i first set my sights on the double-breasted jacket with capelet, designed by katie of papercut patterns and dubbed the ‘watson,’ over a year ago, and acquired the pattern even though i knew in my heart that it would be a while before i got to it. the reasons were myriad – or at least they seemed so at the time – but basically boiled down to two: i didn’t have the energy for a tailoring project, and the fabric in my stash most perfectly suited to the jacket project had already been hacked into for a failed attempt at a 1930s dress.
the fabric in question was a gorgeous lightweight coating in blue cashmere acquired a few years ago on what turned out to be my last trip to paris with my mother. during that trip, i dedicated an entire day to following the recommendations of susan khalje for shopping in paris and hit up several excellent fabric spots, including the small boutique shop in the 16th were i scored this amazing lightweight coating in blue cashmere, happily sitting right next to a remnant of louis vuitton floral print that i got for 25 euro a meter. (WHAT?!?!)
so, last winter i pulled out the remains of my cashmere as well as the discarded dress pieces to see if i actually had enough fabric to make my coveted watson.
i did…sort of. except i still wanted a sleeve. so the entire pile went back into the closet until about a month ago, when i set aside an entire day to do cutting and prep on the watson, come hell or high water (or, in my case, snow and a polar vortex). ultimately, i swapped the included one-piece sleeve for a 1930s-style two piece sleeve, which worked out amazingly because i could cut each sleeve part out of a discarded skirt panel in addition to getting the subtle shaping and better fit of my two-piece sleeve.
i still lacked facings and an undercollar, but i was in business at last and would not let that stop me. i pulled into service some of the cool dyed denim with character embroidery (also scored on my trip with my mom) for those pieces and got to work with an awesome and unexpected italian printed silk lining from mood fabrics. i say unexpected because it doesn’t match at all…except it really does and i love it.
because the coating was so lightweight i underlined it with some flannel. because i wanted the nicest texture possible, i eventually realized that what i needed to do was quilt the flannel to my lining pieces. i did this on the side panels and the lower back panel and, of course, on the entire capelet. on the back piece, where i needed to have a back stay as well as a pleat in the lining for wearing ease, i left the interlining hanging free.
i also drafted lining and interfacing pieces according to the methods outlined in kenneth king’s “the tailored jacket“, instead of using any of the pieces included by katie – although a quick check of my self-drafted undercollar and katie’s included undercollar show me that katie is quite familiar with turn-of-the-cloth and other necessary tailoring adjustments.
i machine padstitched the undercollar and did no tailoring on the front pieces, although leaving the top buttons open does create a sort of notched lapel with a roll line. my one gripe about katie’s patterns – really, about all indie pattern companies – is that they don’t include important landmark drafting notations like, for example, the intended waistline or the roll line. yes, i made a muslin of my undercollar to check the drape – but a suggested roll line would have made that easier. similarly, i made a lot of adjustments to the pattern to more readily accommodate my moulage – but an indication of where the drafter intended the waistline to fall would have made that easier.
i like to hate on the big 4 as much as anyone, but they include all of these markings and more.
that said, i found this pattern to be exceptionally well-drafted. even after all of the pattern adjustments i made to fit with my moulage, everything went together perfectly and without a fuss – all seams lined up and everything. it was a thing of beauty.
this was one of those sewing projects where i hit the zone and stayed there, completely confident with every stitch that i was making something well and easily. it was a great feeling!