Iconic Tweed Jacket Lesson 7 – Construction


We begin this lesson with a quick overview of sewing the bodice of the jacket together. Pinning back the lining before sewing is key so as not to catch it in the stitching. Once the jacket pieces are together (minus the sleeves), it is time to start turning in the edges and closing up the lining.

Pressing and Trimming the Seams

I had an interesting situation when trimming my seams. Because I had fused interfacing to all of my pieces, I felt that the seam allowances inside my jacket were rather bulky. In order to lighten up the bulk, I unraveled some of the weave in the seam allowance. In reflection, I would have cut my interfacing so that I would not have had as much in the seam allowances to begin with. After it was fused, it was FUSED so it made the process of unraveling a little tedious.

Like the instructor, I cut my seam allowances down to approximately 1/2″.

I watched a blog post/video done by A Challenging Sew where she talks about trimming the seams. She had some interesting advice for those of you who have thicker fabrics. If you think you will have visible seam allowances showing if you cut them to 1/2″ (and can’t reduce the seam bulk), take a look at her videos. She cuts her seams down so that they just touch the quilting line. Her seams basically fill the entire channel between the seam and the quilting.

Catch-Stitching the Hem

Hopefully you are enjoying the hand stitching that is required for this jacket because at this point, you are going to need to do more.

The instructor tells us to do a catch-stitch for the hem. Now, when I first watched this video, I knew the instructor was not doing a catch-stitch (a catch-stitch as I know it anyway) but she was catching the hem with her thread and was therefore referring to the stitch as such. I have no issue with this whatsoever but I am always curious about things and wondered what kind of a stitch she was actually doing.

Anyway, someone must have said something about her stitch not being a catch-stitch but instead being a blanket-stitch because the video displays a pop-up caption saying the “catch-stitch is also known as the blanket stitch”.

Huh?  Is it?

Then, to add more confusion, a person in the comments sort of lambastes the captioning (“catch stitch” is also known as the “blanket stitch”) and informs Craftsy that “The blanket stitch is completely different”.

Well, to that I say yes, and no. It is different, but in a way, it is much closer to what the instructor is doing than is the catch-stitch.

Petty, yes – and I digress.  Just watch the video and do what she is doing and you’ll be happy.

If you are interested in learning more hand stitches that are used in couture sewing (and that are accurately named), I found a very nice video demonstration by Alison Smith (another Craftsy class instructor) out on YouTube.

In the video, Ms. Smith goes through the proper methods for creating a Herringbone Stitch, a Catch Stitch, a Blind Hem Stitch, a Flat-Fell Stitch, and a Buttonhole Stitch.

Pinning the Lining

Once all the jacket edges are turned under and pinned, and the hem is stitched, the next step is to pin the lining seams closed.

Before I go there though, I want to point out something that might happen to you with your seam allowances. Sometimes you can get a fabric that doesn’t really go fully flat when pressed. It may want to pop back up after you press it, if you know what I mean.

If this happens with your fabric and it is just not cooperating when you press your edges, then consider doing a catch-stitch (the real one) or a herringbone stitch to help the fabric stay flat.

On to the lining. As I said, we are now pinning the lining seams closed.

Lapped Lining Direction

When closing up your lining seams, you want to make sure that all of your seam folds are facing the back of the jacket.

Following our instructor’s lead, you start by flattening out the lining closest to the center back, pinning it in place to hold it. Then you take your second piece that is closer to the front of the jacket, fold the raw edge under and place it on top of the bottom piece. The fold you just made will then be facing the back.

The fold in the lining should be laying on top of the seam in the jacket so that both lining and jacket seams are matched.

Pin the top to the bottom and do a slip-stitch to sew it in place. When you are finished, it should look like all your other seams.

If you follow the front-to-back rule, you will see that when the jacket is held open and viewed from the outside in, having all the seam edges facing toward the back is a very professional finish.

At this point, and before you slip stitch your lining together, I want to discuss something that I learned a little while back that is not required but I believe to be an advanced technique that can give your garment a bit more polish.


Now that your seams are pinned down, pick up your jacket and hold it like it would be if it were on you or your dress form. Take a look inside and specifically look at the seams that you just pinned.

Are they laying flat or is there a bit of a puckering happening?

In the photo below of my jacket, first notice that I have sewn my side seam closed. The photo on the left is of the jacket lying open with everything smoothed out.

The photo on the right was taken with the jacket hanging in the same position as the jacket would be in if I were wearing it. Notice that there is a slight excess of fabric next to the hand sewn seam.

This is what is known as the “turn-of-cloth”. Ms. Knight does discuss this in the next lesson on sleeves as it becomes even more important when working with a tubular structure.

A very good description of what is happening can be found in Threads Magazine article entitled “Understand Turn-of-Cloth”by Judy Barlup from Threads #131 pp. 71-76.

The first paragraph of the article follows because I believe it describes this concept perfectly.

“Place two identically sized fabrics one on top of the other, then roll, bend, or fold them. The top layer appears shorter than the bottom layer and once identical edges no longer match. This is because of the turn-of-cloth- simply put, an outer curved layer is slightly longer than an inner curved layer. To compensate for the curve, you need to adjust the size of the fabric layers before you start sewing.”

Brilliantly said Ms. Barlup, thank you very much.

So, while I don’t believe a little bit of excess lining fabric on the inside of a jacket is a big deal, I’m betting no couture jacket would have this issue?

In  order to get rid of this excess in your lining, you need to do just a wee bit of re-pinning. The goal is to pin your lining closed with just a hair more tension than normal so as to take up that itty bitty bit of slack in the fabric.

I’m using the words “just a hair” and “itty bitty bit” because if you take up too much slack, you’ll have compensated too much on the inside which will result in your jacket fabric pinching inwards when the jacket is worn.

The turn-of-cloth will apply to your side seams and your sleeve seams.

After pinning, just pick up your jacket and take a look at both the inside and the outside to be sure they are both looking stellar.  Then, slip stitch away!

Next Up. . .

Lesson 8 – The Sleeves

Now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel – but don’t get too comfortable because there is more pattern matching for setting in the sleeves. Until then, good luck with your lining.

Thanks for reading, V

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