Hello Sewists,

I hope you’re all well? As you could probably tell from my last post, the weather is turning cooler here in the UK and it’s time to start thinking about warmer clothes – In all honesty, I should have been thinking about this a few months ago… now, if we really wanted to be diligent, we should be halfway through our Christmas sewing! … isn’t that a terrifying thought!

The Challenge.

So a good while ago, a friend of mine asked if I could make a new lining for her leather jacket. I’ve never done anything like this before and although I was a bit daunted, I leapt at the challenge… Then, the jacket sat in a bag, in a suitcase, under my bed, for quite some time! I don’t know what it was, but I just couldn’t get moving on it.

In fact, I do know what it was that held me back… the fear of screwing it up! Well, I’m not one to let fear hold me back (… for long…) so one day, I got up early and went straight to it.

Tracing the pattern.

Also known as ‘rubbing-off’ a pattern: I’ve read a bit about this technique and always assumed it would be difficult to achieve an accurate ‘rub’. The technique that intrigues me the most is when you stab pins through key areas of the garment onto a board, then join the dots. I think I’ll try that on something lighter than a leather jacket – for this one, I folded the jacket in half and traced around the pieces as accurately as I could.

Front of jacket – laid out flat for tracing.

I used a pencil and marked directly onto spidersweb-florist paper. Once I’d traced the front, back and sleeve, I straightened out some of the lines and checked the corners all met up. Next I added a seam allowance, quite a big one, 3cm or so, and cut the pattern out.

The practise round.

So, before I cut into my proper lining fabric I thought I’d better have a tryout first. I had some gingham knocking around in my stash and decided to use that.

Off-setting the centre back seam to create a pleat in the lining.

The gingham proved particularly useful – I could eyeball the pattern pieces against the check and mark in a grain line for the lining pieces. Once I’d cut the pieces out, I marked the ‘sewing line’ onto the fabric in case I got lost later on.

Marking seam lines onto the fabric.

After sewing the trial lining together, I pinned it into the jacket to check it fit. This all looked very encouraging and I continued to turn the seam allowances and pin them too. It was a bit fiddly trying to keep everything lined up, but the gingham helped on more than one occasion.

Trial lining, pinned into place.

I had some work to do around the front facing – I marked the shape onto the gingham so it could be transferred back to the pattern pieces – then I just needed it to be tried on. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait too long before I saw my friend again and I carefully helped her into a jacket full of pins.

To my surprise and delight, it fit: no pulling or pooling reported, phase one was a success! I couldn’t believe my luck and now there was nothing stopping me from getting it done.

Pause for thought…

Before charging in (still high on the success of the trial run!) I took a bit of time to cool down and think about how the finished lining would come together.

  • I knew that the final stretch would entail a whole lot of hand sewing – the previous lining had been (mostly) ripped out, not leaving me much to sew onto.
  • The lining fabric is quite slippery and prone to fraying.
  • The zips at the cuffs would take some special treatment…

For the hand sewing I knew I’d need patience, a sharp needle & a strong thimble. Here’s how I dealt with the rest…

Now for the real thing…

To reduce the chance of fraying, I decided to cut out the new lining in sections. I cut out the sleeves first, applied light fusible interfacing to the cuff-hems (and where the zippers would end up) then I sewed two sleeve pieces together (#60 needle, 2mm stitch length) and overlocked the raw edges.

Next up I cut out the back piece, interfaced the neck and hem then stitched the back pleat at the top and bottom of the centre back fold.

Then the fronts got cut out and interfaced at the hem and along the front edge.

The next bit was the easy bit. I just had to sew the lining together. My drafting obviously wasn’t quite as accurate as I’d hoped and there was a good bit of easing needed to get the sleeve heads into the shoulder seam. Thankfully I have my trusted ‘Easestitch-Plus’ technique to rely on and it wasn’t a problem at all.

If you haven’t seen it, the Easestitch-Plus technique is used to take up extra fabric on sleeveheads to help ease them into the shoulder without the need to baste and gather… check out this post (& scroll down to the video) for how to do it!

Just look at those sleeve heads curling back on themselves! They’re practically gathered… Micro-Gathered! … And not a pucker in sight!

Sleeve heads easestitch plus-sed!
Jacket lining constructed.

In case you were wondering, this is what I was presented to start with…!

Original lining!

Once it was all pinned into place I cut slits in the cuffs (where I had previously interfaced) cut a triangle at the top and turned the seams in to the edge of the zips.

New lining pinned and ready to sew.

At this stage I knew the project was going to have to be portable, so I replaced the pins with a basting stitch. (This also gave me a heads up on how the actual sewing was likely to go… i.e: tough!).

I’ll be honest, I imagined myself dragging this jacket around everywhere with me while I stitched in the lining. In reality, it didn’t take that long at all, just a couple of sessions.

Handstitching in a quiet moment

The Conclusion

As I said, it didn’t actually take too long. I’m sure it also would not take kindly to close scrutiny… less haute couture, more Frankenstein I’m afraid, but it’s done, and looks amazing, so I’m thrilled.

Lining detail

I finished it just in time for my friend to take it on a trip (for a month!) ‘back home’ in Australia…

I’m pleased to report that she’s as happy with it as I am, and as soon as I have a photo of her in it I’ll update this post. For the meantime, here it is in all it’s inner glory!

Finished lining stitched into place
Ready for another decade of abuse!!!

So that’s that…!

As for myself, I’m finding it difficult to locate and motivate sewing time. I know I need a couple of new shirts… and alternatives to jeans are always on the to do list. I have a few summer fabrics that might see me through to autumn, but if I’m honest, in a couple of weeks I’ll be Halloween-shirts… then it’s Christmas-shirts all the way to January…. so maybe I should start some Christmas sewing…?

And in other news, if anyone’s interested, I’m on my last few weeks of Invisalign treatments and the snaggle tooth (that no one apparently noticed anyway) will now be totally unnoticeable – whether you’re looking for it or not! I literally could not be happier. Officially!

On that note, I’ll bid my adieu’s and wish you…

Happy sewing!

Notes to self:

  • I suppose it would be kinder to baste for fittings when you’re making for someone else – rather than stick them with pins.
  • Don’t be daunted by a project – it is only the sum of its parts.
  • Make a bit more time for sewing, you’ll be glad you did.
  • Do I have to say Christmas, again…?