February 07, 2023 1 Comment
by Esi Hutchinson
When I realized the #145 Chinese Pajamas would be the featured pattern for the month of February, I got inspired by the lines of the jacket to make a modern jacket for myself from the pattern. In this post, I am going to do a sew along, as well as show you the modifications I made for my jacket.
We also just made this pattern available as a PDF pattern you can get it here! The pattern is unisex and goes up to size 2XL, and includes the cuffed jacket and drawstring pants. The jacket is fully lined with four pockets and one inside pocket! The casual loose-fitting pants can be made with a drawstring or elastic if you prefer. To add decorative flair, the cuffs of the pants, pockets and collar of the Jacket can be made of contrasting fabric. The jacket is fully lined and if you make the full length sleeves, they are folded back to reveal the lining - so the lining can also be made of a contrasting fabric as a design feature.
While this pattern comes with the Jacket and Pants to be made into a pajama set, I'm always thinking of how to change up Folkwear patterns to fit my style, especially if it is a more westernized rendition. The true characteristics of this jacket that originated in Chinese culture is the mandarin collar and button-loop frogs front closures. The sleeves are constructed in a way that many older, traditional garments are made (compared to how most jackets and shirts are made nowadays). You will see when reading this blog post.
I'll be showing how I made this jacket using scraps from previous Folkwear projects. There are so many fabric scraps that we sewist accumulate, why not make some more garments from them?
Fabric and preparation
If you want something that is light and drape-y, use soft and flowy fabrics such as silk charmeuse, synthetics, cotton voile, linen or silk velvet (that would be fun). For a more structured look and feel, use lightweight wool, brochade, denim or corduroy, you can also use twill or other similar fabrics. Medium-weight silk and cotton would be great as well. For the Lining, use a fabric that is either similar to or lighter weight than the main fabric. Check out our fabric collection in case there is something that you might like for this pattern. Pre-wash your fabric before cutting. If you are going to use a thicker fabric, consider going up a size in the pattern for possibly a more comfortable fit, especially if you plan to wear it over other clothing.
Optional: You can buy contrasting fabrics for any of the pattern pieces. Make sure it's a similar weight and feel, as you want the structure of the jacket to remain the same. The sleeves, collar, and pockets can be made from different fabrics. For my jacket, I used denim for my pockets because I want them to be sturdy (since I often put my phone in the pocket). I also used denim for the outside of collar D (for the facing, I used my lining fabric).
I picked out some dark indigo shades of denim and green is my favorite color right now, so I was happy to see the big scrap of green twill we had left. I used a scrap of raw silk for my lining, which looks nice and also makes it warmer.
The jacket is quite long, and generally should hit the mid to upper thigh. I shortened it by about 6" (15cm).
To shorten, make a pleat along the marked adjustment line equal to one-half (for me it was 3" (7.6cm)) the amount you wish to shorten, pin or tape in place.
And if you wish to lengthen (you could definitely make a long coat from this pattern), slash along the marked adjustment line; place extra paper underneath and spread the split pattern pieces as necessary; pin or tape the added paper to the pattern pieces. Smooth the lines between the new lengths.
NOTE: If you shorten the front and back of the jacket, you will also need to shorten the front facings by the same amount (you can see the pieces I shortened above).
I also shorted the sleeves by 3" (7.6cm). The sleeves in this pattern are quite long because they are supposed to be turned up as a cuff, to show the inside lining fabric. I did not want a turned up cuff, so shortening by 3 inches made the sleeves the correct length for me. Make sure when shortening your sleeve you give enough room for the attachment to the lining. You are suppose to be able to fold ½” (13mm) to the inside and then another 1” (2.5cm) more, so be sure to keep 1½” (3.6cm) for this step. You can also see what I did to modify this when getting to the sleeves and lining below.
Cut out all your pieces. Be sure to cut out the pattern pieces from the correct fabric and lining that you choose. Follow the instructions for which pieces to cut (and how many!). For the facings, you can cut from your main fabric, or from the lining fabric to reduce bulk.
My main body pieces and facings.
My sleeves, pockets, collar, and linings.
NOTE: Pressing is as important as careful sewing. Construction goes more smoothly, and the finished garment looks better if you press as you sew. Be sure to press all seams flat to set the stitches; then press seams open or to one side, as instructed. Experiment with different heat settings and pressing cloths on scraps of the selected fabric before pressing actual garment pieces.
Lets get started! I am going to go through how I made this jacket. Similar to a sew along, but I have made a few changes to the pattern to suit my taste.
Staystitch neckline edges of front and back outer and lining pieces.
With right sides together, sew Top Pocket to Top Pocket Lining pieces along straight edge. Press seams open. Repeat with Bottom Pocket and Bottom Pocket Lining pieces.
With right sides together, sew Pockets to Pocket Linings along outer curved edges, matching notches and leaving open between dots. Trim seam allowances, turn right side out, and press. Slipstitch openings closed. I pressed under to topstitch for the next step.
Pin Pockets to Fronts where marked on pattern pieces, and topstitch in place. Backstitch at top corners or pull thread tails to wrong side and tie off. My fabric is so dark I didn't feel the need to do that, however it does make a nicer, more professional finish in my opinion. And if you feel the pockets will get a lot of wear, you can put a bar tack at the top of the corners of the pockets.
