Reversible Jacket

Rev Jacket DualAbout 25 years ago I found a vintage Forstmann 100% wool bouclé jacket that was my husband’s grandmother’s.  It was about to be thrown away and I saved it.  I had it cleaned and I wore it a couple times, and it inspired me to want to make a more modern version of the jacket.  It took 25 years but I finally made one. Forstmann jacket

Forstmann labelI am not a “wool” person so I knew I didn’t want to make the new jacket out of wool.

One day while fabric shopping for another project, this beautiful synthetic faux Persian lamb jumped out at me. It came in three colors, and I fell in love with two of them.  I couldn’t make my mind up which was the prettiest, so I thought, why not make a reversible jacket, then I can have them both.  Here is the process in making this extremely soft and comfortable jacket.

Butterick 6825I searched through all my patterns using the Sewing Kit HD app on my iPhone and iPad.  Once I narrowed down the jacket patterns I looked at the actual patterns and chose Butterick 6825.  I chose it because it would easily adapt to making the jacket reversible. It also didn’t overlap a lot in the front which would lend to the original jacket design that didn’t have any buttons or any type of closure.  In another article I will show some of the steps I took to alter the pattern for a custom fit.

I wanted the jacket to be washable, so I could wear the jacket anywhere and not have to worry about getting it dirty.  I wanted the jacket to stay flexible and soft, that was tricky when I was shopping for an underlining.  I love to use silk organza as an underlining but combined with this faux lamb it didn’t give that comfy bathrobe feeling I was trying to achieve.  At the store I scrunched up several different thin fabrics in my hand before deciding on a home dec polyester sheer fabric to use for the underlining.

Prewash sampleBefore pre washing the fabric, I cut a 3″ x 3″ square of the faux lamb so that I could see if it would shrink.  I washed the fabric sample in warm water and dried the fabric in the drier.  After it was dry I measured it again to see if it had shrunk and it hadn’t, so I knew I had a winner.

When I wash the actual jacket I will use cold water and only partially dry it on low heat in the dryer so I don’t take the chance of the faux lamb melting and hardening up like some stuff animals and faux fur throws I have washed in the past.

Before cutting out the underlining I needed to pull threads so that I could find the true grain of the fabric.  This fabric grain was WAY off.Pulled ThreadsAfter pulling the threads I folded the fabric in half, selvage to selvage and aligned the thread pull line.  This is how much it was off – UP to 14″!!!

Straight grainTo help me with the grain aligning process my Fabric Weight assistant got into position.  LOLFabric WeightPainter's Tape LabelsI use painter’s tape a lot when I cut fabric out, it especially comes in handy when you have a fabric that is difficult to tell which side of the fabric is the correct side. I also use it to show which way is up, I put an arrow on it, to show the nap, or which way is up in the pattern of the fabric.  You really have to watch out with some silks because the sheen changes depending on which way you look at it. In this case I used the tape as labels to remind me what each piece was.

Fabric FlawWhen I purchased the faux lamb fabric it was pointed out to me that there was a flaw on the backside of the pink fabric.  I knew I could work around it so I was okay with it.  If you don’t shop at a reputable store that has a conscientious fabric store assistant that will point out flaws, or you purchase fabric on line, always make sure you look at both sides of your fabric before cutting anything out.  It can’t hurt to  always get in the habit of looking at both sides of the fabrics before purchasing and cutting.  It may save you from a big mess later on.  Especially if the fabric is going into your stash and you won’t be able to purchase any more of it, ten years down the road when you finally want to use it.

Shake Excess FibersThe synthetic faux lamb was extremely messy to cut out.  It sheds!! It gets in your eyes, on your glasses, on your cats, table, scissors, everywhere.  To help keep it contained, I would cut out one piece, shake it in a large clean trash bag Vacuum fuzziesand then vacuum the table. If you are extremely careful you can vacuum the edges of the cut out pieces themselves, but I don’t recommend it because the suction of the vacuum can distort the edge of the fabric.

UnderliningI cut four layers of fabric, one in the pink faux lamb, one in the charcoal, and two of the sheer fabric that I used for the underlining.  I underlined both colors of the faux lamb.

BastingIn couture sewing when you hand baste the underlining to the fashion fabric, you baste it together on the sewing line.  Then the basting becomes your sewing line guide.  I had cut the pattern out with a 1/2″ seam allowance so I didn’t use the sewing line as my guide, therefore, I hand basted both layers together about 1/4″ from the edge.BastedI used gray thread on the gray faux lamb and pink thread on the pink faux lamb.  Really and truly no one would see it so you could use any color thread you want.  I always use my old thread, that I have had for years, for basting.Basting 1I did use the sewing line on the darts when basting the two layers together.  This makes it easier to sew the dart in because it keeps both layers smooth and even, and you can see where you should sew.  Sometimes, on larger darts, I will even baste down the center of the dart to keep the underlining in place.  After sewing in the dart, I take the basting thread out.

Walking FootBecause of the thickness and unevenness of the faux lamb fabric I used a walking foot to sew the jacket together.

