Fall always puts me in the mood to sew jackets, sweaters and lots of other cozy layers. Maybe because I am always cold or maybe because layering is totally my style— whatever the reason I always have lofty goals to sew up a whole bunch of jackets and coats so that I have the perfect one to go with any outfit. Outerwear is also one of the hardest things for me to shop for, so making my own seems like a win-win situation.
I know for a lot of people coats and jackets are the last thing on their sewing list. They really want to make them but might be too scared to tackle the project. I was one of those people! Am I skilled enough to take this on? Won’t it take forever? What if it doesn’t turn out? Time to stop asking all the “What ifs” and just do!
Earlier this year I took a big leap and sewed up my own Clare Coat from Closet Case Patterns. Definitely the most intense project I have ever sewn but the results were so worth it! Between online tutorials and the very thorough instructions I think I hit this one out of the park and conquered my fear of coat making.
Now that the cooler weather is back, the urge to make a new jacket is too! I decided to get my feet wet this season with a pattern that is a bit more approachable for any level of seamstress, Grainline’s Tamarack Jacket. Simple and straight forward, this quilted jacket has limited pieces, is unlined and looks so warm and cozy!
Now to pick the fabrics… This is a great pattern to have some fun with fabric choices. Since I knew I wanted a more staple piece that would go with anything, I selected a solid black brushed fine nylon twill. To pair with it I wanted something warm and cozy and decided on a black and red check plaid flannel. A few people said I should do the flannel for the outside but the twill will wick away the rain better and fit better into my wardrobe. Sometimes it is okay to be a little more safe, besides that is what fun lining fabric is for! Rather than create my own binding I decided to add a leather accent to my jacket with some faux leather bias trim. Great look and it saves me all that time and probably some aggravation too!
In putting together my Tamarack Jacket I pulled out a few skills from my quilter’s tool box. To start, rather than cut out each piece and quilt them together, I cut out larger rectangles for each piece and quilted those instead. Once all the pieces were quilted then I cut out the pieces. As a quilter I know how much pieces move around, shift, shrink, etc and thought this would be a better approach. I quilted each piece in a diamond pattern that I created by using the plaid pattern of the lining as a guide. This saved me so much time from having to mark everything and gave me a crisp clean look. I did admit to myself early on that I would NOT worry about matching the plaid in the lining but that I WOULD take time and match the diamond quilting on the right side of the two fronts. This is probably the only place it really mattered and the only place it would be noticed.
A Couple Tips for Quilting:
- Work from the center out and try to only stitch in one direction.
- When stitching lines that cross over a previous set of lines, make sure everything is nice and flat and maybe even create a bit of tension so that you don’t get puckers at the cross- quilting gloves help a lot!
- If using dark colored fabrics, use a dark colored batting. This will prevent any batting fuzz from showing up too much in the seams.
The quilting honestly took the most time. Once all five rectangles were quilted and my pieces cut out (my fronts included the extra inch for the button placket) it was time to sew them together. The only change I made to the pattern pieces was to lengthen the sleeves 2-1/2″ based on the finished garment measurements given in the pattern. Construction started with the welt pockets, something I still am working on perfecting. The pattern instructions were a bit confusing but as you worked through them one step at a time it all made sense and they came together beautifully. My second one even better than the first so there is hope with more practice… The rest of the jacket went together really quickly. I finished all my raw edges with the serger and on the bulkier seams (shoulders, underarm and side) I finished each side and pressed them open.
Now to finish off all the edges. The binding gets added to the front and the back separately before you sew up the side seams. I thought this was a bit weird but everything turned out just fine. I attached my faux leather bias binding just like I would on a quilt. They give great instruction in the pattern and I made one slight addition. Rather than just stopping 1/2″ from a corner, I turn and stitch at a 45″ angle TO the corner, then fold my binding and continue stitching down the other side. This gives me perfect corners every time! A side tip from a quilter! I also hand stitched the other side of my binding down— I personally like how this method looks the best, clean and neat with no extra stitching lines. Totally worth the hand sewing time!
My last change came on the sleeves. Rather than bind the hem on each sleeve with the bias I finished the edge on the serger and hand stitched a 1″ hem. This decreased some of the bulk and gave me a nice soft finish. Last but not least I added 5 snaps up the front of my jacket for an east closure. Now for the results!
I’m loving the fit! Roomy enough to wear other thick layers underneath but not too over-sized. The quilting also is perfect on this black twill, it stands out beautifully and will be a great pair to any outfit. The pockets are also very handy, the welts turned out great and they are large enough for both my hands and my phone! A plus for sure on those cold days running errands.
Finished inside, pockets are all serged and tacked in place. Isn’t the red plaid fun! A secret pop of color!
I love the length of this jacket! Just enough to keep me nice and warm with out being too big and bulky. And the high-low baseball hemline adds just a bit of interest and style.
The Tamarack Jacket pattern is a great one for any seamstress to try. Maybe you haven’t ventured into coat making yet? This is a great confidence booster and let’s you learn a few new things along the way. Huge plus if you have quilting experience, but if not, it is just straight lines or you could even skip this step with pre-quilted fabric! I also love how you can make this jacket totally your own with different fabric choices for both the experior and the lining. Try some new quilting techniques or go wild with your bias binding- so many places for your style and personality to shine!
Now time to go sew!