With right sides together, sew Fronts to Back at shoulders. Press seams open.
Staystitch neckline edge of Collar pieces.
If you want to use interfacing do so now. Fuse or baste interfacing to wrong side of one Collar piece. I did not use interfacing since my main fabric was fairly heavy and stiff.
With right sides together, sew Collar pieces together along outer edge. Trim seam allowances, turn to right side, and press. Remember, I cut my second collar piece (collar facing) out of the lining fabric.
With right sides together, sew neckline edge outer Collar to Jacket neckline between squares at center front, matching notches at center back. Clip neckline edge as necessary to fit.
Clip neckline seam allowance to squares. Press seam toward Collar.
Turn under remaining Collar neckline edge by ½” (13mm) and slipstitch it to neckline seam, covering the stitching.
SLEEVES AND SIDE SEAMS
This sleeve design is a little different than typical modern sleeves (but it is more similar to traditional/folk sleeves). With right sides together, sew SLEEVE C pieces to Jacket at armholes, matching notches. Press seams open.
With right sides together, sew underarm/side seams from Sleeve hem to star below the square, matching notches and backstitching at star. Press seam open, clipping underarm curve as needed.
Clip to star.
Fold inside Pocket right sides together and stitch around outer edge, matching notches and leaving open between dots. Trim seam allowance, turn right side out, and press. Slipstitch opening closed.
Pin inside Pocket to Lining where marked on pattern piece and topstitch in place. I am right-handed so I placed the pocket on the left front lining.
FRONT AND HEM FACINGS
With right sides together, sew Right Front Facing to Front Hem Facing, matching notches and ending stitching at dots. Sew Left Front Facing to remaining Front Hem Facing, matching notches, and ending stitching at dots. Press seam open.
With right sides together, sew two Side Slit Facing pieces to each Front Facing assembly, matching double notches, and ending stitching at dots. Press seams open.
With right sides together, sew remaining Side Slit Facing pieces to Back Hem Facing, matching double notches, and ending stitching at dots. Press seams open.
Press under ½” (13mm) along inner edges of each Hem Facing assembly.
Clip side seam allowances of Front and Back lining to star. If you didn't clip to the star on the outer fabric above do it now.
With wrong side of Right Front Facing to right side of Right Front Lining, edgestitch along inner pressed edges. I suggest Basting outer raw edges together.
Repeat with Left Front Facing and Left Front Lining.
NOTE: Front edge of Facing G piece will extend beyond Lining Front edge.
Repeat with Back Hem Facing and Back Lining.
Here I am undoing what I did to edgestitch along the inner pressed edges of facings to Lining.
With right sides together, sew Front Lining pieces to Back Lining at shoulders, matching notches, as you did with fabric pieces. Press seams open.
With right sides together, sew Sleeve Lining pieces to Jacket Lining at armhole, matching notches, as you did with fabric pieces. Press seams open.
With right sides together, sew underarm/side seams from Sleeve Lining hem to star, matching notches and backstitching at star, as you did with fabric pieces. Press seams open, clipping underarm curves as needed.
With right sides together, slip Sleeve Lining over Jacket Sleeves and sew Lining to Jacket along left Front Facing edge, from square at top to bottom edge. Press seam toward Facing.
Starting at right front neckline, pin Lining to Jacket body, aligning hem edges, matching stars at Side Slit.
Fold Left Front Facing along foldline. Baste, then stitch, pivoting at tops of Side Slits. Trim seam allowances.
Fold top of Left Front Facing at foldline, matching square, and sew across top from square to outer edge. Trim seam allowance, turn Jacket right side out through neckline, and press.
Turn under ½” (13mm) along Lining neckline edge, clipping curves as needed, and slipstitch to Collar seam. Sew a few extra stitches at shoulder seams to reinforce.
Pull Sleeves to inside of Jacket (wrong side out). Matching raw hem edges. If you baste the raw edges together it is helpful.
I changed up this next step a bit to work for the jacket I made (which does not have the "turned up" sleeve cuffs). I turned the outer sleeve hem under by 1/4" (6mm) (instead of 1/2") and then under again by 1/2" (13mm) (instead of 1") and pressed. Then I stitched the folded pressed edge to secure the outer jacket to the lining. You could also slipstitch the hem, catching only the folded edge and lining so the stitches won't show on the right side.
Instead of adding in the button-loop frogs front closures as the pattern calls for, I made buttonholes on the right side of the jacket front about 3/8" (1cm) away from the right front seam. I also re-spaced the buttons since I shortened the jacket so much.
To place the buttons I laid the Right front over the Left front extended facing, making sure not to overlap the collar. The end of the buttonhole is where I placed the farthest hole in the button on the left font facing. This keeps the facing from being seen when the jacket is buttoned.
Here is the finished Jacket!!! I really like the combination of colors I used. I love Jackets, and I volunteered quickly to make this one for myself, as well as to create this Sew Along. This jacket is now part of my big Jacket collection! I hope you enjoyed this sew along and please show us what you make from 145 Chinese Pajamas.
February 15, 2023
I love the changes you made to modernize the pattern – I wouldn’t have thought this had a place in my wardrobe, and now you’ve changed my mind!