Jean Jacket III

Last week I began teaching a class at Sew With Vision on the Jean Jacket (V1036 – Sandra Betzina, Today’s Fit).

In our first class we spent time tracing the pattern pieces [HINT: rough cut each complete piece in all sizes, with a highlighter mark the size corresponding to your largest measurement, tape the rough cut piece to your cutting surface, place tracing paper (I find the paper used in the doctor’s office for examining tables excellent – crisp and sturdy) over pattern and tape corners (to prevent paper moving while you’re tracing), then trace the size you’ve marked, including all markings. In another highlighter colour, trace those areas of the pattern which correspond to your smaller measurements. With a pencil use a French curve to link the different sizes as smoothly as you can]. Then cut out the traced pattern pieces (return the original pieces to the envelope uncut!).

Next we joined the traced paper pieces together – pinning on seam allowances – and checked the fit. We made adjustments wherever they were needed (shoulder, princess seams, side seams). We marked the pinned adjustments on the paper pieces, and retraced the pattern pieces if the adjustments were substantial.

We spent the afternoon practicing sewing technique – sewing curves (I’d precut the lower sleeve elements of the jacket which has sharply rounded curves to sew), edge stitching (using a narrow-edge foot), and top stitching – in preparation for constructing the jacket itself. (The photo below shows a finished sleeve bottom and collar for my jean jacket.)


Homework for the second class: cut out fronts, backs, collar, front pocket, front facing, front side lining, back lining, back side lining, and back yoke. My instructions were to leave the sleeves uncut until we had a chance to fit the jacket body. If we need to make substantial adjustments to the shoulders the sleeve pattern will need to be modified…

Sew the fronts, the backs (without edge/top stitching so that size adjustments can be made easily). Because I know my jacket fits (having already made two), I did the edge and top stitching as I went along.



Then I made shoulder pads using a technique I found in The Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, 1979, pp: 376-377.


Because the two outside front pockets are decorative (not useful) I want the gals to learn how to construct a hidden zippered front pocket which gets inserted between the front facing/front side lining panels. I did one side, and set up the second. I prepared instructions for the gals to follow since this pocket is not included in the original pattern.


I also shared a great article from Threads MagazineArmani Jackets: The Inside Story which shows in detail the internal construction of an Armani jacket.  (Click here for the original link to the article online.)

Here are some useful links for sewing techniques used in constructing this jacket:

Sewing Curves

Top Stitching


Richard The Thread (this is the only source I could find for ice wool/woven lambswool for sleeve headers – by far the best material for this job – expensive, but it shapes wonderfully well and a yard will last 30 years!)

I’ll share more as we continue building our jean jackets over the next three weeks.


Last year I was lucky if I got one new bloom a day – this hibiscus has been prolific! I’m getting 3-5 flowers every day. This plant could use a good home for the winter – I can’t bring it in because I don’t want to introduce outdoor insects to my indoor plants!

Socks #350+

I’ve run out of titles for new pairs of socks. Finished this pair yesterday.

These have gone into the growing pile of finished socks – likely Christmas presents!

The pair I started last evening using leftovers may, however, end up in my sock drawer.

My current goal is to use up the variegated leftovers in my yarn basket (the leftover solids are always useful to have around, lots of those small balls will get used up in the next grouping of socks). I am planning not to buy more sock yarn until that basket of variegated leftovers is empty!

New Knitting Bag

I’m going to Peru in October on a “textile” trip – to visit with weavers, tapestry makers, embroiderers… artisans who create a wide range of textile related art works.

My contact person – Sasha – lives in Victoria. She’s not going on the trip to Peru this fall and she asked me as a fellow Canadian if I would return some embroidered “necklaces” to the women who created them. Of course I agreed to do that. So she sent me the pieces she wants returned.


I opened the box when it arrived just to see what I was bringing with me. While I would never wear something like this, I was taken by the very fine embroidery and crochet and wanted to do something with one of the pieces. The stitching in the embroidery is splendid and the tension in the crochet is perfect!

Too big and bulky for a t-Shirt, same for the back of a jacket. I don’t sew or collect pillows. So I decided to make a new knitting bag incorporating one of these necklaces into the design.

Yesterday I bought a small amount of black fabric (along with some black broadcloth for the lining) and this morning I whipped up the bag:


I’m not sure how the artisan who made the piece will feel about what I’ve done with her work – but my knitting bag is something I use just about every day and I will stop to enjoy it each time I take my knitting out and put it in!

Magic Squares Quilt

Having just finished the half square triangles quilt I wanted to link to the “magic squares” quilts – I did three of them but it seems I only wrote about one of them. So I thought it would be interesting to juxtapose all three of those quilts.

Here’s the first:

magic squares 1 front

This quilt was made from leftover jellyroll strips (I had a collection in shades of blue/turquoise and rust/gold/beige)- sewed 4 strips together not paying much attention to the colours I was picking up as I went along, cut the panels into 8 1/2″ blocks, put two blocks right sides together (strips at right angles), sewed around the outside, cut along the two diagonals – resulting blocks were 4 1/2″. I arranged them on the diagonal being careful to alternate the orientation of the blocks to get both pinwheels and squares. Added background triangles to square off the edges and two borders – a narrow one and a wider one.

The quilt back was the same fabric used for the background on the front with an added strip created from leftover blocks so the back would be wide enough.

magic squares 1 back

While I was finishing this quilt I could see quite a few other possibilities for layout and contrast so I did a second quilt using the same technique – cutting 2 1/2″ strips from a “scrap bag” I’d bought from Keepsake Quilting (each scrap bag contains twelve 9″ width of fabric strips in complementary fabrics).

Here’s the second:
magic squares 2 front

In this quilt the fabrics are subdued, all in a single pallet, with two fabrics of a bolder pattern giving some contrast. This time, I stitched the 4 1/2″ blocks on the straight which gave quite a different overall effect.

magic squares 2 backOn the back, in addition to the pieced strip, I added a narrow contrast strip just to create a bit more definition on that side.

Here’s the third:

magic squares 3 front

This quilt was made from another “scrap bag” – the fabrics this time were in shades of rust, brown and beige (I did have to swap out a couple of the fabrics from the scrap bag for something else in my stash that coordinated better with the set). Again, I arranged the 4 1/2″ blocks in straight rows (9 blocks in a row) taking care to stagger the resulting larger blocks, which formed squares, in rows that created a noticeable diagonal – you can see that in the photo if you follow the orange squares from the middle left to the bottom.

To make the quilt the final size I wanted I added a narrow border of the backing fabric, and a wider border pieced from the fabrics used in the blocks.magic squares 3 backThe back consisted of a wide strip created from leftover blocks, a 1″ sashing of backing fabric on each side and two contrasting stripes. The way in which the blocks were constructed is obscured by the final layout – so a simple technique produced a rather complex design!

I can think of many more possibilities with this “magic squares” technique – just depends on the range of colours used for the strips and the layout of the resulting blocks. I haven’t tried it, but I wonder what the design would be like if instead of cutting along the diagonal, after sewing two 8 1/2″ blocks together, I cut unequal blocks on the horizontal and vertical?

I need to look at the jellyrolls I have and think about what I might do with them.