Notch collar jackets – sources of sewing advice
There are many classic notch collar blazers in high fashion magazines this season.
I last made a notch collar jacket in the early 60s (50 years ago – aargh !!). Many memories of making and wearing it. A Vogue Dior double breasted suit with wide collar. Made in an asymmetric stripe wool. I still remember the stripes matching across the bound buttonholes with amazement and pride. And I chose to use the first non-woven interfacings, which were like cardboard. I suspect I’m never going to recover from my resulting dislike of non-wovens Ah but beautiful beautiful buttons.
That was a work suit. Long before Yves Saint-Laurent made pant suits acceptable for women (no tights/ pantyhose either). For me, a previous sewing and styling lifetime (I didn’t make clothes at all for about 30 years). Goodness, reminds me of the bed-sit I was living in at the time – complete with one-bar electric fire, putting shillings in the meter for hot water, and a handwheel black and gold Singer sewing machine.
Aren’t we lucky with modern standards of living – and the modern free choice of wearing our own style. But I still keep thinking I ‘ought’ to make one of these ‘proper’ jackets as they represent the height of sewing skills, even though I know I would never wear it. That ridiculous requirement has kept me collecting information. So here are some links, in case they’re useful to anyone.
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Patterns with fit guidance
There are innumerable notched collar jacket patterns. I mentioned some in a previous post on classic jackets for work.
There are many different design details in blazers, as I talked about in my post on notch collar styles. And any of these details might affect whether you feel comfortable and happy and at your best. So get to know what works for your shape and personal style. I’ll just mention a few patterns for specific purposes.
If you’d like a pattern with help on fit, there’s :
Palmer-Pletsch McCall’s 6172 (left)
If you’d like pattern pieces for several cup sizes :
“Amazing Fit” pattern with 3 cup sizes Simplicity 2446. (right) (instructions not recommended at Pattern Review.)
Silhouette patterns 4 button jacket, also shoulder princess (no comments at PR).
Or choose any shoulder princess seam style. Add a centre back seam and 1 inch/ 2.5 cm seam allowances to your muslin, to make DIY fitting easier.
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On-line sewing advice – written tutorials
Methods of sewing notched collar jackets range from simple to challenging tailoring. And there are different opinions about the best descriptions of how to do them.
There’s a whole section of Sigrid’s sewing tutorials on jackets.
Here’s another listing of tutorials from Couture et Tricot, with many on jackets.
Ann Rowley has a photo tutorial showing how she made a high quality jacket from a Burda magazine pattern.
Here’s an on-line tutorial on speed tailoring a notched collar and lapel using fusibles.
And here’s an on-line tutorial from Couture et Tricot on giving full support to a collar using specialised interfacings (scroll down for English version).
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P.S. Marie-Christine has suggested 2 other excellent sources of jacket tutorials :
Kathleen Fasanella’s Fashion Incubator site on pattern making and sewing. Jacket tutorials are mainly on linings.
Pattern-Scissors-Cloth, scroll down for a jacket sewalong.
And there’s Kathryn’s Jacket making journey.
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Books, DVDs, on-line videos
Collars aren’t all there is to consider with high-end jacket making skills. There can also be multiple layers of special support structures for roll line, shoulders and armholes, sleeve head, and vents, as well as techniques for quality buttonholes and pockets.
One way of sorting out all the different techniques is to say there are three levels of difficulty. From fusibles to multiple layers of hand sewn speciality supports. These 3 levels are described in a popular book :
Tailoring : the classic guide.
There’s the Palmer-Alto Jackets for Real People book and DVD on speed tailoring.
Peggy Sagers’ DVD Factory Tips and Techniques 1 : Making Blazers also shows quick and easy techniques. (The only jacket DVD I’ve watched. Mixed enthusiasm about recommending it as there’s no menu. But the content is good, if you can bear to go through it making a list of timings so you can re-view it without too much pain. You’d never guess without viewing, but it also has good tips on sewing band collars and fly zips.)
Petite Plus Patterns have a DVD on Constructing the Princess Seamed Blazer.
Demos of sewing and pressing for two levels of difficulty. The instructions are usable with any size pattern.
The Sewing Guru has extensive on-line sew-along videos about two types of jacket making : industrial and tailoring. Use the free sign up to have a good look round – when you sign up you get an e-mail on how to log in. With a PayPal account it’s easy to cancel.
Kenneth King has a Craftsy class on a Carefree fly-front coat.
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Good instructions with the pattern
The simplest blazer patterns involve no more skills than a basic blouse : darts or princess seams, buttons and buttonholes, faced neckline, collar without band, one-piece fitted sleeve without cuff. Such as Butterick 4138, with interfacing only in collar and facing, shoulder pads, 1-piece sleeve, simple or no pockets, and no lining. (Now oop, and just an example of a very simple style, the instructions aren’t special.)
More complex jacket patterns include more support structures, 2-piece sleeves, welt or flap pockets, and lining. These are some patterns which people have recommended for the instructions :
McCall’s 6172 Palmer-Pletsch (left)
Vogue 8333 Claire Shaeffer (right) (2 levels of instructions, for quality RTW and couture).
And these are patterns from independent designers which people recommend for instructions to get a quality tailored result :
Nancy Erickson’s 1945 jacket. (left)
Cecelia Podolak’s Fearless notched collar jacket (right)
As usual with such a wide range of possible techniques, most of us need to experiment to find the methods and results we enjoy best.
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If you need inspiration about choosing and making jackets, there’s the Stitcher’s Guild Jacket a Month sewalong.
That itself was inspired by Gigi Louis’ Year of the Jacket.
There are many people making beautiful jackets who are generous with helping us develop our skills
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Originally published April 2011, patterns and links updated May 2013
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