A jacket for my gentleman

While I was sewing my sister’s wedding dress, my husband was keeping us alive by handling all of the cooking and household matters. I was enormously grateful. So grateful was I that I promised him that the first post-wedding project I would sew would be a jacket for him.

Here’s what happened:

  • Eager to demonstrate my commitment to the project, I ordered the fabric immediately, in April.
  • A wedding dress, a Gabriola, a dance costume and two shift dresses later, I ordered the pattern in mid-August.
  • A Watson binge, two tops, and a skirt sloper even later, I started the muslin process in September and got thoroughly tied up in a sleeve fitting fit.
  • After our trip to Japan in October, I told myself I couldn’t touch any of my newly acquired fabrics until I finished the jacket. And I desperately wanted to dig into that fabric, so it was done within a few weeks, with a sleeve fit that was good enough.

crabandbee.com | men's jacket using Vogue 8842

This was the first major project I’d felt up to since the wedding dress. No hand-stitching, of course, nor did it take nearly as many hours, but I did have a laundry list of design and fit changes to make the pattern, Vogue 8842, work for what I had in mind. The pattern looked more like a ski jacket, and I wanted something with a sporty fit in non-sporty materials -organic cotton twill for the shell, with a scrap of cotton-hemp for the hood lining, and rayon for the jacket lining.

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The design changes I made form the alarmingly long list below:

  • Changing from a drop shoulder to a regular shoulder
  • Merging the 3-piece sleeve back into 1 piece
  • Moving the yokes lower
  • Removing the bottom hem band and adding a bit of length
  • Adding a hood facing
  • Adding front facings to the lining
  • Adding a zipper guard
  • Making a hybrid welted patch pocket
  • Changing the top zipper extension into two pieces instead of one folded piece for durability
  • Forgoing elastic cuffs
  • Adding a snap tap to the cuffs

(The hood and front facings should have been included in the pattern, in my opinion; I was studying a lot of RTW jackets, and even the cheapest ones had these features.)

Fit-wise, everything I did involved making more chest room and less back room. I also encountered an odd fit issue – Nathan couldn’t zip the front of the jacket over his chin! I ended up scooping the neck by 1″ at center front and widening the collar/hood area by 1.5″ total as the neck circumference had increased as well.

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This was my first experience with parka snaps. They weren’t too bad to apply; trying to figure out all the sizes and tools was much worse!

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If I make this pattern again (and I might as well – I put a ton of work into altering it!) I would raise the arm scyes. This photo is a little too dark to see, but there are some draglines across the back even though there’s ample room. I think it’s the low arm scye restricting arm motion.

Then there’s this:

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Ultimately, I feel like this project was a pattern-making triumph for me – making so many design and fit changes all at once and having all my seams line up in the end was a big, fluffy feather in my cap – but not as much a stitching triumph. I hadn’t done a project requiring precision top-stitching in awhile, and the extensions, hood, and pockets show it.

That said, when I pounded in the last snap, Nathan put on his jacket and looked at himself multiple times in every mirror on the house. He’s stubbornly worn it in unsuitably cold conditions this fall and winter, and it’s now being referred to as his favorite jacket ever. So I think the subpar stitching and the ever-so-slightly late arrival are being overlooked.

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83 thoughts on “A jacket for my gentleman

  1. Have just sat here and stared at your top stitching for ages. When I grow up I will get it as straight as you…. This jacket is awesome – no wonder he is happy! I think Dan is waiting for me to make him something ‘proper’ like this as well. On my list 🙂

    1. Ah, should have posted a picture of the top-stitching on the pockets! That’s where it gets weird; the flap and yoke topstitching looks totally fine. Sorry for sending you on a wild goose chase, and thanks for your nice comments!

  2. Well you are putting me to shame. This is brilliant and almost exactly what my husband would like. I have the colette Albion coat to modify to his exacting requirements, but after a dodgy half finished wax canvas version I think I’m ready to start over with some regular fabric. Definitely love those pockets and may have to steal that idea. My husband may get his dream jacket yet! Well done you!

    1. Ah, interesting… I’ve wondered about waxed canvas! I thought about waxing this one, actually, but wasn’t sure if it would add weight or reduce breathability. Looking forward to seeing what you end up making!

  3. Wow … you made this!? Amazing! from the pictures looks waaaaay better than RTW … it might be difficult finding in common RTW fabric that nice unless you are willing to pay for it … and of course the fit … you managed to get perfect fit in my opinion.

  4. This looks fabuloso! Of course he doesn’t want to take it off! Don’t worry, it’s taken me 2 1/2 years to make my beau a little hat that he has been nagging me for since our honeymoon in 2013… I was deep in jacket research last night as I’m planning a Minoru for myself this year in oilskin (a type of waxed cotton – used a lot in Australian country outdoor wear) and I made the mistake of showing him my plans AND a men’s RTW blazer jacket in a black waxed cotton that is super cool and now you know what I’ll be nagged for for the next 2 1/2 years…..

    1. Thanks, Sarah! I remember lamenting the mismatch between my very plain tastes and whatever ridiculousness was being sold in stores before I sewed. If I’d seen my parter making amazing custom clothing, I’m sure I would have wanted to insert a couple of projects in the sewing queue. 😉

      Based on a quick internet search, I’m wondering if oilskin is similar to what I’ve seen in a couple of local fabric stores? Your Minoru sounds killer! I have a very athletic-looking shorter rain jacket, and I’d love to make something more parka-like one of these days.

