Hello Sewists,

I really wanted to make this jacket, but I had questions that needed answering first. I scoured the internet and couldn’t find a single person who’d made this view. Really…no one…?! So I finally had to take it into my own hands. These were my main questions…

The Questions…

  1. What is the right fabric?
  2. How on earth am I going to finish the seams?
  3. Do those pocket bags really just flap around inside the jacket for the world to see?!
  4. Is the edge of the collar really left unfinished… is that safe?!

The Answers…

Well, my answers at least! I hope it helps any of you who might want to try this jacket view, or something in similar fabric. I’ve made the long coat version before, so I knew I had the right size (it’s a loose fitting design so I went down one size from my measurements).

Q1: What is the right fabric…?

This is easy, faux shearling is what you’re looking for. I suppose if you’re feeling really hardcore you could make it from real shearling, but that sounds kind of grizzly to me… unless you live on a sheep farm and then I suppose… well, I dunno. But I got faux shearling, it has a dried up crinkly leather looking side and the other side is fluffy like a teddy bear. I can’t remember how much I paid, but I got the end of roll (frighteningly just under two meters!) from one of the shops along Goldhawk Rd, and hoped it would be enough.

It turned out that it wasn’t going to be enough… with the fabric folded in half, there was just no way I could get all the pieces to fit in. Undeterred, I opened the fabric up to a single sheet and traced each piece out individually. This still meant that the under collar would need to be seamed at the centre back, but all the other pieces fit by a hairs breadth…

The keen eyed among you may notice my school-boy-error… Annoyingly, I’d forgotten to flip the back piece and cut out two left-backs instead of a left and a right. This was a major screw up considering I was working with so little fabric to start. Thankfully, I noticed before I finished cutting out and after a little more mental-tetris I managed to get all the pieces out of the remaining fabric with one small comprimise… I had to have a seam at the top of my back-left-sleeve piece. It was that, or give up… I can live with it!

Which brings me neatly on to question two…

Q2: How on earth am I going to finish the seams…?

So, I didn’t have many off cuts to experiment with, but thought I’d better try out a few options… I was definitely using the walking foot, that was a given. First, I tried sewing them wrong sides together, with the fluffy bit showing on the outside. This turned out to not be the look I was going for and I didn’t even photograph it! What I did do was to trim back the underneath seam allowance and stitch the other side down over it, it left a nice line of fluff showing but I thought it would be better suited to a denim jacket style, something with more interesting design lines,

Next I sewed with the right sides together. It was a pretty hefty sandwich to wrestle through the machine with all the fluff on the outside, but no major hitches. I trimmed one side of the seam allowance back, then – before sewing the other side down – I thought I’d better shave back some of that fur to stop the seams being too bulky.

Being a hairdresser, I thought it would be a marvellous idea to use a set of hair trimmers for the job. This was a marvellous idea until the blades blunted (really quickly!) and I did all the rest of the trimming with my big shears! But not before I managed to get this video…!

Watching Bake Off, Shaving Faux Fur!

Once the excess fur was trimmed off and the seams stitched down It looked like this…

With the seam finish decided, I sewed up the centre back seam, then the back sleeves onto the back. I trimmed the seams of the sleeve pieces, shaved/trimmed the fur from both sides and top stitched the seams down from the right side.

I stitched the main seams with a 2.6mm length and topstitched at 3mm. I used a #70 universal needle and sew-all polyester thread

Q3: Do those pocket bags really just flap around inside the jacket for the world to see?!

A: Yes, according to the pattern they do… well, not on my watch! I ran a few different ideas through my head and settled for this in the end…

I trimmed all the fur away from around the pocket openings, cut them open and sewed the zips in place. Then I positioned the pocket linings on the inside and stitched them down from the front.

It was pretty hairy sewing the linings down, what with the stitching being so visible, so I took a triple approach… I chalked a nice sharp line with my chalk marker, trimmed the fur away from the sewing line and glued the linings in place with wash-away-glue-pen

Q4: Is the edge of the collar really left unfinished… is that safe?!

According to the pattern, yes, the edge of the collar is left unfinished. Is it safe…? Well, I took the edge of one of my last scraps and pulled away at the fluffy edge until no more fluff would come away… and yes, that moment did come, the fluff stopped eventually and the edge didn’t look totally ravaged. It looked a bit thin, but it would have done. I wasn’t thrilled with it though, so instead of trimming off the seam allowance, I trimmed the fur back and stitched the seams down to the outside… and I’m pretty happy with the results!

Waistband & Cuffs – The final step…?

This gorgeous chunky cotton ribbing came from Misan West on my shopping spree with Sue Stoney… I spent more on it than the rest of the jacket put together! But it was totally worth it – without some good chunky ribbing (and a nice chunky zip!) this jacket would be nothing! The pattern is cut with nice deep cuffs and hem but after checking the length, I cut them a little deeper.

Fitting the zip