THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

October 24, 2009

Vintage Menswear Pattern = Modern Knitted Jacket

Filed under: Designing,Fabric,Fashion,Mary Beth,Pattern Reviews — Mary Beth @ 2:24 pm

I had two pieces of fabric I wanted to use this Fall. One was 3 yards of 36″ wide cloque from the now closed Textile Studio and the other was 3 yards of rayon ribbing, both in a mauve-y pink.  These are difficult fabrics to work with and dictated the style, the sewing and each detail of what ever I would end up making.

The cloque would add width and visual weight to the silhouette so it couldn’t be a dress for me without making me shorter and wider than I already am.

Showing the Wrong Side of the Knitted Cloque

Showing the Wrong Side of the Knitted Cloque

It took me a long while to puzzle through how the fabric should be used, years really but I was determined this time because I craved working in this color.

But how should I use it????

It is a fairly formal fabric but my lifestyle does not call for formal anything.  I needed a pattern with simple lines and I needed a pattern that would put all that visual weight on my upper half.

I looked for a simple jacket

This vintage Le Cadran de la Mode pattern is on loan to me from Georgene’s extensive pattern collection:

Size 44 Mens Jacket American Style Blouson

Size 44 Men's Jacket "American Style" Blouson

Sheet Inserted into the Pattern Envelope

Sheet Inserted into the Pattern Envelope

The envelope contained all pieces except the collar.  It was drafted for a woven jacketing and had 2 piece sleeves.

Back of The Envelope

Back of The Envelope

The boxy shape seemed to be what I needed for this fabric and the pattern’s gathered and tabbed sides gave me the idea to use the ribbing for the lower edge and sleeves.  I had to test each design detail and machine stitch as I worked through the design of the jacket.

The  collar pattern piece (#6) is missing but is not a problem because fabrics I used for this jacket are nylon and rayon knits.  A knit ribbing collar can easily create it’s own stand and can fall nicely with little shaping from the cutting.  I measured the length of the neckline, folded the intended collar in two and cut the needed length with  a little wider flare for the collar tips.

In making up the collar from the rayon ribbing I found the tips needed to be rounded so I carefully created  the rounded ends.  Otherwise the ribbing creates an unattractive “stump” at the pointed ends.

Jacket on Form

Jacket on Form

As you can see I didn’t use all the cool pointed tabs and double welted pockets for my design.  My fabrics were the color I wanted to work with but they were not easy to sew.

The fabric choice governed the design right down to whether to use snaps or make buttonholes.  The snaps won out.

I did spend some time basting everything before using a narrow .5 zigzag stitch set at 3 mm in length to join everything together.  I also had to decrease the pressure of the presser foot by half to keep from dragging the bubbled surface of the outer fabric into lumps and bumps.

The inside is lined with pink powerdry from Malden Mills (now Polartek, LLC).  I used the silky side toward the body for easy on and off of the jacket.

Pink Power Dry Lining with Smooth Side Toward the Body

Pink Power Dry Lining with Smooth Side Toward the Body

I created a back facing to join to the front facing the pattern provided.  Both facings are interfaced with fusible Pro-Sheer from Fashion Sewing Supply and I found that pressing the fabric definitely changed it.

Fusible Interfacing Applied

Fusible Interfacing Applied

Not Interfaced nor Pressed

Not Interfaced nor Pressed

The pattern pieces had notches and circle and no seam allowances built in and interestingly enough I found that on the long, obviously meant to be straight edges the pattern pieces curved inward. I am speculating when I say that the curve may have been caused by the drag on the pattern paper when the long straight cuts were made. The straight front edges had them too, so I corrected in the layout as I worked.

The Back Has No Seam So It Was Meant to be Placed on a Fold

The Back Has No Seam So It Was Meant to be Placed on a Fold

The layout of the sleeves was done so that the straight of the grain ran parallel to the upper sleeve edges.  This is shown on the back of the envelope but the markings are not on the pattern pieces.

Layout of the Sleeves

Layout of the Sleeves

Even though I folded out 1.5″ I also cut off another 1.5″ for the cuffs.

Just Enough Drape to the Sleeves

Just Enough Drape to the Sleeves

The power dry is cut the exact same size as the knitted cloque but the weight of the cloque caused it to stretch more than the power dry, creating the blouson effect.

I did not alter the shoulders or armscye and used 1.25″ deep menswear shoulder pads to keep the “High School Sports Jacket” look to the piece

Back Showing Wide Shoulders

Back Showing Wide Shoulders

I also did not want the ribbing to ride up across the back so I did not stretch it across the bottom

I did pay homage to the original design by retaining the pointed tab at the front hem

Front Showing the Tab

Front Showing the Tab

The skirt shown here is black power dry with an elastic waist and the leggings are made using the method described here.  The leggings are made of  stretch Chantilly lace from turned inside out to tone down the silver threads in the fabric.


