All I need now are the bellbottoms

Simplicity 6602

Thank you everyone who reassured me about my jacket’s cuteness in the comments to the last post—I know I’ve written before about that horrible sinking feeling mid-project, and I know I’m not alone :).  This time around was a little different because I wasn’t convinced it wasn’t going to fit—I just wasn’t sure it would be flattering on me. I still don’t know that it’ll replace the Springy Little Coat in my heart, but I think it’s a decently cute little jacket anyway. And I do love the finishing.

So hmm, what to cover? The pattern, again, is Simplicity 6602, from 1974.

I decided against the topstitching. It worked well in samples in the middle of the cloth, but as soon as I tried edgestitching it went wonky. I had an insane moment where I considered ripping the cuffs and collar and adding piping, but I resisted (mostly because self-fabric piping would’ve been too bulky and I didn’t think I would be able to match the colour perfectly otherwise. And for whatever reason, I’m picturing tone-on-tone piping for this, not contrast).

Cuffs of Doooooom

The collar went on fine. The cuffs drove me absolutely bonkers. Seriously, I had them on, off, on, off, on a different way… and they’re still not perfect. I’m not sure if they were drafted too narrow or if it’s just my sleeve stretching out with handling, or an artefact of the flared shape of the cuffs, but they were too short for the wrist-diametre of the sleeves. So I narrowed the sleeves rather than re-make the cuffs. In the end they’re all right, although at least one of them has the side that I meant to be inside on the outside. Having ripped it three times at that point, I left it. I didn’t do any turn-of-cloth alterations this time around and I really should have. Mea culpa. I have such a hard time visualizing which side’s going to end up facing out when doing this kind of fold-back cuff. Maybe when I’ve done eight or ten more…

Back view. I think I would probably like a bit more flare in the peplum.

On the up side, I got the tight curves of the cuffs sewn much more smoothly than I usually manage, so I’m kinda stoked about that. I shortened my stitch length and sewed slowly but continuously. At times like this I really wish my machine had a slow setting, but anyway. I also used the trick where you press the seam of the cuff open before turning it, and it really does help the curve turn more smoothly. Who knew? (Yes, I’m bone-headed that way… it seems like there’s a lot of good sewing advice I hear, but then don’t absorb until I’ve learnt it the hard way.)

Hmm, what else? This is officially the best facing/hem finish I’ve ever done, facilitated by the lack of lining and the bound edges of both pieces. The pattern would have you finish the bottom of the facing

Front facing and hem

by tacking by hand, but I did it by machine and turned it up and it worked peachy. I even managed a nearly-invisible hem, again facilitated by the binding. I may just bind all my hems in the future. I did tack the facing in place at the waistband and the shoulder seams. The facing/collar/neck combination is super bulky and doesn’t lay very smoothly despite my best efforts. Possibly using Sherry’s collar technique would’ve helped, but silly me, I followed the pattern instructions. I know, it’s so unlike me. I also think I might’ve benefited from a square-shoulder adjustment this time around—it’s something I’ve often suspected I should need but it hasn’t seemed like a big problem in the past so I haven’t attempted it. It’s not a huge problem here, if only because the collar covers that area, but I think at least some of the wrinkling is probably from that.

Button and snap

There is a single button closure in the front (perfect for using up one of those striking, solitary vintage buttons). I was a little concerned that the top would gape—the pattern illustration shows a nice, close finish right at the bottom of the collar, but there’s no obvious way to achieve this. Well, on arriving at that point in the instructions, all is revealed: or rather, a single large, heavy-duty snap is called for. Fortunately I had picked up a couple thinking I might use one on the Springy Coat (I haven’t yet, the slight gaping doesn’t really bother me while I’m wearing it). I was hoping for clear plastic, but all they had was metal… ah well. It’s more “vintage”, right?

I was SO excited to try out my new buttonholer. One big keyhole button should do the trick perfectly, right?


Psst, kid, wanna buy a seam binding?

The buttonholer did NOT like this stretch corduroy stuff. All my samples bunched and bagged like crazy, with big loops of thread tangling underneath. WTF? Worked fine on other fabrics. Even interfaced, it still had issues. I went ahead with it, only because I know how much I suck at doing manual buttonholes, and the buttonhole on the finished jacket (where it’s going through two layers of corduroy, one of them interfaced, and the lining layer) actually turned out better than any of my samples. Which isn’t saying much, but it will hold, anyway, and is still probably better than I would’ve managed otherwise.

Also works open

The only other thing I’ll say about this pattern is it had notches out the wazoo. I think every single piece, every single seam had a notch, if not two. Some were helpful, but a lot just seem extraneous.

Gratuitous shot

On the subject of a frock-coat for my hubby, I’m happy to say I think this pattern will do the trick nicely. Just omit the patch pockets, add a welt pocket or two, change the side back vents to centre back, and lengthen to about knee length. The rest of the seaming is identical to his jacket. Although I’m not planning this for an immediate project, he may get excited about it and become a pestering pain, in which case it will probably get done sooner than otherwise. I hope not. I have lots of other stuff I should be doing.



Filed under Sewing

39 responses to “All I need now are the bellbottoms

  1. Beautiful job on the jacket, especially the seam binding! I think it fits you to a T.

  2. Your jacket turned out wonderfully! I really the color of that fabric. :]

  3. Gorgeous jacket….great outfit!!!

  4. It looks great! And great seams (seam porn!!!) I know that feeling half way through a project but this turned out fabulously!

  5. Great job on the jacket! The colour and fabric are wonderful, and I love how you styled it with the cream pants and the little blue cami!

