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Easy Spring Jacket

Sewing basic Tabula Rasa Jackets (TRJ) in spring is a logical choice since they are often made with unlined cotton.  Watch this new rose cotton TRJ come together.  It will be a great introduction if you are just beginning to sew TRJ’s and a little refresher with a surprise near the end for seasoned Fit for Art sewists.

All the basic jacket elements

Choose Fabric

This jacket’s driver was my desire to use the rose-colored cotton lawn.  The print is so interesting: Polynesian postage stamps with images of Gauguin paintings.   Here are a few fabric combinations I considered.  My stash offered lots of possibilities.

Ultimately, I decided on the postage stamps for the jacket body, the plaid for the sides and the liberty floral for the sleeves and band.

Once I began cutting, it became apparent that the lawn pieces were too light weight for the basic jacket I planned to make.  Since I have no time constraints these days, I underlined all the jacket pieces with another layer of cotton using decorative kantha stitching.  That is a story for another post, but enjoy the results as I construct the jacket.

Make the Jacket Body

Following along the basic directions, first sew the darts and the shoulder seams.  Press the darts carefully and press the shoulder seams open.  I like to clean finish the seam allowances with my 3 thread overlock on the serger.

I have two darts in each front and two in the back neck for my round back.

Next, construct the side units.  Before inserting them in the body I made and attached flat piping.  The piping directions are on page 14 and 15 of the basic TRJ direction booklet.  See last weeks post for step by step directions on inserting the sides to construct the jacket.  If you are not sure of the fit, baste in the sides. At this point you can easily make fitting adjustments.

Try on the Jacket

It is really helpful to put on the partly built jacket and test the fit now.  As you see from my bad selfie, I was pleased with the fit.

Try it on!

The jacket fronts should just touch in front and the hem should hang evenly all around. Decide on the length now because the hems are next.

Hem the Jacket

Hem the jacket by turning up the hem and pinning it in place all around the jacket.  Press the hem, trim away any extra fabric and clean finish the raw edge.  Stitch the hem in place by hand or on the machine.  I used one row of machine stitching to anchor this hem since this casual jacket will be machine washed.  Hem the sleeves using the same method you hem the jacket.

Add the Kimono Band

The straight of grain band is 2” wide finished, a good width to support the wooden buttons I chose for the closure.  The band pieces were fused with interfacing (Soft Stretch), the center back seam stitched and the band was pressed in half.

Because I cut out the band along the selvage, it was the raw edge side of the band I pinned around the jacket.  (After some reflection, I decided to redesign the band with inseam button holes.  Visit Instagram or Facebook to see these steps up close.)

Finish the Band

Here is a quick look at the process for cleanly finishing the band edges around the hem.  Your iron is your friend as you press the band finish in place first along the length and then along the band’s width.

To anchor the pressed finish, reverse fold the band, pin then machine stitch along the pressed line, and trim away any extra length.  Use the band section you trimmed away to test your buttonholes.

Press and pin the selvage edge to the underside of the jacket.  If you work from the right side, it is easy to stitch in the ditch to hold the band’s edges to the jacket.  For a more lovely finish, turn under the inside edge of the band and hand stitch it into place.

Final Flourishes

Here we veer off the path of a basic jacket, though none of these additions is difficult.  I added some kantha topstitching to anchor the inseam buttonholes, band, hem, and sleeve finishes.  The button on each sleeve is surrounded by a button frame that was also kantha stitched in place.  There is an interior pocket too, nestled into the left front during the underlining process.  Both the interior pockets and the inseam buttonhole directions are found in the Band Variations and Pockets pattern.

I also made a mask with the leftover fabric.  Just seemed timely and my adjusted Pam Damour pattern was close at hand.  These are colors I wear all spring, so the mask can help keep me safe when I go into the world for groceries.

Holding my mask, a sort of security blanket.

Stay well and sew happy!  RAE

Want to read more?  These archived posts are also about basic jackets:  The Tabula Rasa Jacket Journey, Colorful Summer Jacket, Sewing Basic Jackets, Jacket Collaboration and Wearable Mock Ups.







2 thoughts on “Easy Spring Jacket

  1. Beautiful choice of colors and fabrics for a testament that spring really will soon arrive! I have a jacket started and put it aside to sew masks and now am inspired to sew for me again! Enjoy the down time as life will soon normalize. Happy spring!

    1. We have had several spring like days here in Baltimore that give us hope. May we normalize soon. RAE

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