Buckle up folks this is gonna be a loooong post.
I love a long project, in some ways I prefer them to the quick-knock-it-out-in-an-hour project. I tend to rush the quick projects and really take my time on the longer ones like coats and jeans. Plus the small steps means it’s easy to stop and take breaks. I also find it really addictive because all those small steps make you feel like you’ve accomplished a lot in a small space of time.
As usual I was inspired by Instagram, I’d seen a few long line blazers/coatigans which I knew would fill a gap in my work wardrobe. I only have one blazer for work which we’re required to wear and it’s blue which doesn’t go with everything in my wardrobe! I also figured it would fill the gap of – it’s not cold enough for a coat but you definitely need a jacket and your Kelly anorak isn’t smart enough.
Going through the Joe Ready To Sew tag I saw it comes up quite oversized. As usual I fit into 3 different sizes -34/36/38 but instead of grading up to a 38 at the hips I kept it to a 36 as I wanted it to fit but not feel like I was swimming in it/wearing my dads borrowed jacket.
The collar comes in two sizes – tiny or huge so I went for something in between for a more normal collar size. I can’t wait to see what it looks like post partum!
Annoyingly the sleeves come up too short on me, I know I know I should’ve done a muslin womp womp. The shell sleeves are fine but the lining is shorter therefore pulling up the sleeve and leaving a nice facing. I was drawn to way the model wears the jacket with the sleeve slightly rolled up however I either have really long arms or she has really short arms cause if I did that they’d be 3/4 length! I have this problem with all my coats (except the Cascade duffle) and really need to start adding length to the sleeve.
One quick tip when making a project like this – label your pattern pieces or keep them attached to the paper piece as it’s easy to lose track. Also I had to refer back to the diagram in the instructions as my poor pregnancy brain mixed up a couple of lining/outer pattern pieces. Also if you hate cutting like me you can cut your outer pieces, sew those together and then cut out the lining and save your back.
I’d also recommend using tailors tacks to mark notches especially for the collar/welt pockets. I’m terrible for using notches and just put pins in the appropriate places but I’d make my life a whole lot easier if I just put a bit of extra time into prepping before sewing.
Oh and I’d recommend a steam clapper if you’re sewing a jacket/coat, they’re not expensive and make a massive difference to your seams. Especially wool as it can be quite bouncy, the clapper helps the seam to lie flat.
When setting the sleeves in you can quarter the fabric and ease it in rather than gathering the sleeve head. I also managed to match the princess seams up front and back – it was pretty hairy at times and I’m really surprised I didn’t get any puckers! Sewing over pins (which I don’t usually do) really helps because it keeps the fabric from shifting around.
The outer fabric came from Fabworks and definitely has some wool in it as it stinks when ironed! I was aiming for more of a mid grey but having visited fabworks specifically for some fabric I didn’t want to leave empty handed so it’s a little darker than I would have liked. I’m hoping it makes it more versatile in my wardrobe. The lining was from New Craft House which is no longer available. I know this because when cutting out I’d mistaken a piece for lining instead of outer and thought I didn’t have enough – luckily I managed to eek it out of what was left of the outer and the only piece I couldn’t fit on the lining was the pockets. Make sure you buy the fabric requirements guys! I never do and I had 2m of the wool and 1m of lining. I had actual fumes of fabric left at the end.
The jacket came together really easily. Considering I’d never sewn welt pockets before I had no issue following the instructions and at no point felt lost or had to consult the internet for help. Welt pockets get a bad rap in the sewing community but I didn’t find them difficult although they’re not as precise as I would like I’m pleased with my first attempts.
The collar has an interesting construction, you sew the outer collar to the facing and inner collar to the outer coat and then sew them together. Not how I was expecting to put it together! It works well and it’s less bulky to sew though so trust in the instructions.
Speaking of the instructions there’s also little buttons in the PDF file you can press that take you to a link which gives you more help (should you need it, which I didn’t because I found the instructions really clear and straight forward). Fancy!
I added sleeve head roll and shoulder pads to my sleeves too. I find it easier to hand stitch them in rather than machine and so I catch stitched them to the outer fabric. I don’t find I always need a shoulder pad but the sleeve head roll makes a massive difference to how the sleeve sits! Indie patterns never tell you to do it but I’ve put them in every coat I’ve made (bar Kelly) and I love the slight lift it gives to the sleeve. However it does take some of the ease out of the sleeve and so I removed the shoulder pads. I can cope with slightly too short sleeves but not feeling like I can’t move my arms!
For the lining I overlocked the seams even though as it’s all enclosed it’s not necessary, as other blazers I’ve had have been washed and worn so much that the lining tore.
I’m really impressed with the drafting and finish of the Joe jacket, it’s made me look closer at Ready to Sew as a company and want to sew more of their patterns. It took me a week to construct (with a couple of childfree days) and I really really enjoyed making it. I love getting so involved in a project that it’s all you can think of and can’t wait to carry on sewing.
Plus I already know I’ll get a lot of wear out of this jacket as every time I went out I wanted to wear it! Winner winner.