  6. Fashionable Stitcher

    It’s totally darling! I love it, even though you had problems with it – it looks perfect! The inside is enough to make me faint, its so fabulously done! It’s so nice to see something on the inside look just as good as the outside. Beautiful job!


  7. That jacket is great! I love the color and the interior seam binding (and the caption with that photo = spot on!). And I think we know you can totally make the bell bottoms! 🙂

  8. Adorable! And I swooned at the inside seam binding. The colour is also amazing. Love love love it! I have to comment on your seemingly throwaway reference to being so skillful :”Just omit the patch pockets, add a welt pocket or two, change the side back vents to centre back, and lengthen to about knee length. ” Gasp! Oh clever use of the word “just”!

    • Well… “just” in the sense that none of those things will actually be tricky to do. Except sewing the welt pockets, but that’s a sewing issue, not a pattern issue. The pattern changes are negligible other than lengthening… 🙂

  9. Wow, you should be so proud of this! It looks great and is sewn so well. I love the whole style of it, 70s but modern as well. I am seeing it with skinny jeans and some tall boots for the days when you aren’t in the mood for those bell bottoms 🙂

  10. What a lovely jacket this became. You look absolutely lovely in it and I think it would look marvelous with some bell bottom trousers underneath.

    I really, really should get back to sewing more. I am missing it. I didn’t even realize it so much, but reading your post now it’s clear: I really am missing it!

  11. yeah, but who needs notches when you sew like you do?

    i LURVE that collar. and that cinched waist. and the guts! the guts are like an extra bonus prize.

  12. The inside is fabulous! I tried a hong kong seam finish around a zipper the other day and it turned out horribly. I’m not a very precise person– something I’m working on :). The blue color is beautiful and I love it with the lace-y cami underneath.

    • I think doing one along a zipper would be tricky (especially for your first try!). I am not great at the precision thing, either, though I seem to be improving incrementally. Having cotton fabrics, precisely-cut bias tape, and a heavier fashion fabric than the tape makes it a lot easier…

  13. That is a FAN.TAS.TIC. jacket. Fantastic. I love it.

    (My recollection of the few sewing patterns I owned in the 70’s-80’s were that they all had TONS of extraneous notches… it’s like the pattern people were all notch-happy. I have no idea what that was all about.)

  14. Absolutely fabulous! Love the shape and that collar really is amazing. Nice stitching!

  15. Yep, I was definitely right–this jacket is a winner! 🙂 Love that shade of blue, the fit, the style…perfect. 🙂

  16. Joy

    It is adorable. (That’s what you were going for, isn’t it?) And it definitely works in this decade.

    Now a pair of bellbottoms and you’re ready to go!

  17. Amazing jacket! Love the neckline, and the cuffs! I’m having mid-project crisis of my own at the moment, also with a jacket. If it turns out even half as pretty as yours, I’ll be happy 🙂

  18. The lines are perfect on you, and I’m a big fan of the blue. I’ve never seen you wear one — but how about with a brown pencil skirt?

  19. Ya make it look so easy! I love the innards of this very much. Did you attach the binding on the seam finishes before sewing the seams or after? I would imagine “finish” implies attached after, but sewing “techniques” all seem to elude me these days. Nice work.

    • I do mine after. You could do them before, but then you lose your notches and fitting changes can be awkward. Although the actual binding would probably be easier. 😉

      … You could totally do some awesome binding with all those cool Japanese fabrics…

  20. Wow it looks awesome! Love all the details!

  21. Marie-Christine

    It is adorable, and very springy, I’m sure all the faults you’re nitpicking about now will fade almost instantly as you wear it.
    Don’t mourn the lack of manual buttonhole ability, I only acquired mine in junior high with a dragon who almost stopped me sewing altogether..
    As to the cuffs, yes, it’d be helpful to learn the hang of turn-of-the-cloth. If you pinned the pieces roughly together, and tried it on, would it help you figure out the in/outside? Then all you need is to subtly trim the inside, no sweat. Usually subtly, not for winter coats in your neck of the woods, but you see what I mean.
    However I suspect you don’t have an old-fashioned but very handy tool: pinking shears. Very unfashionable at the moment, where everyone is supposed to hong-kong finish their underwear :-). But they’re the ideal instrument to trim tight curves like your cuffs, they both give a finish and do much closer notching than would be otherwise possible. Test them out..

    • I hadn’t heard of using pinking shears to trim curves, I will have to give that a try. I use mine in grading quite a bit, although they are a bit fussy about which fabrics they like to cut. Thanks for the tip.

      As for turn of cloth, I do understand the theory… It’s a matter of forcing myself to practice 😉

  22. It’s a wonderful jacket and I love the finish, which I might use. I dare anybody to tell you otherwise.

  23. Ok, now you are making me envious with your jackets. I need to get over my fear and just GO WITH IT ALREADY! Awesome, btw.

  24. Wow, it looks fab! Aren’t you glad you stuck with it?

    I second pinking shears for trimming curves — also, if they don’t like to cut certain fabrics, they probably need to be sharpened and/or have the middle screw loosened. I love my pinkers but they are high maintenance compared to my other cutting tools.

  25. great work! I adore the color on this one, I´ve been looking for a fabric like that for ages, prettyness….

  26. Your jacket is awesome. I hate sewing cordoroy, it frays like crazy for me, so your beautiful binding and seams impress me highly. Your whole outfit looks terrific.

  27. Beautiful jacket! I love the color (and the cami too!)

  28. Just. Simply. Perfect. Love the covered seams- its a great look.

  29. Pingback: Capri-cious Camo | Tanit-Isis Sews

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