  1. Mary Beth, your jacket is just lovely and you look wonderful in pink.

    Comment by Theresa in Tucson — October 24, 2009 @ 2:35 pm

  2. Zow! Great rendition of that pattern. I admire your use of a potentially difficult fabric for some great results.
    PS love the color, and those leggings!

    Comment by georgene — October 24, 2009 @ 2:47 pm

  3. OMG if you get some shorty black suede ankle booties with a kicky heel that would be such a great look too! You look GREAT.

    Comment by Phyllis — October 24, 2009 @ 3:25 pm

  4. I can’t imagine working in this type of stretchy fabric – I could not do it to save my soul. Your result is amazing and this is your color – gorgeous! And very comfortable as well. The tights are so fun along with the skirt. Great result!

    Comment by Janie Dearborn Mason — October 24, 2009 @ 3:30 pm

  5. I absolutely love this outfit on you.
    You did an amazing job on the jacket. It looks
    awesome – and the leggings are perfect – this is such a beautiful outfit.

    Comment by Ann's Fashion Studio — October 24, 2009 @ 4:29 pm

  6. You make the kewlest things! I love this jacket and how you made the fabrics work for you!!!

    Comment by Carolyn — October 24, 2009 @ 4:35 pm

  7. I love what you did with this fabric. Such a pretty colour.

    Comment by Lorelle — October 24, 2009 @ 5:33 pm

  8. Wow, it turned out great! And I love the color on you.

    Comment by Gigi — October 24, 2009 @ 5:56 pm

  9. WOW ! What a beautiful jacket. I just love the fabrics you used, the construction is top-notch, and the color is SO perfect for you !

    Comment by Pam ~Off The Cuff ~ — October 24, 2009 @ 6:15 pm

  10. Really neat jacket!!!! Thanks for sharing. I am going to look up ‘cloque’ because I have never seen it used.

    Comment by Lisa — October 24, 2009 @ 7:17 pm

    • I offer one definition of the word in the second sentence of this article. Click on the word “cloque” to read it. This is a knit that results from the recent experiments in knitting two jerseys together so there may be an even more technical name for it!

      Comment by Mary Beth — October 24, 2009 @ 7:47 pm

      • Wowza, you are one foxy lady! Love the jacket and especially like the look of a dressy fabric in a casual garment. And lace tights too!!??….right on.

        Comment by joan — October 25, 2009 @ 12:53 am

  11. Very interesting interpretation! I think it you look fabulous in the whole outfit and the jacket is perfect for you in color and style.

    Comment by Summerset — October 25, 2009 @ 5:03 am

  12. Love love love LOVE it! The leggings turned out faboo. You look gorgeous!

    Comment by Gorgeous Things — October 25, 2009 @ 8:04 am

  13. I think this turned out beautiful! Kudos for attempting this! Lovely job!

    Barbara Travis
    Owner/Sr.Designer Travis Treasure Box

    Comment by Barbara Travis — October 25, 2009 @ 11:19 am

  14. Nice jacket! Wonderful color on you.

    Comment by Cindy — October 26, 2009 @ 1:11 pm

  15. Your cozy jacket turned out fantastic. Great way to handle the fabric using a fusible interfacing from Pam.

    You look smashing.

    Comment by Els — October 27, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

  16. This look is so cute. I LOVE those leggings.

    Comment by Regina — October 29, 2009 @ 5:29 am

  17. […] Reviews | I’m on a role sewing up knit dresses, loving something simple after conquering the difficult jacket fabric blogged at The Sewing Divas that took up much of my sewing time for the month of October. I haven’t sewn many knits for […]

    Pingback by Hot Patterns Annisette Dress – A Muslin « The Stitchery — November 2, 2009 @ 4:51 pm

  18. Your are an artist with a sewing machine. The jacket is lovely. I love the way you’ve styled it with the skirt and leggings.

    Comment by Sherril Miller — November 15, 2009 @ 1:47 am

  19. That is a darling jacket! And the leggings are hot!!! Is there a legging pattern????

    Comment by Angie — November 25, 2009 @ 8:10 am

    • Hi Angie: I showed how I modified a slim legged pants pattern to make one-seam leggings at The Stitchery. I thought I had put the link in the article but I do get forgetful! If I didn’t here it is

      Comment by Mary Beth — November 25, 2009 @ 3:25 pm

  20. That’s just wonderful! I love your blog!

    Comment by Kathleen — April 6, 2010 @ 3:16 pm

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