Finger PressI am a firm believer in pressing my seams open, but with this fabric I didn’t want to flatten the texture with the heat and weight of the iron, so I used my fingers to do a “finger press”.

Running stitchAfter “finger pressing” the seams open I used a hand sewn running stitch to hold the seams in place.  When you do this make sure you don’t go through all four layers (the fashion fabric, underlining pressed back onto the underlining, and fashion fabric) only go through three layers, stopping at the underlining that is against the outer fashion fabric.  You don’t want stitches to show on the outside of the fashion fabric.

Don't use Catch StitchNormally I would use a catch stitch to hold seams down, but the faux lamb sheds so bad that the stitches would come loose.

Sewing LayersI sewed the pink and charcoal jacket together separately.  I didn’t use any interfacing or facings because I wanted to keep that soft, pliable, cuddly, bathrobe feeling.  I pinned both jackets together matching at each seam.  Then carefully sewed the whole jacket together around the outer edge, again using the walking foot.

Attaching Inside SeamsI left a pretty big opening along the hem line so that I could turn the jacket right side out and it would still give me enough room to hand tack the two jacket layers together from the inside at some of the major seams. One example was tacking the inside center seam allowance of the charcoal “jacket” to the inside center seam of the pink “jacket”. The reason I tacked it at some of the major seams was to make the jacket layers stay as one and so it would not be able to be pulled apart when taking the jacket off.

Waxing ThreadFor the next step of hand sewing, I waxed some thread with bees wax, pressed it and hand wound it onto a bobbin.  I put it on a bobbin because I knew I would need a lot of thread and I didn’t want to keep going back to the iron.  The bees wax gives the thread more strength and it also keeps it from tangling up so bad.  I needed the strength because I would be going through all four layers.

Hand sew at seamsNot all seams could be tacked together from the inside, so I had to tack some of them from the outside.  I had to put the needle in on the outside of the pink and push it through to the charcoal side and back down again.  With the faux lamb being so thick and having so much texture I could hand tack using a pink thread and it wouldn’t show on the pink side of the jacket or the charcoal side.  Of course I wasn’t taking big stitches, just little bites. I did this along the collar seams, shoulder seams and the armholes.  I wanted the sleeves to stay sewn together so they wouldn’t pull apart when I took the jacket off, or when I wanted to switch the jacket to the other color.

Understitch Pick StitchOnce the sleeves and the bottom of the jacket were hemmed by hand, I did a prick stitch all the way around the whole outer edge of the jacket. This stitch goes through all layers and about every 1/4″, hiding the connecting thread in between the jacket layers.

Invisibile Prick StitchThere again, with the texture of the fabric you cannot see any of the stitches.

Prick Stitch FinishThe reason you want to do this prick stitch all the way around the jacket is to hold all the layers together. This picture shows the left side of the jacket finished with the prick stitch and the right side is not.

Here are some pictures of me in the finished jacket, showing both the charcoal side and the pink side.

Pink JacketGray JacketPink showing liningGray shows Pink LiningPink BackGray BackI love wearing this jacket, it is soooooo comfortable. It feels like a great big fluffy hug!

I hope this jacket will inspire you to make one too.

Don’t be shy, if you have a question feel free to comment and I will answer to the best of my knowledge.

Have Fun with your next creation!!


18 thoughts on “Reversible Jacket

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  2. Love your post. I’m making a reversible jacket out of silk/rayon velvet and a mid weight crepe de chine. Do you think I need to underline the jackets/each side? If so, why? I never thought of interlining and want to know why you chose that technique. Thanks, Linda

    • Thank you so much. Your jacket sounds beautiful. I love the feel of the jacket with the double underlining. The best way for you to make that decision is to take your velvet and crepe wrong side together and feel it, bend it, fold it and scrunch it to see how it feels. Now take a different fabric that could be the underlining and sandwich it in between and do the same process. Repeat with a second layer of underlining. See how it feels to you. Try a silk organza, it will firm it up a little, try a cotton lawn, try another layer of crepe. Take it the fabric store if you don’t have these in your stash and just try all types of fabric. See how the different combinations feel. If it was just a regular jacket i would use one underlining, but with it being reversible I probably would use two, so both sides would lay the same and the collar and lapel would shape the same. My jacket was the same fabric on both sides, yours is not, so you might even use two different underlinings, one for the velvet and one for the crepe. Let me know what you decide. I don’t know if the comments will let you send a picture, if so i would love to see the finished jacket. Thank you for asking.

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    • Thank you so much. I have tried all types of irons including gravity feed, but my favorite is the Reliable i300. It is quite pricey but it has so much steam. I love it. I have been told that it is not easy to press with if you are left handed because of where the cord is located. So left handers need to press using their right hand. I personally am right hand so I have no issues at all with the iron. You can leave the water in, you don’t have to empty it out each day like some other steam stations. I have had it a couple years, with no issues.

      • I really am most impressed by your fabric weight. 🙂 I had to look up the hand stitches you mentioned, but this is the first time I understood the purpose of each one. The more I understand, the easier it is to feel creatively free. Thanks for your clear tutorial!

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