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Toile Spring Jacket – Details!

This week we are going to take a closer look at some of the construction details in my Toile Spring Jacket including the back pleat, inseam pockets, cuffs, hood, and lining.  You can read more about the original fabric and design decisions in the previous post Toile Spring Jacket – Decisions.

Back Pleat

I love the look of the back pleat detail included in Rain or Shine Variations for the Tabula Rasa Jacket!  Functionally, the pleat creates ease in the back of an overcoat or jacket.  The yoke and pleat combo is also a great way to add a design element to the back of a garment, such as on this Pleated Linen Shirt and Butterscotch Wool Coat.  In the Rain or Shine instruction book, we direct you to split the jacket back pattern into a yoke and lower back portion; the lower back is cut in one piece and folded to create the pleat. 

For the Spring Toile Coat, I wanted to repeat the secondary toile fabric on the inside of the pleat to brighten up the back. After doing the calculations for a 4″ wide pleat, I cut my lower back in 3 sections — the inner pleat with a sweet cherub in the center and blue toile to either side.  The seams became the inner fold of the pleat.  Here you can see the 3 pieces sewn together and then the pleat basted into place.  After basting the piping onto the lower back, the yoke was added to finish the jacket back.

See another sample of a contrast inner pleat in Rae’s jacket It’s a Spectacle.

Inseam Pockets

Any worthwhile coat must have pockets, so naturally I wanted to include inseam pockets in my Spring Toile Jacket.  Instructions for inserting a typical inseam pocket into the front side seams of a Tabula Rasa Jacket are included in both our Pocket Variation and Rain or Shine Variation patterns.  I was unsure, however, how to also include the planned side seam piping in the pocket construction. 

Many thanks to Mary, a member of our Fit for Art community who had done this recently herself and shared her solution with me.  The only significant difference is that the piping had to be basted to the front side seams before attaching a pocket to the right and left jacket fronts.  Pocket assembly then continued as directed.  The resulting pocket opening is quite elegant, as can be seen here!

Finally, to keep the pockets from turning toward the back of the jacket, I hand tacked the rounded end of each pocket bag to the front facing in two places.

Turn Back Cuffs

One more place to feature those sweet cherub faces was created by adding turn back cuffs to the Spring Toile Jacket.  Directions for making a turn back cuff are included in our very first Tabula Rasa Jacket variation pattern, Sleeve & Cuff Variations.  Accordingly, I cut the jacket sleeves from the blue toile with extra length and fussy cut a 5” deep cuff from the secondary fabric.  Piping was inserted into the seam joining the cuff to sleeve.  The raw edge of the cuff, finished with a serger, is hidden under the sleeve lining.  See the cherubs peeking out at the wrist!

Detachable Hood

I chose to make the hood for the Spring Toile Jacket detachable, noting that 2 layers of the upholstery weight fabric would be heavy and figuring I would not want to wear it all the time.  Due to the directional motifs in the fabrics, both the hood brim and hood brim lining were cut in two pieces, joining them at a center seam before inserting the hood crown. 

While the button loops can be created from plain elastic cord, Rae found me an elastic loop bridal trim to try.  I began by securely stitching the trim just inside the seam line along the hood base.  The loops that wouldn’t be needed were then hand tacked out of the way, leaving just six for buttoning. I sewed the hood lining to the hood just along the neckline seam so I could easily make adjustments to ensure the trim was covered but none of the loops that needed to be free were caught in the stitching.  After that seam was perfected and seam allowances trimmed, I finished the detachable hood according to the Rain or Shine Variation instructions.

I also raided Rae’s extensive stash of buttons to find these cute little square buttons that just fit the tiny loops.


I had not originally planned to line my jacket, but in the process of trying it on as I sewed, I realized I would be happier with a lining.  Because the facings were already prepared for the jacket, I “retrofitted” them by adding front and lower back linings, then inserting a sleeve and side panel lining unit. Directions for lining a Rain or Shine Jacket are included in the instruction book – just be sure to read through them before starting as the lining does affect the order of construction.

One lesson learned – it would have been easier to stitch the jump of the lining to the hem if I had reversed the direction of the pleat in the lining. However, it’s been worth the trouble as lining has made the jacket easier to pull on and off and has added warmth.

What kind of sewing challenges are you taking on this Spring? We would love to read about them posted to Instagram or Facebook with our hashtags!

Happy Sewing, Carrie

3 thoughts on “Toile Spring Jacket – Details!

  1. Great job Carrie! Your pockets are perfect and I am so pleased to have helped a bit. Seeing the back pleat makes me want to make another TRJ with the pleat. Keep sharing the inspiring works!

    And, please describe in more detail the type of piping you used!

  2. Loved this post and the previous one about the design process. This project had both artistic and technical challenges. Learned much from the two posts. Thank you.

    1. Thanks! We’d love to see your projects.

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