I was sewing and stitched around the shawl collar to the other roll line before switching sides again to finish the other bodice front around to the centre back hem. I then twin-needle top-stitched the armholes to complete the waistcoat.

As I am in the process of losing some weight prior to surgery, I shall leave the buttons and buttonholes until later, meantime I am wearing the waistcoat “edge-to-edge” style.


mccalls 2797 waistcoat 01

mccalls 2797 waistcoat 02 reverse

There is still some fabric left from these two projects – sufficient to make another Cross Body Bag!

comments from Karen:

Subject: fab waistcoat
I love that shawl collar waistcoat! Guess who will have to buy the pattern!


Vogue V9096 Wool Jacket


Vogue 9096 comp

When the Vogue patterns were on sale recently I fell for this pattern of a raglan sleeved loose-fitting coat. I had some beautiful pure wool in my stash that had been donated by a friend a few years ago and I thought that it would be ideal for the garment. I decided to make view C but without the strong contrasting right front. The fabric is labelled “Spots” but my husband and and I both preferred the “wrong” side which is checks so that is the side that I decided to use.

I cut out the Large size which is for a 16-18 as in the past I have found Vogue patterns tend to come up on the large side and as I have narrow shoulders compared to the rest of me I did not want to be swamped by the coat. I took care to match the checks as it is a particular “foible” of mine that it is most important to match the design when using checks. As I thought the sharp corner on the hem edge of the left front was jarring, (you can carry asymetry too far) I curved it to match the curve on the right front.

Although it is not included in the instructions, I used Weft Insertion Vilene ref no 401 fusible interfacing on all the pieces of wool fabric. This gives substance to the garment, a longer “life expectancy” and helps to provide a professional finish.

The lining is a copy of the fashion fabric pattern pieces and the jacket is then lined edge-to-edge. This does not provide any room for ease in the lining such as a pleat at the centre back. As I believe that I will be wearing the jacket sometimes whilst driving it is essential to provide for movement in the shoulder, upper back and arms. When cutting out the lining fabric I therefore incorporated a pleat in the centre back and also in the length of the sleeves.

Like Goldilocks and the three bears, to add some structure and definition to the edge-to-edge finishing I auditioned some piping from my stash. First I tried some “thick” piping covered in Black Satin, that was too bulky so I removed the piping cord to give a flat bias trim. Still not right. Then I tried ready-made narrow piping in Rusty Red, better, but the colour was not a sufficiently good match. Finally, I covered the ready-made piping with the Black Satin bias – just right. I made the piping and basted to the entire outside edge of the coat. Around the neckline/collar, down one front, across the back hemline and up the other front before re-joining at the centre back of the collar.

I stitched the lining together with the adaptations mentioned above and then attached to the jacket in accordance to the instructions, leaving a gap in the back hemline to facilitate turning through to the right side. I tried another fitting with the raglan shoulder pads installed and checked the length of the sleeves. I turned up a 2 inch hem on the wool fabric and having reduced the sleeve linings by 2 inches. A big sigh! All along whilst sewing the jacket I had thought that the shaping of the shoulders might be a problem and I was right. The silhouette was very 80’s – talk about power dressing – I looked like and American football player!

There was nothing for it but to make an alteration! Those of you that know me also know that I detest alterations and having to make one on a garment that was so near completion is a real pain. I unstitched the hem lining and removed the shoulder pad, restitched a new shoulder seam by shaving off approximately ¾ inch before returning to the original seamline. Now there was no need for a shoulder pad to fill out the excess fabric and the jacket silhouette though no perfect was more in proportion rather than an upside down triangle.

A final press, stitched the hem on the sleeves, closed the gap in the centre back hemline where I had turned the coat through and the garment was completed. At present, like the pattern there is no closure but that may well change at some stage in the future.


Vogue 9096 completed