Meg Makes a Jacket, the Finale

Pattern: Simplicity's Misses' Sportswear #2455
Fabric: 2 yds wool + acetate lining
Cost: $45

Well I didn't mean to drag these jacket posts out so long, but as you can tell this was a rather big project for me! I am very pleased with the final product, and this past weekend it accompanied me to a wedding in Alaska. It is so nice to have a classic, goes-with-anything jacket in my wardrobe that I can wear for more formal occasions, yet still fits my style.

This last part of the project I finished on my own. After about 6 hours of sewing with Beth, I was exhausted and a bit cross-eyed, not to mention starting to make mistakes! It was amazing to soak all the information in though, and I managed to jot down a few more tips before heading home to attach the sleeves and sew on the lining.

First, she opened up a jacket she had and showed me how to support the shoulder with a bias strip of fabric sewn within the seam allowance. Without using an actual shoulder pad, this extra step gives the jacket a bit more support where needed.

Then it was time to do the lining. I may have promised Beth that I would hand sew in the lining, but once I got home all thoughts of that went out the window. Truth be told, I actually don't mind leaving many of my things unlined, so I reasoned that practicing bagging the lining could be just as educational as putting one in by hand. Right?!

The jacket pattern we used does not include instructions for a lining, so I did some internet research and followed Beth's advice for drafting my own. I like Tasia's (of Sewaholic) tutorial on drafting a lining, but the one that won over was the Grainline tutorial, as I am extremely visual and a sucker for good graphics. The only hiccup I ran into with hers, however, is that the instructions are meant for patterns with facings, so I actually needed to draft my lining shorter, not longer, than the pattern pieces. Other than that, though, both tutorials provide helpful instructions for making a successful lining that allows for ease of movement.

Here is the inside of Beth's jacket, where she drafted her lining with a single pleat that I think looks elegant and allows for ease of movement. I ended up doing an inverted pleat, which didn't hang as well for me.

After everything is inserted, Beth also recommended tacking the lining down to the jacket at the top of the sleeve. This helps prevent the lining from sliding around too much. Unfortunately, I forgot the important detail that this should be done at the top and not the underarm. By tacking the underarm, you restrict movement, and I believe that's why you see a few creases around the under arm in the picture of my jacket at the top of the post. I will fix and report back. Here is the proper way, tacking it at the shoulder seam:

These last few steps (attaching the sleeves, inserting the lining) were done over the course of about a month. While Beth and I made rapid progress in her sewing studio, I found that it was hard to set aside time for a such a Big Project. Rather than sewing on the weeknights, I felt I had to wait to work on it until I had the proper concentration, like a long block of time on the weekend. This definitely slowed me down, and left me appreciating both the Big and Little projects that I do. The final jacket took another month or two to complete, but the end project was very worth it.

Overall, the experience of sewing with a teacher and role model like Beth was incredibly rewarding. She was so patient and non-judgmental, and I can't believe how many tricks that woman has up her (handmade) sleeve! I have a feeling I just scratched the surface with this project. If you have the chance of pushing your skills with a sewing teacher I highly recommend it, or even a visit to Beth herself if you live in the Bay Area or are planning a visit. Many women go to her for fitting help, but I could see hiring her for help if I ever made a Big White Dress or other important project. And I still need to pick her brain about collared shirts, because she said she had some tips!

After this immense brain exercise though, I think I'll cosy up with some 2-hour t-shirt patterns for a bit to recover. And hopefully I'll be back soon with a post about the dress that you can glimpse in the above photos.


  1. Thank you so much to you and Beth for these posts. The information was fantastic and your jacket is smokin'! I've been afraid of jackets and now maybe I feel I can tackle one.

  2. Awesome. The end result is fabulous and I loved reading about the process. Well done!

  3. It's awesome Meg! Very inspirational (and very well done!)
    You've made me feel a horrible pull between desperately wanting to finish the jackets I started with Beth before my wedding and my complete aversion to touching wool when it's 90F here!

  4. Fantastic! Love the details. With the bias strip in the shoulder, did you sew it within the top armscye - like a sleeve head? Pressed towards the sleeve? I can't quite see from the photos and would love to know more about this!

    1. Yes, a sleeve head! Some tutorials have you draft a curved one, but Beth had me use lambswool cut on the bias.

  5. I'm so jealous! But seriously, what a wonderful blessing to have a chance to learn from someone as talented as Beth. And, your jacket shows it - stunning!

  6. Oh my! This is one juicy jacket!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Beautiful jacket! Great idea to have an instructor help you, I always love expanding my sewing knowledge and getting one on one help.

  8. Gorgeous jacket- and the hard work definitely paid off, it looks fantastic on you! It's always so nice to finish a big project like that and look back at what you learned!

  9. Wow! What a fun process! Beth is so knowledgeable- what a great experience to learn from her! The jacket looks great!

  10. What a great collaboration, you and Beth. Your jacket is absolutely beautiful.

  11. Great job on adding a staple jacket to your collection. I'm also jealous that you can learn side by side with Beth.

  12. What a great jacket! Well done, both teacher and student:)!


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