  5. Gorgeous! The hardware and topstitching totally bring it together. It’s awesome that he’s taken to it so well.

    I’d love to see a picture of it with the hood up to better visualize the changes you made there. It’s really weird that the pattern would be too small in that area!

    1. Buying hardware was frustrating and exciting all at once! I really wanted a dull nickel look, and had to spend a lot of time looking for matching metals.

      Re: hood, lemme see what I can do! I think I kept a sketch of the flat pattern adjustments. Basically, the neck was too small and high, and the collar of the hood created a too-small column around the neck and chin. Imagine a jewel neck line and trying to fit a tall round collar the circumference of your neck around your chin.

  6. Morgan, I love the way you tell your making stories I always read every word and get sucked into all the little twists and turns! This jacket is so well made, be proud, be very proud.

  7. That looks fantastic! It also reminds me that I should probably make more stuff for Bryan … I made him learn to use the sewing machine after his project requests were getting a little crazy, and since then we’ve settled into a routine where he’ll do some things himself, but he’s really grateful when I hem his jeans and fix his knitwear. Still, it would be nice to make him a gift every now and then …
    Anyway, you should totally make another version after all those alterations, what about one in light wool coating or something for the colder weather?

    1. Ha! I want to hear what some of the crazy requests are!

      I actually was thinking of working this into a winter coat for next year; it’s a similar design to the RTW winter coat he has now.

  8. Oh this is so great! I can see why it is his favorite, the color and fit are perfect.
    I promised a jacket to my husband but every time I went into the sewing room, I emerged with a new bra instead….

  9. D;awww, he loves you AND his jacket!!!! You did a beautiful job on it – I love the fabric choice!

  10. Wow that jacket looks awesome so trendy and it fits so well, I can why why hubby thinks its his fave jacket ever, it suits him perfectly. Well done 🙂

    1. Aw, thanks, Kristin! I have enjoyed drafting some basics for myself (and maybe I should extend that to my husband, based on how many fit changes I had to make!) but what I really love is tweaking patterns to suit my wants/needs! I have a lot of respect for designers who are constantly coming up with new ideas… that would be the toughest part!

  11. Awesome jacket! It looks so professional. No wonder he has been wearing it all the time. I would never have looked at this and thought “Vogue pattern”! Your changes worked out great.

    1. Thanks, Katherine! The Big 4 men’s patterns sure are scanty and you have to do a bit of imagination work; this one was the closest pattern I saw to a basic zip-front hooded jacket, and it was already out of print.

  12. Great looking jacket! I love details like snaps since they really make it look professional (now if only I could get up the courage to try them myself)l. I can understand why it’s become a favorite. With all the changes you made and details you added, you really personalized this jacket.

    1. The snaps weren’t that bad! I got a couple of extra and practiced on scraps similar to the jacket. And I agree, they really make a jacket look official. The grommets, on the other hand, were a nightmare; I couldn’t find the right grommet tool size and grommet color, and I ended up skipping them as my husband didn’t end up needing a hood drawstring.

  13. This is an excellent looking jacket & I love to hear how chuffed he is with it! One of the reasons I’m hesitant to sew for others is because I’m nervous about things not being perfect and what the recipient might think… Nathan’s response is very encouraging! And also a lesson on choosing who you sew for!

    1. I really will only sew for Nathan and my sister, because I have a handle on what they like and because they are appropriately willing to drop everything while I fit them, pin pockets to them, and force them to make decisions on details. And I’m not shy about it – my sister was over almost every day for wedding dress micro-fittings! Writing this all out makes me question my sanity, but that’s what it seems to take!

  14. Morgan, this is so awesome! It’s great to see it finished, and even better that Nathan likes the finished product. This must have been a ton of work with all the fitting issues, but it seems to have been worth it. The jacket looks totally legit. This is making me want a handmade jacket for myself! Great work as usual. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Carolyn! It was a total relief to begin sewing it after futzing with the muslin and pattern so long. Not surprisingly, I too was coveting the jacket as I was sewing it…

  15. This jacket is nothing short of fantastic! You were so right to make all the changes you did. I am in awe—that is some major pattern work! Lucky guy, even if he had to wait for it!

  16. I’m impressed by all the pattern changes! Thus, plus the other fitting projects you’ve taken on lately means you have some advanced skills! Precision topstitching is hard but I can’t tell from these photos that it was anything less than perfect.

    1. Aw, thank you Grace! What a nice compliment. It’s been exciting to dig into more complicated projects and enjoy them after feeling so braindead after the wedding dress. I should have taken a picture of the pocket top-stitching – that’s what’s wonky!

  17. This is fantastic!! You are brilliant Morgan! All those changes and they seemed to work out perfectly. I think this would definitely be my favourite jacket too. If I was your husband I would wear it constantly too, so it doesn’t somehow go missing. 😉

    1. I’ll admit I was really crossing my fingers everything would come together after all the pattern changes. I did check the pattern before cutting, thankfully.

      If he starts wearing it to bed, I’ll know he’s living in fear!

  18. Wow Morgan this looks amazing! All those alterations were totally worth it. You better be careful though or your husband will be asking you to make all his clothes. I love your timeline of the make but hey, you got it done! my poor husband is still waiting for any makes to come his way!

  19. This is amazing! I now feel bad I’ve never made anything for my boyfriend! And it’s great you made all those changes to make it just right – and he loves it as a result. That’s why sewing is awesome!

  20. It looks fantastic! I give you so many props for sticking to your word, even if it was a little delayed. My man is still waiting for his sweater – it’s been 10 years.

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