It has been quite a while since my last Britex Fabrics guest post so obviously jumped at this opportunity. Generally my sewing is quite safe and I stick to things I know and feel confident about: indeed, this make (mens jacket/blazer) is quite a safe bet for me, as it is something I make regularly. However, the choice of fabric is a bit of a departure from what I might normally pick and it would also prove to be a challenge!
The medium weight cotton is barn red in colour, with a hidden secret--it is water resistant!
Yes a water resistant jacket/blazer certainly sounds like a good idea, especially for here in the UK. One side of the fabric has a soft hand with very subtle pale silver sparkle. The other side is more ‘waterproof’ looking, with a shinier appearance.
I wanted a very simple silhouette for the jacket so drafted a basic jacket to fit. I incorporated a single back vent, two-piece sleeve, cinched waistline and notch lapel. I was uncertain if the fabric would actually work at all for the garment in mind as it does not really press and creases somewhat like linen, but it gave me an idea.
I would make the majority of the seams very visible. So having sewn the darts I then proceeded to top stitch over (on the right side) in a navy blue thread, using a zigzag stitch. I then cut curved patch pockets and attached them using the same zigzag stitch: I guess they are applique pockets?
This was exactly the look I wanted, without actually realizing it. The rest of the jacket went together and again seams top stitched. I also used this technique to attach the collar and to finish the edge of the collar.
I omitted buttons on the sleeves and instead hemmed them with (you guessed it) the zigzag stitch. Now the tricky part: Setting in the sleeves would prove to be trickier than I thought, as the fabric does not ease well at all. I certainly didn’t want any puckering around the sleeve head but because I was attempting a soft shoulder look (no shoulder pads) it was relatively simple to re-shape the sleeve head with almost no ease. This allowed the sleeves to be set into the jacket with only a small amount of adjustment needed.
Because of the finish on the wrong side of the fabric I decided that lining the jacket was not needed as the fabric slips on easily. It did mean I had to consider how best to finish the seams inside. There are various methods but I opted for a Hong Kong finish. Similar to a bias bound seam but the application is a little different.
With simple bias bound seams the stitching is visible but a Hong Kong finish leaves no visible stitching; a more couture method in my opinion. Also the underside of the bias tape is left unturned therefore creating less bulk.
To complete a Hong Kong seam you will need bias cut fabric (1-1 ½ inch wide). Unlike bias binding the Hong Kong bias tape is left unfolded so you don’t have to mess around with bias tape making equipment.
I will use a contrasting thread and binding in the next steps for clarity.
Sew your seams as normal and press open.
Fold the main fabric under out of the way so you can work on the raw seam edge only.
Place the bias tape (right sides together) along the raw seam edge and pin in place.
Now sew at ¼ to ½ inch from the edge depending on how wide you want the finished binding (and how wide you cut the bias originally).
Press the bias up and over itself along the stitching line.
Now press over the seam edge to the back of the seam.
Complete the seam by stitching ‘in the ditch’. Sew carefully and exactly along the previous stitching line, therefore hiding the stitches. Be careful not to catch the other side of the seam as you sew.
There will be no stitching visible on the right side but will be visible on the underside.
Repeat for the other side of the seam to complete.
A Hong Kong seam does take more time than a simple bias bound edge but gives a much cleaner and less bulky finish.
So having completed the jacket I added two faux leather shank buttons, in navy blue ready for wearing.
Overall I am really happy with this make and I actually like the ‘un-pressed’, slightly rough look of the jacket. It will certainly be something people will talk about, I am sure. So next time you are unsure how to finish a raw seam give the Hong Kong method a go.
Until next time… Happy Sewing from maledevonsewing.co.uk!