Keystone Jacket In Yellow Wool – Part 1 – The Back

I really wanted a short, smart spring jacket. One that I could put on over a nice dress if the weather got chilly. I was thinking cotton moleskin or velvet in light blue or grey. But while sorting through my stash of fabric I found 1.5 metres of mustard yellow wool. Which is the complete opposite of that I had envisioned. But when you have a top quality fabric to hand and is the right length and weight for what your making, you taketh what the Sewing Gods giveth.

I bought this fabric 13 years ago. Yikes! I only really remember it because I had just finished my first week of bar work paid in cash and walked home past a fabric market stall. After spending most of my wages on a variety of wool fabrics, I went home very happy. I had not realised that I had this piece still tucked away.

Firstly copied over the pattern onto fresh paper with a tracing tool and a sharpie. I had drafted the jacket with a length of 32 inches which was too long for this project so I chopped it off at the hip line. I did take pictures of this process but my trusty phone died and I lost a lot of the most recent photos.

I laid out the pattern pieces on the fabric and pinned it down. Then I roughly cut out the parts with a generous seam allowance so I had space to make adjustments. For each individual piece I drew the outline in tailors chalk, then thread marked these lines in black thread. These will be taken out later.

Chalked and thread marked pattern pieces

I then realised I didn’t have the right colour thread for this project. This is what happens when you make random last minute fabric changes… When the thread arrived I could start hand-sewing the back pieces, starting at the centre back. I was careful to sew my seam just next to the black thread marking. That way it would not catch the black threads and I could just smoothly pull them out afterwards.

Hand sewing the thread marked pieces

I continued sewing on each section until the back was complete and ironed each seam open.

Back pieces together.

Next I had to do some fitting adjustments. These mostly consisted of taking some fabric out of the seams where wrinkles were forming. Also as a stylistic choice I decided that the lower back flared out far too much so I took out some of the fullness. It’s actually going to be about three inches shorter in length when I get to hemming it.

Back pieces on a dress form

I took the black thread marking out after that and ironed it all thoroughly. While I was doing this I realised there were some supplies I still needed and ordered some contrasting lining fabric and some horse hair tailors canvas interfacing. The canvas smells really strongly of horse which I am not a fan of.

Contrasting navy lining fabric

Next I will start making adjustments to the front pieces and start pad-stitching the collar and lapels. However I need to do some more research and I’m currently waiting for a book to arrive on Victorian tailoring techniques. So I will end part 1 here and hopefully have more updates and pictures next week.

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